French President Hollande earlier this week signaled a shift in his long-standing position that Assad should go before any solution could be found to the Syrian crisis. In recent days, Paris and Moscow appeared to move closer diplomatically after ISIL claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian plane over Egypt’s Sinai desert and the attacks in Paris.
The ISIS attack on Paris and Mali and the threat of more attacks means effective action against ISIS is urgently needed.
The French seem to be groping for a course that would increase pressure on Islamic State, while stopping short of the major military escalation that Obama has firmly ruled out.
A U.S.-led coalition has launched more than 8,000 airstrikes on Islamic State targets since mid-2014. But three out of four pilots now return without dropping any bombs because they can’t find appropriate targets, or fear hitting civilians, according to the Pentagon.
French officials are clear they want to pick up the pace of attacks to break the stalemate and push the militants out of their strongholds. At a minimum, analysts say, they want to broaden the list of targets coalition aircraft can attack.
The forces that would be effective in Syria are clearly Assads forces, Iran, Hezbolla and Russia.
In Iraq, the Kurds and the Iraqi government are the main forces against ISIL.
SOURCES – Politico EU, LA Times, Wikipedia
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