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Can Syria help defeat ISIS?

The Syrian government, which has recently engaged the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in battle, might share an interest with the United States in defeating the terror organization.
Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad wave the national flags and chant slogans in front of General Federation of Trade Unions building, during presidential election in Damascus June 3, 2014. Syrians began voting on Tuesday in an election expected to deliver an overwhelming victory to President Bashar al-Assad in the midst of a civil war that has fractured the country and killed more than 160,000 people. REUTERS/ Omar Sanadiki  (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR3RXFT
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The military advances by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and its coalition of Sunni allies in Iraq and Syria threaten to establish the pre-eminence of ISIS in the heart of the Mashreq and in the process divide Iraq. The Barack Obama administration now faces the cost of its failure to realize that the real prize in the battle for Syria, especially for the Syrian revolt’s paymasters in the Gulf, was Baghdad.

With the Iraqi capital now in the sights of a nascent Sunni army drawing its own map of the contested region reaching from Damascus to Baghdad, the most bitter fruits of supporting the revolt against Damascus cannot be avoided. Today, Washington simply cannot lend its hand to a campaign against ISIS in Iraq, which poses an existential threat to a key US ally, while tolerating if not encouraging policies and alliances in Syria that (whether it likes it or not) are meant to have exactly the opposite effect.

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