Intel Dem: Airstrikes in Syria won’t work

A senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says airstrikes in Syria would do more harm than good.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the president was right to “hit the brakes” on speculation on imminent airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

{mosads}”The most significant threat we face from ISIS will be the return of foreign fighters to our shores, something an aerial campaign over Syria will do little to address,” he wrote in a recent op-ed in The Daily Beast.

“And in the absence of an immediate threat to our homeland from ISIS planners in Syria — something Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged does not yet exist — the most profound consequence of U.S. airstrikes may be to give us greater ownership of Syria’s brutal civil war,” he said.

Schiff argued that airstrikes were appropriate in Iraq but not Syria because it led to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s stepping down and because the Iraq government is a partner, and the U.S. has partner forces on the ground to make sure airstrikes are effective.

There are no similar partnerships in Syria, Schiff said.

“Bashar al-Assad has gassed and dropped barrel bombs on his own people and teaming up with him would only further drive Sunnis into the arms of ISIS,” he said.

“In Syria, we also lack a reliable and effective fighting force that is capable of holding ground we seize from ISIS. The so-called moderate opposition — made up of hundreds of disparate groups — is often immoderate and rarely cohesive,” he said.

Any U.S. military support should lead to an end to the regime, Schiff argued.

“The time may be right to try to peel away the Assad regime’s core supporters, maintaining the cohesion of the military behind a national unity government representing all Syrians,” he said.

“But airstrikes now would only serve to harass, not defeat, ISIS,” he said. 

Tags Adam Schiff ISIS Syria
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