There are times when Donald Trump is wrong. The case of Syrian’s government and the Islamic State’s perspective on things are a very clear case of Trump being right and most others being wrong.
For the last six months, I’ve written several articles about why Donald Trump cannot be President. These were a mixture of facts and opinions, but they were all written to the best of my knowledge with accuracy at their heart. Now, a new attack on Trump is being waged by some in the media and it’s simply not correct. I might not be voting for the guy, but I would never latch onto an idea that wasn’t true even if it represented another reason for people not to vote for him.
In this case, it’s the assertion from some candidates and most of the media that Trump’s desire to keep Bashar al-Assad in power for now is the right thing to do in regards to the Middle East. His contention is that our focus should be on the Islamic State, first. Once they’re out of the way, we can turn our attentions to the Syrian government in general and Assad in particular.
His detractors are saying that the Islamic State benefits from Assad being in power. They say that their destinies are tied together and the only way for the Islamic State to be defeated is by taking out Assad first or at the same time. This is false. It’s false to the very core of their argument and unfortunately they’re taking advantage of the general lack of knowledge of the electorate to understand the nuances of the Middle East and Islam.
Assad hates and fears the Islamic State. The Islamic State hates Assad. This isn’t just a political hatred, either. Assad represents an enemy to the Islamic State that is at least the equal of Jews and Americans. Assad is Shiite. The Islamic State is Sunni. They are mortal enemies and there is no level of diplomacy that sees the Islamic State teaming up with Assad and Iran to meet a mutual goal. They want to annihilate each other.
From a purely political perspective, the Islamic State would like to be in Damascus. They probably wouldn’t make it their capital based upon the tenets of prophecy within their beliefs, but they view it as a western regional capital and a place that can influence other Muslims to join their caliphate. If they’re allowed to acquire enough power to march on Damascus, they would head there before Baghdad even though they control lands closer to Baghdad.
Some are tying in his lack of knowledge about the nuclear triad with a misunderstanding of how Syria and the Islamic State work. While he definitely should know about our nuclear arsenal, he seems to know better than most about the dynamic in Syria today.
— David L B (@dlb703) December 16, 2015
Trump isn’t alone. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul share his sentiment about Assad. All three have seen the disasters of regime change in the Middle East and realize that a bad secular leader like Assad is better than a radicalized Islamic leadership that would certainly replace him even if it’s not the Islamic State.