The deadly symbiosis between ISIS and Assad

This was first published on Medium in the wake of the attack on Paris.

The bomb attacks in Paris were sickening, outrageous, and horrifying. And one of the most sickening moments came when Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, decided to blame the deaths on French foreign policy. What Parisians were confronting, he said, was exactly what Syrians had faced the past five years. If only France had only helped him against the Islamists, rather than keeping its distance!

Obviously, the bulk of the blame for this week’s tragedy lies squarely on ISIS, and its doctrine of terror and atrocity. But the single individual most directly responsible for its rise, and its enduring strength, is Bashar al-Assad.

Not just because, by plunging Syria into civil war, he created the preconditions for it to flourish. But because he has done everything in his power to strengthen its hand. The truth is that Assad and ISIS are not enemies: they are allies.

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