Rand study reveals US faces gap between objectives and reality in Syria and Iraq

27 September 2015 (Last Updated September 27th, 2015 18:30)

A study undertaken by Rand has indicated that a substantial gap exists between the US national objectives and a realistic appreciation of the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq.

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A study undertaken by Rand has indicated that a substantial gap exists between the US national objectives and a realistic appreciation of the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq.

Entitled 'How the Current Conflicts are Shaping the Future of Syria and Iraq',the report notes that the conflicts in the two countries appear to be at a pause after diminishing strength of Syria's secular rebels and leading to the ascent of its most-extreme jihadist group, called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

According to the report, the insurgents in Syria and Iraq will not be able overthrow neither the two governments, while the governments also will fail to restore their authority across the national territories.

"The fighting is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The contest has become less political and more existential for its participants."

Analysis author and Rand president senior adviser Brian Michael Jenkins said: "The fighting is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The contest has become less political and more existential for its participants.

"There are no easy choices for US policy, no right or wrong answers. Each potential course of action carries with it a unique set of costs and risks.

"Nonetheless, national objectives must be based upon realistic assessments of the situation. Here the distance between aspiration and reality seems great."

While the US leaders are hopeful that the sectarian and ethnic divisions can be bridged and peace and national unity can be restored, enabling the refugees to return, the report alleges that de facto partition appears likely for the foreseeable future.

The conflict allegedly produced millions of refugees on a scale approaching that of Europe during World War II, who will not be able to return home so long as the fighting continues.

The report also claims that the influx of foreign fighters in Syria to join jihadist fronts, mainly ISIL, along with the group's continued exhortations to its supporters abroad to carry out terrorist attacks has increased pressure on the US to deploy ground combat forces.

The US currently leads a coalition of Western and Middle Eastern nations that is undertaking a broader bombing campaign against ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq.


Image: A US-led coalition airstrike on ISIL position in Kobane, Syria. Photo: courtesy of Voice of America News: Scott Bobb reports from the Suruç, Turkey/Kobane, Syrian border; 'Turkish Border Towns Hosting Thousands of Kobani Refugees'.