October 16th, 2014
07:20 PM ET

Obama needs to dial back his Syria strategy

By Fareed Zakaria

A U.S. strategy of escalating airstrikes in Syria — even if coupled with ground forces — would wish that the weakest and most disorganized forces in the country somehow become the strongest, first defeating the Islamic State, then the Assad regime, all while fighting off Jabhat al-Nusra and Khorasan. The chance that all this will happen is remote. Far more likely, heavy bombings in Syria will produce chaos and instability on the ground, further destroying Syria and promoting the free-for-all in which jihadi groups thrive.

Critics are sure this policy would have been easy three years ago, when the opposition to Assad was more secular and democratic. This is a fantasy. It’s true that the demonstrations against the Assad regime in the initial months seemed to be carried out by more secular and liberal people. This was also true in Libya and Egypt. But over time, more organized, passionate and religious forces triumphed. This is a familiar pattern in revolutions — including the French, Russian and Iranian. They are begun by liberals and taken over by radicals.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Kenny Rogers

    I suggest that you get back to work.

    October 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      I suggest you stop embarrassing C&W legend Kenny Rogers.

      October 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Reply
      • Lester

        His botched plastic surgery did that for him.

        October 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  2. Philip

    But, yeah. Syrian citizens doing battle with foreign Muslim Brotherhood aka "ISIS" did flee Israeli rocket fire beginning in March 2013. This according to eyewitness fmr. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her entourage on the ground in Syria.

    October 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • Lester

      Did former Representative McKinney deny there was war there too?

      October 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  3. Kenny Rogers

    Philip nobody likes you here so stay away.

    October 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  4. Morgenthau

    The time has come to face reality. The time has come to accept facts. Most importantly, the time has come to make changes. India, for generations, has been dragging the region down. The culture is medieval, the values are barbaric and the economy is in shambles. An implosion is necessary and the need is immediate.

    October 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  5. Blue Saffron

    President Obama is the best.

    October 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  6. chri§§y

    Lol @ Blue Saffrons 1:56 post...good one! 😉 and @ Philip...ok nothing is your fault ever huh? WHOs fault is it that your miserable dupa is STILL in the USA, the country that you detest so much? Or is it you wanta make everyone else miserable too, cuz youre DAMN good at that!

    October 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      @chrissy. You're talking to my troll.
      Let's not feed the trolls please.
      New diet!
      Old people food and fruit punch, here I come!

      October 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  7. Blue Saffron

    The doctor patched up the hole in my stomach. Or is that patched up MY hole in my stomach?
    But a hole is actually invisible.
    Anyway. I am in ICU. Special diet for me. No beef or beer. And less work outs at the gym. At least until my tummy heals.
    Please ignore my trolls. Bye guys and gals.
    Have a wonderful Friday.

    October 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  8. Blue Saffron

    Oh. How I miss my homeland India. I crave Tandoori Chicken from Natraj, India. Mild of couse.
    Mmm and to drink, a tall glass of Rabri Faluda. I shall go back to India one day as I miss it so.
    The nurse wants me to rest.
    Good bye all. For now anyway.

    October 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  9. Maula Jatt

    Modi Ji jaag binaa dudh nai jamda
    paave laal hove karh karh ke
    Teri bundh vich lund suwar da
    Teray munh vich lulla pundit da

    October 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Sri Balam Thackeray

      Gud one Maula Ji. Modi Ji walks as if he has got seekh kebab in his gaand. Maybe it is ISIS lulla from Syria. LOL.

      October 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      @Maula Jatt: Pls translate. Thanks.

      October 17, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  10. Sri Balam Thackeray

    Fareed Sir Ji, ISIS tells they will put a long lund up hindoo a zz. Could you go to Syria and measure the length of lulla that will go into Modi's a zz (gand). Dhanevad. Jai Hind Ki Maata ki Chute.

    October 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  11. Blue Saffron

    ISIS are like Peace Corps compared to hindoos.

    Bangalore, India is among places in hindooland which have a culture of stripping women naked, forcing her to march naked on village streets while she's being beaten, assaulted, kicked and sometimes burnt to death.

    ISIS are like Peace Corps compared to hindoos.

    October 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  12. Blue Saffron

    Throwing acid, poisoning children, raiping five month old girls and handicapped women, massacring minorities maybe the norm in India but not for me.... Never will be. Fork the terrorist pig called India. Rope the hindus.

    October 17, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Yes, this is the typical action of Taliban terrorists who do not want their women educated. Throwing acid is a common Muslim tactic. Death to Islam, the death religion.

      October 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  13. Blue Saffron

    Now look here troll, I didn't author that. You need to admit that.

    October 17, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Can CNN so something about this joker above? We're trying to be serious here.

      October 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What Obama sorely needs to do is to drop his idiotic opposition to the Assad regime in Syria and reconcile with it in order to make common cause against the ISIS but I guess he doesn't have enough sense to do do!

    October 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Can CNN do something about this joker above? We're trying to be serious here.

      October 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Reply
      • Buck Ofama

        Evidently not, Blue Saffron.

        October 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  15. Blue Saffron

    Terrorism, IEDs, self immolation and suicide belt technology was invented by Indian hinddoous in Sri Lanka. They trained Tamils as suicide bombers and terrorists. They were marketed as Tamil Tigers. The terrorism lasted 35 years. Hundreds of thousands were killed as a result. The hate towards India was so much in Sri Lanka that Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was slapped by a Sri Lankan soldier during an official visit. He was later blown up to smithereens by a hindoo suicide bomber in India.

    October 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  16. Blue Saffron

    AHHHHH.... Syria ... The other India.!!

    October 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  17. chri§§y

    Lol troll or not, i LOVED his post! And @ Joey dear, that is your perogative. Just dont get upset when most of us dont agree!

    October 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  18. Blue Saffron

    We believe that India poses a clear and present danger to the regional security of the world. Hindu cult extremism is on the rise and fanning all terrorism worldwide. Indians are the bankers to and financing terrorism and supporting Talibans and Al Qaeda and harboring them in India. Shame on these Indians. Like the NAZI's they need to be stopped forcefully and immediately without further ado.

    October 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      You believe as you will. Islamic extremists always do when forcing conversion at the sword's tip before beheadings. Like the Hitler they want to become, killing Israel. Killing innocents.

      October 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Taliban and Al Quaida are MUSLIM, sworn enemies of Hindu, idiot American. They belong to YOU, and your culture of death that is the Muslim religion.

      October 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  19. chri§§y

    Who is this "we" you are speaking of @ Blue Saffron? Because WE believe this thread is about Syria NOT India!

    October 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • Charlie

      I believe "We" means civilized people of this world. This thread is about american foreign policy. About terrorism. INDIA is the center of terrorism. Kapiche?

      October 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Reply
      • Blue Saffron

        Charlie ignores the Pakistani terrorist breeding ground that harbors terrorist fugitives and the Taliban shootings of their own women who want an education. Charlie is a Taliban apologist who pulled the trigger by proxy in Malala's vicious shooting.

        October 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
  20. Charlie

    India must cease financing the terrorists and address the Kashmir genocide issue (among others such as Tamils, Maoists etc.) in order for peace to prevail.

    October 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Charlie completely ignores the Muslim genocides in Africa and the ME. The curse of Islam will doom us all.

      October 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  21. chri§§y

    THIS THREAD: Obama needs to dial back his SYRIA strategy.....KAPICHE yourself! And not once was India mentioned in this story!

    October 17, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  22. chri§§y

    Oh and FYI its capiche. Just for future reference because im not a grammer/spelling cop. And in fact i had to look it up myself because it just didnt look right.

    October 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  23. Charlie

    NEW DELHI: You are more likely to die in a bomb blast in India than in Afghanistan. Strange as it may sound, government data show that India is among the most dangerous places in the world as far as bomb blasts per year are concerned – next only to Iraq and Somalia, with even war-torn Afghanistan and Syria doing better.

    October 17, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Reply
    • Sanchez

      This is amaaaazing Charlie!! I for one never ever wanna go to India EVER!! Period.

      October 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Reply
  24. Charlie

    Latest data from National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) shows that India suffered 1212 bomb blasts in 2013 — more than double of what Syria (with 608 blasts) suffered.

    October 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  25. Blue Saffron

    @Charlie I am tremendously impressed by your research. May I add that In fact, along with Somalia, Syria and Iraq, India accounts for almost 75% of bomb blasts in the world. However, India has done slightly better than the rest of the world in terms of the share of attacks targeted at common public. While in the rest of the world, 69% of attacks are directed towards public, India registered 58% in this category with the rest being targeted at the security forces and government property.

    October 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  26. Blue Saffron


    VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD (World Hindu Council)

    LEADERS: Narendra Modi/ L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray(EXTERMINATED)/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    October 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • Sanchez

      Why am I not surprised seeing this b ugger Modi's name in the list.

      October 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  27. Blue Saffron

    India is a TWO FACE SERPENT. A source of financing and inspiration for all terrorists in the world the likes of which have attacked thousand of innocents everyday across the world. A place where these extremists seek refuge after attacking neighboring countries. India is a Smithsonian specimen. Like humpty dumpty even USA, NATO and the entire free world are having a tough time holding it together. Living in the shadows of China, defined by bangladesh, haunted by Nepal and Myanmar and punctuated by zillion hindu extremist Terror Organizations, India is struggling to find a meaning for its existence and a place in the new world order. How can it stand up? certainly not on its feet .....perhaps on its knees to seek redemption for double crossing USA.

    October 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  28. Sanchez

    I continue to read with interest the thesis presented on CNN that "less is more" in a political context as applied to India.
    Although Mies Van Der Rohe adopted this in an architectural context, its economic and political connotations are indeed powerful. Notwitstanding the collapse of buildings that is probably making Mies turn in his grave. No pun intended.

    October 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Reply
    • Sanchez

      Empowering subjugated minorities in India by splitting it into smaller states would trigger uber economic demand for western nations who have given so much financial and technology aid to India with no return to show for the investment. We here in Haiti continue to monitor the political and cultural turmoil in India as a large percentage of our population are sugar cane slaves from India.

      October 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Reply
      • Blue Saffron

        Hairi? HAITI? What are you doing, monitoring it from your tent? Haiti is one of the most corrupt nations in the world. You have no business pointing your dirty finger at ANY nation until you get your own act together.

        October 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  29. chri§§y

    I agree @ Sanchez, me neither EVER!

    October 18, 2014 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • chri§§y

      Oh you are always so agreeable, beetch

      October 18, 2014 at 5:08 am | Reply
      • Blue Saffron

        You are too, with your 9000 names and you talking to yourself all the time. Fuck off, Sybil.

        October 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
  30. Chri§§y

    After dealing with ISIS I suggest that US embark on a new foreign policy that improves relations with China, Pakistan and Iran. The economic power of these countries is a thousand times greater than India's. WRT India, work on a strategy of a USSR type breakup that would yield maximum returns to world's elite nations, India's populace and neighbors.

    October 18, 2014 at 5:07 am | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      I suggest you make this planet a better place by removing yourself from it.

      October 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Reply
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