This was an 1.5 hour panel discussion today with some experts on Syria your not likely to find elsewhere.
Ambassador Robert S. Ford, Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute; former U.S. Ambassador to Syria
Hardin Lang, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Douglas A. Ollivant, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Andrew J. Tabler, Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
There is a new study by the Center for American Progress out today as well.
CAP Report Shows ‘Alarming State’ of Syrian Opposition Forces, Recommends Policies for Improvement as They Face ISIS and Assad Regime
Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama’s plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, will rely on cooperation between many different partners. Chief among them will be the various Syrian opposition groups currently battling against the oppressive regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Recent research by the Center for American Progress shows that those groups are disorganized, weak, and often at odds with one another—significant problems that the United States and its allies will need to overcome.
In a report released today, CAP national security experts outline the challenges the United States faces as it prepares to ramp up efforts to support the Syrian opposition fighting ISIS and the Assad regime. The report outlines recommendations for forthcoming efforts to improve the ability of these third-way opposition forces to fight ISIS and the Assad regime.
The Syrian opposition groups face significant challenges,” said Hardin Lang, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “They are not equipped or trained to confront ISIS now or to take on the Assad regime in the future. They are often at odds with each other politically and disagree about the future of their country. The United States should be under no illusions about the enormity of the task before it. But these groups are the only game in town and deserve our support. U.S. leadership is required to galvanize the opposition against common enemies and to support the eventual formation of a transitional government in Syria.”
A CAP research team interviewed more than 50 Syrian opposition political representatives, military commanders, activists, and fighters in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, including members of the Syrian National Coalition, the Supreme Military Council, the Free Syrian Army, and the Islamic Front, among others. The report concludes that, while the state of the opposition forces is lacking, the United States still has the opportunity to develop a partner in Syria as part of the wider effort to combat ISIS and build a foundation for the future transition away from the Assad regime.