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If the Vienna Joint Communique of Oct. 30, 2015, is to spur progress toward peace and political transition in Syria, the United States and its partners must first devise and agree upon a comprehensive collective strategy.The second round of the Vienna talks should not take place until two things happen: The Assad regime must cease all mass civilian casualty activities (including bombings and sieges); and the United States and its partners must reach a comprehensive, collective strategy.Just as the 2013 rush to Geneva was meant to provide a process alternative to action in response to Assad regime crimes against Syrian civilians, so the Vienna initiative seeks to substitute a process for acting against rampant regime criminality that has the effect of emptying Syria and making much of the country safe for ISIS.Obama wishes, at almost any cost, to avoid taking any limited military countermeasures to protect Syrian civilians, notwithstanding the recruits produced by Assad regime atrocities for ISIS in Syria and around the world. He desperately wants to pursue a military campaign against ISIS as if the Assad regime does not exist.
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