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When speaking about Syria, President Obama and his key aides have never denied the vital connection between the Assad regime's collective punishment survival strategy – mass homicide, wholesale displacement, starvation sieges, Nazi-style penal practices, state terror – and the ability of Islamist extremists in Syria to live long and prosper. But by failing to complicate and slow the sanguinary work of the Assad regime – by arguing that nothing short of invasion and occupation could protect Syrian civilians – the administration gave the regime and its external supporters a free ride to do their worst. Competing Obama administration priorities in Syria has not been an issue.The Assad regime is an asset for Islamist extremism in both its Sunni and Shiite forms.Starting with a clear appreciation of the truth – Assad and Islamist extremism are two sides of the same murderous, terrorist coin – would be a good place to start.
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