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Recent remarks by national security adviser John Bolton suggesting that the United States will maintain a presence presumably military in Syria until the departure of Iranian-led forces from that ruined country have inspired a flurry of media commentary, questioning and speculation.The view here is that there is less to the story of a Bolton-Mattis disconnect than some in the media would pretend, but that there is an interesting story of presidential policy evolution regarding Syria to be pursued.For nearly four years, the United States has been overseeing a military campaign aimed at defeating Daesh in Syria east of the Euphrates River: once the heart of the self-proclaimed caliphate.According to the secretary of defense, Daesh is down to about 2 percent of the territory it once controlled in Syria.Daesh, after all, made few Syrian friends during its barbarous tenure in northeastern Syria.Although Daesh itself would hardly be seen as an attractive alternative by most Syrians who experienced the criminal band firsthand, surely other extremists perhaps even some surviving Daesh operatives would work hard to rally a predominantly Sunni population to support a violent Sunni Islamist alternative to the violent Shiite Islamist extremism of Iran and the larcenous and murderous agenda of its Syrian client.
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