Schiff, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, says airstrikes in Syria won’t address the primary threat to the U.S. and could increase the risk factor:
The most significant threat we face from ISIS will be the return of foreign fighters to our shores, something an aerial campaign over Syria will do little to address. And in the absence of an immediate threat to our homeland from ISIS planners in Syria … the most profound consequence of U.S. airstrikes may be to give us greater ownership of Syria’s brutal civil war.
The U.S. leveraged potential military strikes and assistance to get Iraqis to jettison Nouri Al-Maliki and form an inclusive government, but the U.S. cannot work with the regime in Damascus:
Bashar al-Assad has gassed and dropped barrel bombs on his own people and teaming up with him would only further drive Sunnis into the arms of ISIS.
Instead the U.S. should take advantage of growing discontent among Assad’s backers – Iran and the Alawite tribe – to lessen the regime’s support.
If we discover an imminent threat to the United States emanating from Syria—and that day may come—the president would be right to attack it and he will enjoy Congress’ full support and authorization. But airstrikes now would only serve to harass, not defeat, ISIS. Let’s use the promise of American military assistance to replace, not reinforce, Assad, so that we may begin to see the outlines of an end to the Syrian civil war and with it, ISIS.