Is Trump handing Putin a victory in Syria?

David Ignatius writes:

The catastrophic war in Syria is nearing what could be a diplomatic endgame, as the United States , Russia and Israel shape a deal that would preserve power for Syrian President Bashar al -Assad in exchange for Russian pledges to restrain Iranian influence.

Checking Iranian power has become the only major Trump administration goal in Syria, now that the Islamic State is nearly vanquished. President Trump appears ready to embrace a policy that will validate Assad, an authoritarian leader who has gassed his own people, and abandon a Syrian opposition that was partly trained and supplied by the United States.

Trump’s Syria policy has bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball. The most consistent feature has been his mistrust of Middle East military commitments made by his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Step by step, he seems to be undoing them.

The diplomatic discussions about Syria come as Trump prepares for a July 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Foreign diplomats and administration officials are unsure just what will be on the agenda, but the Syria package will probably be in play. [Continue reading…]

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