Syria has always been among the Middle East’s most repressive dictatorships, in addition to serving as the home to terrorists that have killed American soldiers and non-combatants in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and more. Now, Syria is under fire from within; since March 2011, tens of thousands of innocent Syrians have been killed in ruthless assaults by the Assad regime. While government forces continue to bombard major cities with appalling brutality, US strategic interests argue for intervention in this pivotal Arab country. For ongoing coverage and analysis on the escalating attacks in Syria, keep updated by AEI’s foreign and defense policy scholars.

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In the fight against ISIS, it would be unjust for the United States – or for anyone – to ally itself with such evil as Assad or Putin.

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The international community will be a more dangerous place if the West abandons its leadership role to the Putins of the world.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia November 24, 2015. Reuters

To alter Putin’s increasingly assertive foreign policy, the West must appreciate the domestic and foreign drivers of his actions and formulate their response accordingly.

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Russo-Turkish tensions since the start of the Russian air campaign.

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An undated photograph of a man described as Abdelhamid Abaaoud that was published in the Islamic State's online magazine Dabiq and posted on a social media website. Reuters

Before transforming President Obama’s ineffective efforts into a vigorous military campaign to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS), we need a clear view, shared with NATO allies and others, about what will replace it.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015. Reuters

Strategic concerns and domestic political considerations make it unlikely that Putin will abandon his longtime ally, Bashar al-Assad anytime soon.

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ISIS wants to shake the foundations of the West. Responding with passivity will only hasten their efforts.

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It’s not the widows and orphans Americans are scared of, Mr. President. It’s the ISIS terrorists posing as refugees that have already sneaked into the country.

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President Barack Obama holds a news conference with reporters at the end of the G20 summit at the Kaya Palazzo Resort in Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015.  Reuters

What really made Obama angry at the press conference in Antalya, Turkey were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against the Islamic State and Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Europe attend a meeting in Vienna, Austria, November 14, 2015, on the crisis in Syria.   REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger.

Regardless of its sympathetic rhetoric, Tehran has no qualms about using the Islamic State to serve its immediate goals.

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