What are the possible outcomes? Should the war against Daech be the priority? Is the regime of Assad a lesser evil?
Until the attacks in Paris in 2015, François Hollande seemed to maintain the principle «Neither Assad nor Daech”, but he now seems to give priority to the eradication of Daech. The French continue to debate over this question of priority. But is it really possible to separate the two objectives? In fact, it is not, and for three reasons:
- From the beginning, Daech and Assad have had an objective complicity. Not only because the imprisoned jihadists liberated by Assad in May 2011 sooner or later joined the ranks of Daech, but also because the regime always preferred bombing the rebel groups and the civilian population rather than Daech, and apart from a few exceptions, such as the taking of their base at Tabqa, Daech likewise preferred attacking opposing rebel groups than the Syrian regular army.
- The continuation of the bombing of civilians by the regime, now seconded by the Russians, has encouraged candidates for the jihad who now principally join Daech. The departure of Assad and the end of the killing of civilians would be the most effective way to limit their attraction for Daech.
- It is only in establishing a veritable political transition in Damascus without Assad that it would be possible, under certain conditions, for the opposition army to join forces with the regular army in order to constitute a ground force capable of eradicating Daech.