In 2013 John Kerry said "our" response to Assad's use of chemical weapons matters because "if we choose to live in the world where a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity . . . there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will." Since then, the focus has shifted dramatically to ISIS, and many in the west have failed to acknowledge the role of the Assad regime in the crisis. This from the BBC:
IS remains a potent force in Syria and must be countered, but it will not be marching on Damascus anytime soon, contrary to some uninformed fear mongering. Al-Qaeda also poses a pressing and more long-term threat, perhaps more so than has been acknowledged. But at the end of the day, the root cause of the entire Syrian crisis is Assad and his regime . . .
While accommodating Russian and Iranian demands for Assad's survival and potentially even a de facto partition of the country may seem like an attainable objective, this will only prolong and intensify the conflict and will almost certainly spark a jihadist mobilization the like of which the world has never seen.
The vast majority of refugees now entering Europe are fleeing Assad's murder machine, not IS or al-Qaeda. Ever since Syrians took to the streets in March 2011, the Western response has been both feeble and noncommittal, but the world is now in need of real leadership. Unfortunately, it seems our leaders are walking into the abyss with their eyes closed.