The United States should not be making deals that keep money flowing to terrorists.
The speculation comes from another idiotic article by Leslie Gelb urging us to ally with Iran to beat ISIS. (Gelb, like McCain, doesn't seem to grasp that allying with one side in a holy war between terrorist groups is a terrible idea that culminates in genocide.)
But aside from his usual stupidity, Gelb is also the President Emeritus of the CFR which makes this speculation something interesting.
This foreign policy sleight of hand was revealed last month when Secretary of State John Kerry let slip America’s intention to “de-conflict” with Assad. One apparent result of these subtle moves is that Assad seems to be turning off his air-defense system when U.S. aircraft attack his territory. For its part, the U.S. hasn’t hit major oil fields under ISIS control. Presumably this is because Assad wants them working when he takes over again.
Assad keeps his air-defense systems out of our way for obvious reasons. He probably even keeps them that way when Israeli jets come calling and no one could accuse him of having a secret alliance with Jerusalem.
It's the latter bit of speculation that is more interesting.
The usual assumption was that Obama didn't want to bomb the oil fields for environmental reasons. That would be the kind of stupidity you would expect from him. But Gelb is suggesting that Obama has a deal with Assad to let money keep flowing to ISIS in the hopes of ultimately stabilizing the regime. That doesn't seem all that likely since all signs point to the US throwing in all the way with the Sunni Jihadists of the FSA. And we're not talking about an administration that can walk and chew gum at the same time on an international diplomatic level.
But if such a deal does exist, it would be extremely troubling.
The United States should not be making deals with Assad. Particularly not deals that keep money flowing to terrorists.