The Daily Beast reports: For once, Rex Tillerson is not freelancing.
Late Wednesday, ahead of the first-ever meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the secretary of state suggested that the U.S. is willing to explore “joint mechanisms” with Russia to stabilize the vicious Syrian civil war.
After a dizzying series of policy shifts on Syria, administration and congressional sources tell The Daily Beast that Team Trump is introducing the beginnings of a new strategy for Syria—one that, in the short term at least:
• leaves dictator Bashar al-Assad in power;
• acquiesces to the idea of “safe zones” proposed by Russia and its allies;
• leans on cooperation from Moscow, including the use of Russian troops to patrol parts of the country.
It’s the sort of plan that observers have long suspected would ultimately emerge as Trump’s approach—despite his pledge that Assad has “no role” in governing the Syrian people. Top Trump aides from Jared Kushner to former national security adviser Michael Flynn have pushed for closer coordination with Russia on Syria for months. [Continue reading…]