In Secretary of State Kerry’s view, the Obama administration has needed to do everything it can to restrain the forces of Syrian President Assad from continuing to bomb civilians.
Once the Russians entered the war, that meant making the deal with President Putin, in which the Russians would pressure Assad to stay out of the skies.
In private, Kerry has conceded to aides and friends that he believes the deal won’t work, given that there are so many players, beyond Washington and Moscow, with stakes in the outcome, says The New York Times.
But Kerry has said he’s determined to try, so he and President Obama don’t leave office having failed to alleviate a five-year civil war in which more than 400,000 people have died, according to the U.N.
So, under the deal, and at a time when the United States and Russia are at their most combative posture since the end of the Cold War, the American military is suddenly being told that it may, in a week, have to start sharing intelligence with Russia to jointly target Islamic State and Nusra Front forces in Syria.
Chief among Pentagon concerns is whether sharing targeting information with Russia could reveal the way the United States uses intelligence to conduct airstrikes, not just in Syria but in other places — which Moscow then could use for its own advantage in the growing confrontations undersea and in the air around the Baltics and Europe.
It’s a measure of the sensitivity of the agreement that the State Department hasn’t released text of the agreement with the Russians, or even a fact sheet summarizing it, says the Times.