We have little to lose and much to gain in such a reverse in policy vis-à-vis Assad. If we persist on overthrowing him by force, we will perpetuate the disastrous status quo-- an anti-jihadi campaign that the administration has already acknowledged may be morphing into a new open-ended war for years to come -- all the while generating tens of thousands of new jihadis fighting new jihads that we cannot bomb out of existence.
The world's most feared jihadi group, the Islamic State (ISIS), is parlaying its dramatic gains in Iraq into Syria. Already flush with cash and weapons, ISIS stands to receive another, invaluable windfall in Aleppo, Syria's largest city prior to the war. Regime forces there are on the verge of encircling opposition militants. Their success in doing so would benefit ISIS as much as it would Bashar al-Assad, throttling the more moderate rebel enemy both share.