Thus, it seemed that the most feasible solution for the US was the conflict containment, thus it would not spread to its regional allies such as Israel, Turkey (Sorenson, 2013). Yet, several authors (e.g. Rabinovich) criticize the vagueness of Obama policies, others such as Harvey and Mitton (2015) argue, the use was coercive diplomacy was partly successful because Assad and his allies acknowledged its commitment, as the US would take countermeasures to sustain its reputation.
Moreover, since 2014, the emergence of ISIS, the Russian intervention on Assad’s side and the Republican candidate, Donald Trump winning the election resulted in shifts in the US policy towards Syria. As it was mentioned before, the US has only considered direct military intervention before, yet the emergence of ISIS eventually resulted in the US armed forces involvement. The Obama’s administration’ priority in Syria modified, as Assad’s removal was not the most crucial goal, yet it remained on the US agenda. The destruction of ISIS became urgent as it was preventing the geopolitical interests (e.g. attacking the allies of the United States fighting against Assad), as well as members were considered as a threat to security upon their return/arrival to the United States. That is why since 2014 the US air forces targeted ISIS-linked facilities over 7000 and military personnel arrived to Syria and Iraq (Calamur, 2017). On the other hand, Cornell (2016) implies, that the intensified fight against was not only due to the fact that the ISIS meant a more severe danger to US geopolitical interest, but the Russian military intervention had a significant impact on US policy. Not only did Trump see Iran as a threat but it also supports its ally, Saudi Arabia to fight combatants accused of being allied to Iran in Yemen (Sedghi, 2017). The Russian interference contributed to the choice of fighting ISIS. Similarly, to the Cold War, the US wants to avoid direct confrontation with Russia. For instance, although Presided Trump ordered eventually to bomb an airbase which belonged to Assad’ forces, the Russian counterpart was warned by the Us (Independent, 2017). Despite the shifts and development of the conflict, for example ISIS is significantly weakened, it is still hard to determine how the US can achieve its geopolitical goals.