The main strategic priority for the US is not the Islamic State but Iran, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush said on Tuesday.
Speaking about the crisis in Syria on BBC’s Newsnight, David Frum accused Washington of making “too much of a priority out of the Islamic State”, adding that the militants, who currently control swathes of land across Iraq and Syria, are not the West’s most important strategic threat in the region.
"That is Iran," said Frum, who currently writes for The Atlantic. “Because of our [America’s] focus on the Islamic State… the Obama administration has been leading us into a de facto partnership with Iran.”
This was "protecting the larger strategic threat at the expense of the lesser strategic threat," he said.
Frum added that America "does not have a strategy for success in Syria" because Washington does not want to help Bashar al-Assad. However by attacking the Islamic State the US has inadvertently made the Syrian leader a "de facto partner," he said.
On the argument that America has to deal with Assad and consequently Iran in the short term to defeat IS, Frum said this was to "allow a shocking, appalling and terrible local threat to drive you into making decisions that are against the long-term strategic interest of the United States."
President Obama is expected to ask Congress this week for new authority to fight IS militants, including the ability to deploy limited US ground troops.