Trusted Assad aide reportedly invited to Washington
One of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s most trusted aides, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, who is under US and European sanctions for complicity in his regime’s violence, is due to appear in Washington Thursday in a discussion about the ways to eliminate ISIS and Al-Qaeda sponsored by the self-styled 'The Global Alliance for Terminating ISIS/ Al-Qaeda.' A source from this group claims also that Bassam Al Hussaini, the Iraqi government advisor for the Iraqi Shiite militia 'Popular Mobilization Forces,' which is part of the current attack on ISIS in Fallujah, will also take part in the discussions.
This militia has taken a prominent—and many would say problematic—role in the fight against the Islamic State ISIS.
Its commander is the Iranian General Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, who is likewise under US sanction as 'a specially designated global terrorist'.
DEBKAfile sources could not confirm this news or the pair’s arrival from any official source in Washington, although it is a hot topic in the US capital. If true, it would mean that the Obama administration may have accepted the Assad regime’s continued rule and lined up with Moscow's and Tehran's insistence on keeping him in power. Even if Shaaban and Al Hussaini only take part in the discussions from afar via video conference from Damascus and Bagdad, then it will still be a first step toward this development.