Ex-CIA chief urges new U.S. strategy vs. ISIS: Join Russia and Syria in wiping out terrorist group

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. security advisor Susan Rice (2nd L) prior to the opening session of the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, on Nov. 15, 2015. Man at 2nd R is unidentified.Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama should consider making a radical shift in his administration's policy by working with Russian President Vladimir Putin and even Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to finally address head-on the global menace posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

The suggestion came from former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell during his appearance on Sunday on "Face the Nation."

"I think it's now crystal clear to us that our strategy, our policy, vis-a-vis ISIS is not working and it's time to look at something else," Morell said, according to Newsmax.

He said this has become imperative after the recent downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula followed by Friday's deadly terror attacks in Paris.

Morell said these twin attacks clearly showed that ISIS has succeeded in its ability to attack Western Europe, adding that the terrorist organisation must have the same plans for the United States.

Morell admitted that it is a "very complicated situation" since the U.S. is solely focused on a bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Syria and considers the Assad regime an enemy. Russia, on the other hand, is allied with Syria and is conducting bombing campaigns of its own on both ISIS and other foes of the Syrian regime, including rebel factions supported by the U.S.

Nevertheless, the former CIA official said the United States should consider working with Assad and Russia as well in wiping out ISIS.

"I do think the question of whether President Assad needs to go or whether he is part of the solution here we need to look at again," Morell said. "Clearly he's part of the problem, but he may also be part of the solution."

While Morell was speaking, Obama was already having face-to-face talks with his Russian counterpart in Antalya, Turkey on the sidelines of a multinational security conference.

The leaders of the world's two biggest nations were photographed huddled on a table with only two aides joining them. They talked for more than half an hour less than 48 hours after the series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, killing more than 130 people, according to the International Business Times.

Although the details of what they discussed remained unreported as of press time, what was clearly evident was that both leaders were intent on eradicating the ISIS, the jihadist group that controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, and which claimed credit for the deadliest terrorist attacks on France on Sunday.

An unnamed White House official told journalists that Obama and Putin expressed joint interest in convening United Nations-sponsored peace talks toward finding a settlement to the Syrian conflict and forging a ceasefire.

But the question that begged to be answered was whether the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris had softened the differences between Obama and Putin and whether they area now ready to confront a common enemy, ISIS.

National security experts remained sceptical.

"I don't see this resulting in a change in underlying policy and the level of cooperation," said James F. Collins, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a research institution in Washington. "There is a certain amount of hostility and distrust about what is happening in Syria," the International Business Times reported.