3. Syria: Will Assad Survive?

Feb-24-2012 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: Two articles arguing that Assad’s rule will survive in Syria. Rosen analyzes the fragmented nature of the opposition within Syria; War Tard does a superb job of looking at the gridlock country by country that prevents any intervention. And the Times’ piece exemplifies the pointless posturing to which Western leaders have been reduced.

* Nir Rosen’s predictions for Syria  Al Jazeera  (Thanks, Gabe!)

Journalist Nir Rosen recently spent two months in Syria. As well as meeting members of various communities across the country – supporters of the country’s rulers and of the opposition alike – he spent time with armed resistance groups in Homs, Idlib, Deraa, and Damascus suburbs.

Al Jazeera: To quote General David Petraeus in Iraq: ‘Tell me how this ends.’
Nir Rosen: The regime can survive for a long time, even if it steadily loses control of territory within the country. It is very unlikely that there will be any large-scale international military intervention. In Washington, there is a great deal of frustration. Zionists and advocates of the muscular use of US power, including several Republicans, are calling for Obama to arm the opposition. Even the neoconservatives are climbing out from under their rocks to call for a US military intervention. Fox News has seized on this cause too.
Contrary to conspiracy theories, until now the Obama administration has not made the policy decision to aid the opposition on the ground, as far as I know, let alone provide it with weapons. US and European officials who would like to intervene in Syria complain that there is no “silver bullet” or easy option for them. They don’t even know who to support inside Syria. The exiled opposition, such as the Syrian National Council, are too busy fighting among themselves and too disconnected from events on the ground, so the outside powers do not even have a convenient local collaborator or proxy to deal with. 

* The Syrian Uprising: No Foreign Intervention When You’ve Got No Oil?  War Tard

The fun question is whether NATO or the Russians or even the Arab League will get involved to stop the shooting? And the short answer is no. For lots of reasons, not all of which are predicated on the fact that, unlike say Libya, Syria has no oil so there’s nothing obvious for anyone to grab. That doesn’t mean that Syria doesn’t figure in to our global proxy resource war future. It’s geography is pretty critical in Middle East strategic terms and that makes it important enough that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel and the US all have a stake in how this mess plays out. That, paradoxically, means it’s probably too risky for any foreign player to allow a rival power to get directly involved. That’s really bad news if you’re a Syrian protester dodging artillery fire. This war has long drawn out stalemate written all over it.

… Let’s take a look at the complex web of foreign players with a stake in this mess.

Israel: Obviously, Israel would like Syria destabilized but this is a risky game even for them. When Mubarak fell in Egypt, they lost a compliant dictator on their southern border. It remains to be seen if a new regime in Damascus would be compliant enough to settle the Golan Heights dispute. Strangely, you can throw Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Sunni Arab US allies in the region in with Israel as they all fear the growing power of Iran. A weakened Syria plays to this interest.

* Wounded Journalists Appeal for Evacuation From Homs New York Times

A French reporter wounded in the Syrian government’s bombardment of Homs made a video appeal on Thursday for a cease-fire and evacuation for urgent medical attention. “My leg is broken at the level of the femur, along its length and also horizontally,” said the reporter, Edith Bouvier, in a video posted by antigovernment activists. “I need to be operated upon as soon as possible.”…

The journalists had taken great risks to enter the besieged city and report on that part of a government crackdown that has left thousands of civilians dead. The government’s assault on the makeshift media center where the journalists were working brought a new intensity to international condemnations of President Bashar al-Assad and his forces. Activists who created the media center said that satellite transmitters on the roof had probably been spotted by Syrian reconnaissance aircraft before the strike.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France called the journalists’ killings “murder” and repeated demands that the Syrian government stop attacking peaceful demonstrators and allow humanitarian aid from abroad. He said that “this regime should leave” power. “Those who did this will have to account for it,” Mr. Sarkozy said during a campaign visit to northern France. “Thanks to globalization, you can no longer commit murder under cover of utter silence.”



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