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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Assad has no reason to fear Obama

Barry Rubin cites a New York Times report that says that President Obama is hoping to 'negotiate' the departure of Syrian President Assad with Russia's help. That sentence contains much that is wrong with Obama's foreign policy.
Good grief! There are four different acts of strategic insanity involved in this paragraph. They are:

–“A negotiated political settlement that…could leave remnants of Assad’s government in place.”

The Syrian dictatorship is led by murderous thugs who know this is a case of kill or be killed. They aren’t going to give up any of their power. And why should they since they think they’re winning and may well be right. They know the outside world won’t do anything, despite the regime having killed around 10,000 civilians.

–“A negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Assad’s government in place.”

The opposition is not so foolish as a Washington pundit, policymaker, or politician. They know that their only hope is to destroy the regime entirely. The democrats want to do so in order to have a modern democracy. The Islamists want Islamism. The Kurds and Druze want autonomy. How could there possibly be a coalition? Both sides know that within days people would be murdering each other. How could anyone expect this kind of deal would work or that the opposition would accept it?

If anyone in Syria might favor such a plan it’s the Muslim Brotherhood. which has toyed with the idea of using such a transition period to strengthen its own hand. So the idea cannot succeed but reveals once again that the Obama Administration seems to get many of its strategies from the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s an observation, not a conspiracy theory.

– “The success of the plan hinges on Russia, one of Assad’s staunchest allies, which has strongly opposed his removal.”

Just think about that sentence! The Obama Administration wants to depend on a country that’s disdainful of U.S. interests, wants to sabotage them, and is on the opposite side! The president wants to ask a country that is “strongly opposed” Assad’s removal to remove Assad!

And finally, equally amazingly:

“Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Putin of Russia at their meeting next month. Obama’s national security adviser raised the plan with Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.”

It’s Obama, not Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who is pushing this plan to put Russia in control! If your enemy tries to fool or cheat you, that’s a problem. If you beg him and hand him the means to do so, that’s a betrayal of U.S. interests.
But then that's just the kind of behavior we've come to expect in three and a half years of the Obama administration, isn't it? Dan Margalit worries that if Obama cannot stand up to Assad, he certainly cannot stand up to Iran or North Korea.
At the height of the negotiations with Iran it became clear to the West that Tehran was not going to give up its nuclear program. In Istanbul and in Baghdad the sides discussed lowering the uranium enrichment level from 20 percent to 5%, until it emerged that Iran had surprisingly leaped to enriching to 27%. Iran is not afraid to be viewed as a serial fraud. North Korea already beat them to the punch.

Given these circumstances, why should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be worried about the American declaration that "the time has come" to replace him? He is mercilessly massacring his people, bombing them indiscriminately. In Houla and in Homs the army is filling civilians with cast lead bullets in insane and unprecedented quantities. An honest Palestinian who hates Israel would have a hard time saying anything bad about the Israeli army in comparison to what the Syrians are doing to their Arab brothers.

U.S. President Barack Obama is not keeping quiet. He has suggested that Assad relinquish power in exchange for political asylum. He is even pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the dirty work for him — the same Putin who was responsible for the oppression in Chechnya and who provided the inspiration for Assad in how to wage civil war. It is ridiculous — Putin's clients are Iran, Hezbollah and Assad. He is invested in them, and therefore defends them. And Obama doesn't seriously deter anyone. He doesn't dare.

Assad is no longer afraid. Putin won't come to Obama's aid. Russia regrets having helped the West in Libya, and probably won't repeat that perceived mistake, which undermines Russia's traditional policy of staking a claim in the tumultuous Middle East. And if Obama can't stop Syria, he has almost no chance against Iran and North Korea.
What could go wrong?

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At 10:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"once again the Obama Administration seems to get many of its strategies from the Muslim Brotherhood."

Anyone surprised?

At 2:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, there's always the possibility that No-Way-Out Obama actually works for Putin, O's being merely terrified of Putin the best-case alternative in this situation.


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