The Syrian Impasse

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Even escaping Syria can’t guaranteed one’s safety as reports have surfaced of Syrian refugees and activists in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan being kidnapped by Syrian intelligence agents and forced back into Syria.

Of course, Bashar Assad’s continued resistance to stepping down from power may have been stiffened by the video images of Muammar Gadhafi being dragged out of a drainage ditch and summarily executed, his corpse dragged through the streets before it was buried in an unmarked grave deep in the Libyan Desert.

So, in an effort to spare himself a similar fate, Assad in a recent interview gave a pointed warning as to the costs of a NATO-led military intervention against his regime, saying, “Syria is the fault line, and if you play with the ground, you will cause an earthquake. Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?”

While some have dismissed those comments by Assad as simply “playing up to the fears of the West at the moment,” the reality is that launching a military strike against Syria would entail a far more dangerous risk than the one launched against Libya. For starters, unlike Libya, Syria has a host of powerful allies that won’t sit idly by and watch Assad go under, chief among them Iran, Russia and China.

Russia and China already feel they were burned by the United States, France and Britain for overstepping the mandate of UN resolution 1973, which called for the introduction of a UN no-fly zone over Libya designed to protect Libyan civilians.

That mission, however, quickly morphed into an exercise of regime change, one in which NATO helped topple Gadhafi’s regime by launching more than 26,000 airstrikes against pro-Gadhafi forces.

So, when France in early October pushed a similar UN resolution that called for the UN Security Council to take “responsibilities” and sanction the “bloody repression” in Syria, both Russia and China, believing it would be a pretext for an attack on their Syrian ally, vetoed the resolution

For his part, Assad has already indicated that he won’t be content to simply wait for outside help to save his regime. Assad, along with Syria’s proxy terrorist organization Hezbollah, has reportedly pledged to launch its huge arsenal of rockets and missiles at Israel if Syria is attacked, a prospect that would all but guarantee the beginning of a large scale regional war.

Therefore, it is understandable that NATO is much more hesitant this time to invoke the military option, evidenced by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who told reporters in Libya that he could “completely rule out” a NATO-led strike on Syria.

Yet, while NATO may be ruling out a possible military strike on Syria, some still cling to that hope. That view was voiced by Senator John McCain, who days ago said, “Now that military operations in Libya are ending, there will be renewed focus on what practical military operations might be considered to protect civilian lives in Syria.”

While McCain’s views may not represent the best answer to the Syrian situation, at least he’s not alone. Jordan’s King Abdullah recently said, “I am one of the most optimistic people you’ll meet in the Middle East, but…I don’t think there’s anybody in the region or outside who knows how to tackle the Syria issue.”

With no end in sight to Bashar Assad’s rule and Syria drifting ever closer toward full scale sectarian civil war, finding an answer to the Syrian problem grows more elusive and imperative by the day.

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  • D Marsh

    I just spoke to someone returning from a visit to relatives in Syria. Here is what I was told:
    The Syrian military is cautious around Americans, probably because they fear triggering American supported intervention. They confiscate all medicines brought by anyone entering the country. Approximately 10,000 civilians have been killed by the government, not 3,000. In Syria, so many people have lost friends and relatives that they don't care anymore; they will continue to protest despite the risk. They feel that they have nothing to lose. In one unreported incident, troops came to shoot up a crowd. Ford was there. When they saw him, they immediately left. Ford did a lot to support the revolt, going around the country, meeting with local protestors.
    I salute Ambassador Ford for his bravery and efforts.

  • Flipside

    The American National Transition Council wonders why there is the same degree of vilification of civilian protesters. They hope it won’t come to brutal repression here too.

  • C"H"Martel

    My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad, available at For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. This book uses the specific names of Hitler and Stalin to efficiently identify the nature of Muhammad and by extension Islam. It compares the personalities and approach of each man to such categories as; war, peace, sex, torture, slavery, women, their respective childhoods and deaths, the critical affects of geography and timing, each man’s anti-social and narcissistic personalities.

  • Zena

    Obama is so inept. The Jews that were so supportive of him, despite his obvious lies, his ridiculous lack of experience, should slap themselves as hard as they can across the face and then do everything they can to stop him. Gad, the so-called intellectuals are such brainwashed fools. There is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom folks. Vaaaaaaaaaaaaast.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The protecting of civilian lives means what? Killing ever who is identified as
    and antagonist of who you support, all of Assad's followers will not be considered
    as civilians and are targets for whatever bomb is falling. Funny how one side is
    civilian and the other is not, seems to be one sided but in that part of the World
    everything is not what it seems. Falsehood is a given no matter who is reporting,
    I do not think you can believe anything coming out of Syria but we know Assad
    is a murdering thug and his regime is anti-American, anti-Isreali and intent on
    supporting jihadist evil doers. If he is removed the Muslim Brotherhood takes
    over and then what, peace, no way, it seems you lose or you lose……….William