The ‘Controlled Demolition’ of Syria

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And the administration made it clear that any use of WMD for any reason by Syria would not be tolerated. President Obama warned that it would be a “tragic mistake” for Syria to employ WMD. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was even more blunt:

Any talk about any use of any kind of a weapon like that in this situation is horrific and chilling. The Syrian regime has a responsibility to the world, has a responsibility first and foremost to its own citizens to protect and safeguard those weapons. That kind of loose talk just speaks to the kind of regime that we’re talking about.

One of the keys to the shift in policy is increased efforts by the US to close down air and sea routes of supply from Iran. The US has tried to convince Iraq to close its air space to flights from Iran that are believed to carry weapons to the regime, while also having discussions with the Egyptians about closing the Suez canal to ships carrying arms to Syria. The Syrian opposition, which has been warming to the US in recent months as a result of a concerted effort by diplomats to make contact and develop good relations with key members, insists the US should make a greater effort to achieve the interdiction of arms by putting pressure on both Egypt and Iraq.

Neither country has been very cooperative — especially Iraq which on Monday became the only member in the Arab League to come out against a statement asking for Assad’s immediate resignation. “This call is not appropriate at this time because it is interfering in the sovereignty of another country,” Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abbawi told AFP, adding that “There are other means to secure a peaceful transition of authority.”

Any Syrian transition will necessarily involve the protection of minorities who fear a Sunni-dominated government more than they fear the oppression of Bashar Assad. Christians, Druze, Kurds, Shiites, and especially the Alawites, who currently dominate the military and economy, are worried that a Muslim Brotherhood government would take away the relative freedom they have to worship, while imposing strict Islamic codes of dress and in the courts. The administration can do little more than urge the political opposition, represented by the Syrian National Council, to respect minority rights and that any transitional government should include representatives from all sects and factions.

Many observers believe this is wishful thinking. The Kurds have reportedly made a deal with Assad to stay out of the rebellion if Syrian troops leave Kurdish areas, while Kurdish fighters have been training in Iraq in order to take the place of Syrian troops who would be redeployed to trouble spots. The Kurds have also made a deal with the rebels to stay out of Kurdish areas. What this portends for the future of a post-Assad Syria is unknown, but it presents the possibility that Syrian Kurds would resist being integrated into a transitional government.

The urgency given to discussions at the highest level of the Obama administration is indicative of how very little control the US — and the world — will have once President Assad is forced out. Changes in policy, large and small, only mask the difficulties ahead. Civil wars, once begun, don’t go according to plan. One need only witness what is happening in Libya where factions are still shooting at each other despite an election that was held recently.

But Syria would be much worse in the aftermath of a rebel victory. The opposition is hopelessly fractured and all sides are arming themselves. The possibility of bloody sectarian violence becomes more pronounced the longer Assad remains in power and the less united the political opposition is in their vision for a post-regime Syria. Al-Qaeda is in Syria hoping to exploit the chaos for its own purposes while the Muslim Brotherhood, dominating the Syrian National Council, waits in the wings for its chance to take power.

How can this situation be managed? The US is looking for a “controlled demolition of the Assad regime,” said Andrew J. Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He added ominously, “But like any controlled demolition, anything can go wrong.”

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  • Gene W 1938

    A one world government can operate well with rogue leaders who refuse to accept the IMF [World Bank] and UN dictates. Assad's government has persecuted fewer people than the number of Christians killed by many Muslim led countries but the UN and our officials can abide with those atrocities. Those countries will not affect world power nor affect their agenda.
    Assad will be eliminated just like Iraq’s and Libya’s leaders were.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Obama has furthered his plans to place the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Muslim Nations and
    the Brotherhood is eliminating all dictators who are not part of their agenda for the rebuilding of the
    Caliphate. The agenda is World domination by Islam and it is going forward every where you look.
    The bad only eliminates lesser bad and you only get a worse result. The battle for Syria will
    leave Damascus a ruin and greater war will proceed….Russia and China will act.

  • Steve

    The massacre in Syria is horrendous to be sure. However, which side would you support if you were government? I know if I had two crocodiles in my back yard pond fighting I would not support either of them. Both are Islamic and both are ready and willing to destroy me the Infidel. Do you really think the Insurgents are any less violent than the Syrian government? Let the Muslims settle their own differences, and yes, unfortunately, there is collateral and innocent damage but that is the nature of the beast.

    • Glennd1

      I don't understand why more people don't see it this way, Steve. Why is this any of our affair to "manage" in the first place? I expect the federal govt to protect our interests and rights, period, that's all. How did we get to the point in which we have a state dept that is meddling globally 365/24×7? And to think the odious, opportunist, sad-sack Hilary Clinton is leading the charge, "representing" the U.S. at negotiating tables around the world? It makes me ashamed to be an American.

  • TessMax

    This analysis was written years ago and gives background to what is happening today. Here's the version in the Kurdish media…

    This newer article was written not long after the current revolt began…

  • Jerry

    Obama will not tolerate use of WMD. Wow, I bet that scares Assad


    The racist mainstream Western medias have become a joke, such as the "allahuakbar – allah is the greatest" jihadist-shouting loving CNN, BBC & Sky news – when reporting on the TERRORIST Saudi Arabia/Qatar/Obama’s REGIMES royals -sponsored Jew/Christian/women/girls-hating Nazi Muslim Brotherhood jihadists to Arabicize absolutely including by sexually enslaving the women/girls in those monstrous Saudi-veil, and rob the OIL-RICH non-Arabic Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and in the future, Syria and Lebanon! But hey, these racist Western mainstream medias don't give a care about the enslaved women especially since they're not Western and that non-Westerners only deserve Jihadists for their 'democratic' rulers. This include destroying completely Kofi Annan peace plan despite that Assad has agreed to it, including by staging rebel attacks which include the use of child-soldiers, to make it ook like Assad started it and then call it Assad's massacre including supposedly killing of the children who were the rebels’ child-soldiers, in order to sabotage the peace plan. Now, as in Iraq, 'weapons of mass destruction' is the dirty game being played now by that most savage Jihadist/War Criminal/Dictator of all, Barack Hussein Obama!

    • mah29001

      Excuse me, but if Assad goes, how the hell would that help Israel? Syria will be under the country of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda.

  • Matt

    Well everyone likes to blame someone for what is going on in Syria. The facts are he should pardoned the kids over the anti-regime graffiti over food prices, instead of torturing and killing them and reprimanded the officers involved . Instead the regime decided to kill the people protesting about it, then the people attending the funerals for those killed protesting over it. He was a bad leader that did not pay attention to what was going on in his own country. There is no conspiracy in relation to Syria, just a bad leader who pays no attention to what is going on and delegates the running of the country to others who misjudged the situation. What was the cause of the uprising, that it had in fact started, he would not have been aware of at the time. Until after the fact.

  • Soloview

    There is nothing new in Syria that has not been amply demonstrated in the Balkan wars of the nineties. Rebels attacking in heavily populated areas to collect max civilian casualties for the propaganda war, the government using paramilitaries to intimidate and deny it is engaged in a "dirty war", carefully staged atrocities claimed by both sides to be the work of the murderers on the other side. Hillary is just as clueless as to what is going on and what needs to be done as was Madeleine before her. Stop the flow of weapons into the country: nothing of value to us can be done until the stupid model of toppling governments without clear commitment by the rebels to a new, civilized standard of governance is abandoned. This cannot be done if either side sees a military victory as the only solution and Libya as precedent.

  • Ricky Michael

    It's just more of the same old thing to me. That culture over there understands only the use of force. It is ruled with an iron hand and intolerance toward themselves and anyone who does not support their views. Within their own ranks, they can't even agree. We need to stay the heck out of there. Let them continue to do their thing, kill one another.

  • UCSPanther

    I think Assad has been running scared for a while. He lost four of his Lieutenants in that bomb blast, and it appears the rebels have been gaining the upper hand.

    What will happen next is anyone's guess, but Assad could very well share the same fate as Gaddafi.

    • davidhorowitz

      Even as the neo-cons try to protect him.

  • YLEM

    I just finish watching "Rumors of WWIII" a documentary that is on GBTV and it frightened the sh-t out of me. There are interviews with top military officials who lay out the danger we are facing. Go to GBTV and join for one month, you'll pay an extra 5 bucks to watch the video…all for about $9. Less than a movie. You must see this!! Invite your friends, neighbors and family over so that they can watch it too. I'm telling you, this frightened me and I thought I already understood the dangers of Islam. Not even close.

  • Flowerknife_us

    There is no one good in power, there is no one good to take over power. Take Iraq for example. It does not seem to matter who is in charge. The killing just goes on and on. The body count between Iraq and Syria are running a close race.

    The last thing the West needs is to allow the formation of an organized political structure within Islam. Bringing "democracy" to the Middle East has managed to introduce every possible fissure in nearly every Country. Rather than continually having some great need to solve the problems of their own making. throw Salt in the wounds. To the most righteous go the spoils. As the Holy climbs the heap of the worthy or not, Islam will rule its own demise. May we be patient and wise or its the Infidels demise.

  • stevefraser

    So the Middle East in the last year is Obama's foreign policy?