The Death of Diplomacy in Syria

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While another leak from the administration revealed that President Obama had signed a “secret” intelligence finding in the last few months, authorizing the CIA to assist the rebels, the finding is more window dressing than a dramatic change in policy. The US will coordinate activities at a base in Turkey that is a rebel conduit for arms and assistance. Previously it was revealed that the CIA is evaluating various units in the FSA to determine whether they are patriots, or terrorists — a determination that has prevented the West from fully getting behind the armed opposition and supplying them with weapons that could spell the difference on the battlefield.

With diplomatic efforts now officially dead, the world’s gaze turns to the conflict itself and the growing power and ability to resist of the FSA, as well as President Assad’s escalation of indiscriminate attacks on civilians. A shocking BBC report tells of government soldiers going from house to house in Aleppo demanding to see resident’s papers. At least 70 were killed in the operation, while opposition activists claim that many people were dragged out of their homes and summarily executed.

The FSA is also apparently not above committing war crimes. A video has surfaced that shows FSA fighters leading Syrian soldiers outdoors and placed against a wall. After shouting some slogans, the prisoners are murdered in a hail of gunfire.

The increasing ferocity of the fighting has made the city of Aleppo — a modern, cultured metropolis — into a shooting gallery and potential humanitarian disaster of nearly unthinkable proportions. The quarter of a million refugees who have fled the fighting are in danger of starvation and death by exposure to the elements. An FSA colonel, Abu Hamza, told the Guardian newspaper:

“We can’t feed them,” he said. “We need help. We don’t even have food for our own families, or for ourselves. We cannot survive for much longer under these conditions. We are talking a few weeks.”

There is no realistic way to get aid to those people. Even the Red Cross is powerless to move as long as Assad’s troops prevent them from doing so. With the rebels now having captured several tanks and perhaps supplied, via Turkey, with shoulder fired anti-aircraft weapons, the battle for Aleppo is shaping up to be a long, drawn out affair. And the longer the battle lasts, the more dire the humanitarian situation will become.

Did Annan’s mission ever have a chance of succeeding? “Bottom line on Kofi’s mission. D.O.A. from the get go,” Aaron David Miller, a Middle East scholar at the Wilson Center, a research group in Washington, said in an e-mail to the New York Times. “Too much blood spilled for a negotiated settlement between the Assads and the rebels, and not enough for foreign intervention to pressure the Assads to leave.”

Perhaps Annan was partly right; he was never going to succeed unless Russia and China relented in their opposition to strong measures to force Assad to the bargaining table, and the US and other “Friends of Syria” put pressure on Vladmir Putin to change his policy. But the US and the Arab League worked at cross-purposes at times, and much of Europe hung back awaiting a clearer picture. At the end, there was only Annan’s ridiculous “peace plan” that all sides in the conflict ignored and only the well meaning diplomats at the UN who believed still had a chance of working.

And as the debate in the General Assembly is revealing, not all diplomats are “well meaning.” The resolution, written by Saudi Arabia and pushed by the Arab League, was weakened to the point of irrelevancy when, as an AP dispatch relates, “Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Algeria, Argentina and other Latin American nations…had problems with a resolution calling for regime change or for sanctions. The new draft no longer asks other nations to place sanctions on Syria.” One might inquire what’s the point of passing a resolution that has no force behind it and that doesn’t call for any pressure to be placed on President Assad. The answer is, there is no point. The resolution does take a swipe at Russia and China (not by name) by “deploring” the failure of the Security Council to act. But there is no specific call for action by the Assembly for the Security Council to take any meaningful steps to end the crisis.

Thus are consciences assuaged at the UN as the escalating violence in Syria threatens to spill over into neighboring countries and engulf the region in war.

What are men with good intentions to do in the face of such evil and hate? Good intentions didn’t stop Hitler, or Tojo, or any other penny-ante thug since the end of World War II with murder in their heart and mayhem on their minds. President Obama is probably correct in trying to keep the US out of the conflict. But a little more realism should be forthcoming from the administration. If this is to be a proxy war, we should probably do more to see that our proxies win it. The worst case scenario is to have President Assad eventually triumph which would strengthen Russia, Iran, and China in the region. Anything we can do to prevent that — including expending the same amount of energy in supporting the rebels that the Russians are using to prop up Assad — would be a welcome change in policy.

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  • Larry

    First Rule of a civil war in another country: It's their civil war, let them have it.

    Second Rule of a civil war in another country: See First Rule

  • Terry

    I know I should be upset about the innocent lives being lost, etc, etc, but the arabs have roasted themselves on the spit of antisemitism and genocide for so long now that I really don't care. Let's see who is left standing in Syria and deal with them. They'll be no different from the chinless one, just new faces carrying out the same atrocities.

    Why do they deserve western intervention? Has Libya suddenly become a fount of demmocracy, tolerance and rule of law since NATO wasted lots of money helping rebels whose identity they still aren't sure of!! Same story in Syria. The arabs will never change. They were handed democracy on a plate in Iraq and still they murder each other there.

    Could be an islamic problem. What was that stuff about the religion of peace?

  • melvin polatnick

    Freedom to a true Muslim means an open path to the Mosque. There shall be no leader but Allah; the will of the people will be expressed by Sharia Law. Satanic rulers must be removed; Islamic anarchy will become the holy order.

  • ★FALCON★

    I have to admit – I'm surprised Annan resigned before the entire region was engulfed in flames. This does spoil his track record of causing mass starvation, genocide and famine. Someone must have threatened to take away his 72 male virgins.

  • cheese_burger

    According to Google, Syria is 80-90% Muslim. Therefore, all good Infidels should do everything in their power to prolong the Muslim-against-Muslim genocide. Infidel nations should feed both side equally with heaping helpings of armaments, rage and hatred against their fellow Muslims.

    As long as Muslims are busy killing each other, they will have less time and energy to kill actual human beings.

  • flowerknife_us

    Both sides seem inclined to murder each other indiscriminately. We watch yet another season of the Family Feud. The Battle of the Clans. Watch the sponsors twist and turn in their efforts to pick a winner from born losers.

  • Amused

    Um…Lets see ….did anyone EVER think Assad would step down ? Has ANYONE , ever stepped down? The Sudanese Regime is STILL murdering . Kofi Annan thought ghe UN would initiate some sort of military action by now [ OF COURSE COMPRISED MAINLY OF THE US ] but that didn't happen , so it's rendered both Anan AND the UN – what else is new .
    The US SHOULD stay out of this period . But wait ? Who are the Rebels ? Do we know /Should we know …and what if they are the bad guys , and WORSE , what if the bad guys start supplying the rebels …….no one 's got acrystal ball here .But Wait ..the bad guy countries are supporting Assad …
    What to do ….what to do ? EASY ! NOTHING ..1st Poster got it right ..

    BUT ……we're not gonna do that , we're gonna have another Right/Left shiitflinging contest . No one's ever gonna know what a rebel victory will bring , but one thing is for sure ….if they're calling for Sharia now , what result can possibly be expected ?

  • Horace

    Rick Moran's article has a strong lean towards helping the Jihadis throw out the secular Assad. What is he going to say when the Euroweenies and Obama, and our alternative left – Mc Cain and Lindsay Graham's support of these Islamist maniacs brings on an even worse dictatorship? Sharia happens?I guess he is happy with Libya's al Quaida gang and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as governments.
    Wake up Rick

    • ziontruth

      RIckNO always suffered from the disease known as Allahpundititis—being too moderate for a professing conservative's well-being, the auto-immune syndrome of cutting the other side (the Left and the Muslims) too much slack, thinking they're honorable, rational people just like his side, you get the gist.

      It's sad to watch right-wingers succumb to this disease while the Marxist/Islamic unholy alliance is full of evil conviction and the zeal to carry it out.

  • amused

    Oh dont worry about Moran . If Obama is dumb enough to get militarily involved ,Moran will make a 180 .

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Assad step down and walk to a gallows if not torn to pieces by the crowd, yes and all of your clan
    ready for mass graves. Assad has no where to go and as he represents his clan, it is no simple
    thing to change leadership, it is like "just say no"………….right, the American media is out to lunch
    with reporting on this blood bath, the strongest always rules in Islamist lands and all others must
    submit or die. Islam has one modus and Syria is a mycrocosm of what the world will look like
    as Sharia grows in presently less occupied Nations, watch Syria, the future model for Europe.

    • mlcblog

      Thank you for breaking it down. I just cannot follow all the news all the time…

  • Drakken

    The more these islamaniacs slaughter each other the better it is for us in the West, if these idiots who are for intervention want to stop it so bad let them go there and get a healthy dose of reality, they won't be missed.

  • Silverfinger

    The only thing I want, any sane person should want, is how to ensure that this "war" will last for a decade. Men, women, children, I have no compassion; the more muslims, the more that get killed, all the better.

    The tragedy will be the end to the Christian communites, unless the West can arrange their exit and let the muslims go at it for as long as possible.

    The objective should be to contain them, and all the Palestinians to get in there and get killed. If any WMDs are found to be shipped out of this pot, those vehicles are bombed asap. If the weapons are triggered, only muslims will get killed so that is still a plus.