"...“There’s no hard evidence [Ambassador Soderberg] can point to, no hard data—no polling data, no other kind of evidence—that the Syrian opposition commands the support of a majority of Syrians. There is objective data—polling data and other evidence—that the Assad government retains the support of significant parts of Syrian society. There is no reason to believe, other than wishful thinking, that [Assad’s] downfall is inevitable. In fact, I think he’s winning this struggle.” Amplifying his analysis of Assad’s popular base, Flynt explains, “[Assad] is still seen as the best choice available—the best plausible choice available—by very significant parts of Syrian society. And people who support U.S. intervention in this conflict just blow past that reality.” In an exchange with Soderberg, Flynt notes that it’s not just Alawis and Christians who are “nervous” about what the Assad government’s disappearance would mean for them: “Sunnis who don’t want to live under al-Qa’ida are nervous, too.” Picking up on this last point, Flynt reviews the historically demonstrated risks of U.S. support to violent jihadi extremists: “We do this time and time again. We work with the Saudis and others to fund jihadi groups, which then turn back and bite us. We did it in Afghanistan and got al-Qa’ida and the Taliban as a result. We did it in Libya and got a dead ambassador, three other murdered official Americans as a result. And we’re doing it on a bigger scale here [in Syria]. When are we going to learn?” As to whether it’s possible for the United States to pursue an “all-of-the-above” strategy, in which it simultaneously “saves the Syrian people while also striking a blow against the Iranians,” Flynt says, “Strategy is always about choice. This administration is pursuing a certain set of objectives, as I described, which has led it to support this opposition, led other U.S. partners to support this opposition. The result is tens of thousands of dead Syrians..."
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
"Assad is still seen as the best plausible choice available by very significant parts of Syrian society"
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 8:42 PM