Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"All their foreign policies are best served by somebody who is in Damascus, does the job & maintains stability, and right now, that’s Assad!"

"... Some are drawing a comparison with Libya, where the opposition movement, the Transitional National Council (TNC), gelled within a month of the uprising. But Syria's situation is unique, experts caution...

And while Libya's TNC was able to form a coalition in a matter of weeks, the dynamics in Syria don't allow for such haste. But experts say the lack of a clear, coherent opposition movement is only part of why the US administration is holding back from stronger intervention in Syria.
"Even if [the opposition] were really united and had an organizational structure, I don't think Washington would do more than what it is doing now," said Bilal Saab, a visiting fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. "As far as rhetoric, the US has reached the ceiling by saying Assad should step down."
"The US position is about as good as it's going to get, given the limitations on the US," said Aaron David Miller, Middle East analyst, author and negotiator. "We've done as much as we can do with respect to the Syrians... and we're over-extended as it is," he added, alluding to military in engagement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. 
One thing the US could do to help the Syrian opposition without overt military involvement is supplying them with arms. But there are some reservations. "Weapons exacerbate an arc and drift toward civil war… without the capacity to back it up. We could end up with a Hungary situation in 1956. The last thing we want to do is to encourage unarmed domestic opposition and then not be there for them. Assad could easily use that to his advantage," said Miller... 

One thing holding the US back from further involvement is the start of election season in America. "The US has now entered election mode; everything happens with that in mind,” said Salhani. “A possible intervention in Syria… could affect the president's chances of re-election. I think it would bring his ratings to an all-time low.” ... Given that the US is powerless to do much with regard to Syria, all hopes for stronger action against Assad seem to rest on Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, has condemned the regime, and has been relatively magnanimous in accepting refugees. But in line with its “zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey prefers to play the role of mediator in the region over instigator, noted Miller. 
"All their foreign policies are best served by somebody who is in Damascus who can do the job and maintain stability, and right now, that’s Assad," said Saab..."

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