Friday, October 28, 2011

US Official overruling Ford: "We need to make it clear to those sitting on the fence [in Syria] that they are in risk of violence"

 'Written off yet again, and again & again .....'
MEPGS; Excerpts;
"With the demise of Muammar Qaddafy and the decision to withdraw all US troops from Iraq, direct US involvement in ongoing confrontations in the region is coming to an end.  In fact, senior Administration officials now see the American role overall becoming less important.  “For some time it has been obvious that what is happening in the Middle East is mainly a function of the people there,” says one top Administration official.  “Now they are in it for the long haul”.  That is not to say the Administration merely plans to stand on the sidelines.  In fact, starting with Syria, US policy is in flux as the Administration scrambles to keep up with and to some extent influence the situation on the ground.
            US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, ...(has)  a great deal of leeway in fashioning day-to-day Administration policy towards Syria.  Now that he is back in Washington for an indefinite period, other, more senior officials are beginning to chip away at his preeminence. Specifically, Ford’s argument that the Administration should continue to urge regime opponents to remain completely non-violent is now being reviewed.  “We need to make it clear to those sitting on the fence [in Syria] that they are in risk of violence being turned against them, the longer they remain committed to Bashar [al-Assad], says one top US official.  They need to learn that there is an aura of inevitablility to the demise of Assad and his regime puts them at risk..... We need to turn that perception around,” says one key US policymaker.  “They need to know that it is the continuation of the regime that puts them most at risk.”  ....... the consensus among US policy makers is that the regime will hold on for perhaps six  months (added to the last Six Months & the earlier 'six months' & the ones before ....).  When asked how much longer Bashar can cling to power, a top Administration official replied, “A year, at most. Unless, his own allies take him out.”
     Already, Turkey has made a major shift in its position toward the Syrian regime.  Not only has Ankara allowed the opposition’s “Syrian National Council” to headquarter in  Turkey, but just this week it has admitted to providing sanctuary for the newly formed “Free Syrian Army”.  President Obama and Turkish leader Erdogan have been in regular direct communication.  And according to well-placed US officials, they are, in the words of one “reading from the same page.”  While Syria has had ample experience in treading carefully when dealing with its powerful neighbor to the north, most analysts believe that no one country, not even Turkey can engineer the ouster of the current Syrian regime.  Instead, argue these analysts, concerted international pressure is essential....
            More pleasing to the NATO allies was the Security Council’s declaration of an official end to authorization of the use of force against Libya.  With the Transitional National Council in power and pledged to hold free and fair elections within eight months, Britain and France in particular are, in the words of one veteran US official, “happy to take a victory lap.”  Some veteran State Department officials are not so quick to declare “Mission Accomplished.”  Not only have decades of misrule by Qaddafy left the country devoid of functioning institutions and split east and west, but some key rebel figures have a checkered past.  For example, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who led the drive into Tripoli and took control of Qaddafy’s compound, was reportedly captured several years ago by US agents and then “rendered” to Tripoli where he was supposedly “rehabilitated.”  Those in the US government who follow Libyan developments most closely say the Islamists are nearly a complete unknown.  They are unsure whether Qadaffy loyalists still remain at large and are especially concerned that former regime fighters will return to African countries such as Niger and Chad, where they were recruited by Qaddafy, causing the destabilization of these fragile states...."

No comments: