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Bad or worse in Syria

Bad or worse in Syria

By most accounts, Hezbollah’s large-scale intervention combined with unending supplies of weapons and advisors from Iran and Russia have helped Assad turn the tide against the rebels.

Until that intervention, and even in the initial weeks, it looked like the rebels would hold on in Qusayr after inflicting heavy casualties, but as of this writing the situation seems dire.  The rebels are stronger in other parts of the country, but clearly the sense is that something has changed.

It might be slightly premature to say the hope of replacing Assad is lost, but things are heading in that direction in key parts of the country:

But if blame must be placed, Michael Young of the Daily Star of Lebanon sees a combination of rebel in-fighting and Obama/Western dithering as the culprits, The slow suicide of Syria’s opposition:

We are near the stage where the Syrian opposition, thanks to an effective campaign by the Syrian regime and its allies, but also a pervasive lack of unity or direction, may lose much of the support it needs to defeat President Bashar  Assad’s regime….

Russia and the United States are going to Geneva [peace talks] with very  different agendas, none of which favors Assad’s adversaries. For the Obama  administration, Geneva provides an opportunity to begin a political process  permitting America to evade a larger role in Syria. President Barack Obama  had feared being pushed  into such a role after reports came out that the Syrian regime used chemical  weapons against the rebels, crossing Obama’s red lines for American  intervention. The president sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow and the  accord over a conference bought Obama time to stay clear of Syria.

In other words, the Obama administration is going to Geneva largely to avoid  Syria….

Russia, with a far clearer sense of what it wants in Syria, has another aim  in Geneva: to consolidate Assad rule and put in motion a negotiating process  that, at least temporarily, curbs the violence and divides the opposition. By  helping Assad mount a successful offensive in the area around Qusair and reverse rebel gains near Damascus, the Russians have reinforced the Syrian president’s  position, making it highly improbable that Geneva will seriously broach the  matter of Assad’s departure from power.

The rebels seem to sense that Geneva will be a sell-out to Assad backed by the West, and are using the siege of Qusayr as a reason not to attend, for now (via Al-Jazeera):

Syria’s opposition will not participate in proposed international peace talks in Geneva next month, its leader has said.

George Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), on Thursday said the opposition was suspending their participation until the international community intervened to end the siege in Qusayr, a town in Homs province near the Lebanese border.

“The National Coalition will not take part in any international conference or any such efforts so long as the militias of Iran and Hezbollah continue their invasion of Syria,” Sabra told reporters in Istanbul.

Young also points out that Western dithering helped create an opening for al-Qaeda groups:

The Syrian opposition cannot be blamed for the shameful American performance  in Syria, but it can be blamed for failing to consider possible post-Geneva  outcomes. Nor has it adequately addressed the very real doubts that have emerged  over the participation in the Syrian uprising of the Nusra Front, an affiliate  of Al-Qaeda. The fact is that there are profound doubts that the opposition can  fill the vacuum in Syria if Assad goes, which can only favor jihadist  groups.

No one in the West, particularly the U.S., much cares that it was Western  indecision over Syria that created an opening for the militant Islamists.

All-in-all, a combination of factors likely have resulted in no good outcomes.  Either Assad hangs on and is emboldened by a tight alliance with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, or the rebels win with a likely Islamist presence at least to some extent.

Unless something changes, it’s bad or worse in Syria.


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Time was the Assads used Hezbollah because it served their needs, soon it Assad serving Hezbollah.

Heck of a job Baraky.

    Fluffy Foo Foo in reply to Ragspierre. | May 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

    The Lebanese claim about the kidnappers and McCain may just be Hezbollah/Assad propaganda. If you go online and watch all their Youtube stuff you’ll soon realizes they’re pretty savvy when it is come to falsely portraying photos and video.

      Ragspierre in reply to Fluffy Foo Foo. | May 30, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Oh, I’m not making any assumptions about the “white hats and the black hats”.

      Which, I assert, distinguishes me from McAnus.

      I have a distinct aversion to being a “useful idiot” for anybody. I submit McAnus is less discriminating.

Uncle Samuel | May 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

Drudge reports:

1. McCain got himself photographed with a genuine Islamist kidnapper while he made his pilgrimage to affirm his dhimmitude.

2. DRUDGE_REPORT Latest issue of al Qaeda magazine celebrates Boston bombings…

3. ‘Syrian’ ‘Rebels’ (not really Syrian, but Islamists from every nation on earth, not really rebels, just run-of-the-mill Islamic Supremacists) have pledged their loyalty to Al Queda (as have the ‘rebels’ who took out Ghaddafi.)

4. The Al Queda flag has flown immediately after every ‘Arab Spring’ coup and there is no peace and justice anywhere this ‘transition to Islamocracy’ has taken place.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | May 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

    5. In Syria as in the other Arab Spring uprisings, the ‘rebels’ are wiping out whole villages of Christians and burning, looting, raping (typical Islamist behaviors) to their hearts content.
    Mullahs are even importing women for the relief of the battle inflamed Islamic rebels…to be used as tranquilizers to come down from bloodshed to rape, perhaps so they can sleep.

    Drugs are also used to fuel the fighters for their killing work –

The various rebel factions are operating in a unique situation. There is no exile possible for Assad, he and his leadership cadre are Alawite, a minority sect in Syria which is considered infidel by every other islamic sect. Since they seized power in the ’70s, they have ruled with a brutal, bloody fist – Assad’s father once had over 10,000 people murdered in a single town for daring to protest the treatment of islamic fundamentalists.

The Syrian government and military leadership know that to lose is a death sentence, and it won’t be quick and easy, either. They have no incentive to do anything but fight on until the rebellion is suppressed or they die trying.

BannedbytheGuardian | May 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm

If the ‘rebels’ can flee back into Turkey & use Turkish border protections then it is fair that Hizbollah can enter Syria & defend areas & slip back into Lebanon.

There has been an upsurge of camera crews in Lebanon recently but looks quite calm.

I still wonder what the situation really is in Syria . It reminds me of the UN building mass refugee camps in 2003 but the Iraquis never came. They preferred to go to Syria.

We got a lot wrong there .