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The Deal: In order to remove the threat of Bashar Assad, we have to save Bashar Assad

The Deal: In order to remove the threat of Bashar Assad, we have to save Bashar Assad

Mandy covered this morning the outline of the “principles” agreed upon by the U.S. and Russia for Syria to end its possession of chemical weapons.

The deal, announced as we were waking this morning, is being spun a variety of ways.  It holds the promise of removing chemical weapons from someone who is willing to use them, but that promise is of questionable value and enforceability.

Chemical weapons were a problem, but not the only problem.

Our prior policy was that Assad must go because he was a viciously brutal thug who was all too happy to turn his country over to Iran and Hezbollah backed by Russian arms if that’s what it took to stay in power.  That thug, by the way, has the blood of hundreds of American soldiers on his hands as he turned Syria into the primary conduit for fighters heading to Iraq.

What started as a civil uprising turned into a civil war because keeping Assad in power no matter what is the singular goal of Iran, Hezbollah and Russia.  The radicalization of the uprising was in large part due to our own dithering, a point Nicholas Kristof makes clearly (for once, he and I agree on something):

I’ve seen that video of a rebel eating a prisoner’s heart. It’s not just Syria’s rulers who are monsters, but also the opposition.

That seems to be a false equivalency. Sure, some of the rebels are vile, but human rights monitors find far more atrocities committed by government forces.

Likewise, Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias have gained strength because they receive funding and weapons from Gulf countries, while, until recently, we provided no arms to moderate rebels.

Everything was secondary to that goal of keeping Assad in power, and that goal is advanced by the Kerry-Lavrov deal.  This is not a deal Assad wants or wanted, but it is the deal his primary arms supplier Putin knew had to happen.

Not because of the threat of U.S. bombing, but because the large-scale use of chemical weapons was too much even for the Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah to stomach.  While there have been Iranian and Hezbollah threats to light up the region, they have been awfully quiet when it comes to defending Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

With the U.N. report coming out as soon as Monday, and with the Russians knowing how damaging it will be to Assad (even though technically the U.N. mandate was not to assess blame), the Russians struck a deal which renders the U.N. report all but moot.

The deal makes the Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah primary goal of keeping Assad in power so much more likely.  Transitioning Assad out of power is not one of the principles.

We now become partners with Assad in what will be a multi-month, and likely multi-year, project which may or may not actually end with the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal.  All the while, Russia continues to ship more conventional weapons, Iran ships more “advisors,” and Hezbollah ships more foot soldiers.  While we dither, because a successful uprising poses a threat to the deal working.

To make this deal work, in order to remove the threat of Bashar Assad, we have to save Bashar Assad.

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Comments

Well, it is Amateur Hour in Washington since Jan 2009. Nothing new to see here. One of the perennial problems the US has foreign policy wise is when the decision is made to topple a foreign government no one has given even a seconds thought about who or what will be the new government. Most if not all the time that brand new US supported government makes the recently deposed government look like a bunch of choir boys.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to OldNuc. | September 15, 2013 at 12:43 am

    I got a call.

    Guess where I will be next year .

    Kabul.

    How did you know ?

    I followed the last afghan war. Kabul s the last refuge.

    Ok it is what the Americans are saying but nothing is in place.

    Dear people 2014 is just months away . Please finish one war before starting another. Afghanistan is slipping away .

I would agree with the Amateur Hour analogy, except that it’s been almost 6 years of this fool now.

It would be laughable, if the damage he has done to our worldwide credibility wasn’t so deep. He has pissed off our allies, made footsie with our foes, and can’t even keep his own rhetoric in line in the same speech.

I called Clinton (The President, not the SOS) a waffle when he was in office, but this guy makes Clinton look like a gridiron griddler.

Elections have consequences. We’ll be paying the price for “hope and change” for decades.

    Doug Wright in reply to Sanddog. | September 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Exactly! We’re also paying the price for not having strong GOP candidates run for national office. Plus, those supposedly strong local GOP candidates for office turn out to be either straw men or RINOs in fact.

    Until Constitutional conservatives take charge of the GOP, we are doomed to have many more years of Hopey Changey Socialists running the USA right into the ground or into the basement of history.

    The elections in 2014 and especially in 2016 are key to a continued existence of this US of A! It is not yet too late but it is late!

legacyrepublican | September 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm

My problem is this. I perceived the whole Syria thing in the beginning as a ploy or distraction that would allow Obama to push through another continuing resolution, fund Obamacare, and trick us once again.

As much as I hate what is happening in Syria, we have to turn our attention to our domestic house and get it in order.

I am not saying foreign policy isn’t important. But, this spineless coward in chief hasn’t got what it takes to prosecute a war in Syria.

The only thing he is good at on the international stage is sticking his head between his legs, kissing his you know what, and running like hell from confrontation.

Boots on the ground cannot repair the Russian boot up his a**.

The only way we can save or protect Israel at this point is to get real at home and clean up and clear out his liberal mess.

Defund Obamacare and save the middle east!

Bill Maher owns the best lines. “Don’t get out of your chair, we’re only going to bomb you a little bit.”

Given that Assad IS the ruler of Syria. And, his family is the ruling family … going after him is on par with going after Queen Elizabeth, because England doesn’t need a monarchy. (Not that we didn’t fight fiercely for our Independence. It was full of risks. We can’t demand other countries do it “like we did.”)

WE’VE destabilized the Mideast! Not too hard to understand. The Bush Family was in very tight with the saud’s. And, the saud’s using names like “Al-Kay-Duh,” and “sunni” … and giving you some crazy idea that the Kuwaitis weren’t related) … Have been pulling our military strings for a long, long time.

We must have business cards printed … so the saud’s call us whenever they see a piece of real estate they want. They don’t always get it. But we’re their realtors.

Except the truth is coming home.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 15, 2013 at 12:26 am

Hands up anyone with first level family members in the armed forces.

I don’t care how many sand people are getting done in via any method. We have done our best & have only Egypt & Libya to show for it. ( where there is now anarchy & militias.& martial rule ) .

Diplomacy never did much & I don’t care how they rearrange the tents . Just keep us out of there & their refugees in there.

It is about time every peoples in the world started solving their own problems.

Those pigs breed like rabbits – a 100,000 gone today is 200,000 mor e in 9 months. Problem número uno IMO.

Get America out. Let Allah sort it out.

Not because of the threat of U.S. bombing, but because the large-scale use of chemical weapons was too much even for the Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah to stomach.

I can’t let you get away with that one. Those three have no qualms about using any kind of weapon, and have no current threat of being on the receiving end.

The reason was to call Barry’s bluff. Gigolo Kerry handed it to them on a silver platter, and Putin ran with it. He’s stripped Obama naked in front of the whole world, has him hog tied in a trap of his own making, and has a good laugh as our MSM praises their brilliant president. And it didn’t cost one measly bullet.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to JerryB. | September 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

    “I can’t let you get away with that one. Those three have no qualms about using any kind of weapon, and have no current threat of being on the receiving end.”

    It may be useful to recall that it was Communist Vietnam that ended the Cambodian holocaust, not the West – which was content to wring its hands and run TV specials about the safely-over Nazi Holocaust. Even our enemies are not always, and in every way, lost to virtue.

      No comparison. No virtue. Pol Pot took on Vietnam and lost. Both were surrogates, Pol Pot for China, Vietnam for the Soviets, the two most murderous regimes in all history.

      Syria’s not there yet, but our buffoon of a CiC may yet destabilize the whole region. In the meantime, yes, the Soviets have more to gain from stability. Assad is protecting the Soviet pipeline to Europe from Saudi/Qatari competition. A few chemical weapons is just the cost of insurance. No virtue.

Why do we care if Assad is a brutal thug. Unless and until he actually takes aggressive action against the U.S. or U.S. allies, it’s not our problem. It’s not like removing Assad is going to put something nice into power.

What we need to do is maintain our military strength, readiness and ability to quickly and forcefully wipe out someone who does threaten or harm us. (That includes taking better care of our soldiers.) There was a better president somewhere who said something like speak softly and carry a big stick.

Nobody said it would be easy.

Our dilemma is the need to punish Assad in a meaningful way for using the chemical weapons so openly. Saddam at least had the sense to use them in rural areas in war zones where independent observers would have no access for years, so we “knew” he had used them in the Iran war and against Kurdish civilians, but had no way to prove it and hence no need to punish him until we ousted him for cumulative offenses.

Doing nothing sends a warm, wet kissy-face to the next despot or terrorist who gets a stash of WMDs.

In the Middle East, face means a lot. We could hit Assad’s personal palaces and his military headquarters as punishment. It would hurt him, but not depose him, but a big loss of face. If he’s signed the chemical weapons treaty, he has to disclose/destroy/inspect anyway, our strikes would be punishment for past use.

Obama doesn’t need Congress to do that. He’s had the fleet on high alert for weeks now, people can’t do that physically, mentally, or emotionally. Poop or clear the stall, dude!

As it is, AceOfSpades had a Twitter sensation earlier with “Obama: I can see Russia from my knees”

I guess I’m puzzled that one would chose the radical Islamic rebels over Assad. Still seems like that is choosing the greater of two evils.

Everywhere this administration has encouraged, supported and enabled overthrow of the current leader, a more radical government has taken their place. Obama’s policies and agenda have essentially tried to clear a pathway for radical Islam, that’s what the Muslim Brotherhood is about, which is why Egypt had them outlawed for decades.

Neither is Kristof someone I find credible regardless what he writes. BTW, wonder what Kristof’s answer would be to what Amb Stevens was doing in Benghazi…

“That seems to be a false equivalency. Sure, some of the rebels are vile, but human rights monitors find far more atrocities committed by government forces.

Likewise, Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias have gained strength because they receive funding and weapons from Gulf countries, while, until recently, we provided no arms to moderate rebels.”

Wherever the radical Islamists have moved in, the stories of atrocities are just that. Don’t ignore what’s happening in
Sudan, Tunisia, Africa, etc. Turkey is now under control of the intolerant Islamists, secular, Christian and Jew are all threatened.

If the US were to launch a cruise missile attack at Syria, hit all its targets with pinpoint accuracy, destroy a bunch of palaces and government buildings, not to mention 50 or 60 weapons storage facilities, and Bashar al-Assad crawls out of some pile of rubble (or a palace we carefully missed), he will do a victory lap to the cheers of the entire Middle East, and every hirabist on the planet, merely for having survived, as the US intended.

Think, folks. Syria is not Kansas.

You must admit that Obama’s foreign policy results in the Middle East have been very consistent!

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