Monday, May 13, 2013

Trying to Figure Out Syria: An Interview

Here's a program on the Canadian Broadcasting Company interviewing me about Syria and the extremely complicated situations and very difficult options facing intervention into that civil war.

But I should add that this debate is largely academic. The United States and Europe aren't going to intervene in Syria, at least not to do more than send more weapons, spend more on refugees, and dispatch humanitarian aid.

There is no will to do so, too much can go wrong, and the Obama Administration isn't going to risk having its own equivalent of the Iraqi intervention. It wants to keep a priority on domestic issues and knows the public doesn't want another war-type situation. The last three (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) are still quite controversial.

Moreover, a good excuse is offered because Russia and China would veto large-scale intervention in the UN Security Council.

Incidentally, it should be kept in mind that the rebels are very far from being defeated. They control the countryside in eastern Syria and a large part of Aleppo and other places. The government is holding onto the west--especially the northwestern section where the ruling Alawites live--and most of Damascus.

The infusion of Hizballah forces--less than 5,000 compared to around 50,000 worse-organized rebels--has scarcely turned the tide but merely allowed the government forces to hold onto the Damascus-Lebanon border-northwestern corridor.

So whether or not it is a good idea to do far more to defeat the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship there is no chance of that happening.

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