September 20, 2009

Is the U.S. About to Dump Syria?

Hussain Abdul-Hussain reports in Kuwait

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 20, 2009 6:48 PM
Comments
"No war without Egypt, no peace without Syria,
Posted by: leo at September 20, 2009 8:41 pm
Henry Kissinger
Posted by: Schmedlap at September 20, 2009 8:58 pm
Leo,
I agree that all countries that Syria is causing trouble in to confrony Assad the son. The problem is Israel prefers to have the Assad whom they know than someone whom they don't know. Another issue is the mistake that Bush the son did in invading Iraq causing a lot of people to hesitate to confront Assad. Most of the world is busy with Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran right now and will take sometime before the world will start focusing on Syria. In addition, Syrians should be the ones who should demand change first!
Posted by: GK at September 21, 2009 4:04 am
"The problem is Israel prefers to have the Assad whom they know than someone whom they don't know."
Yes, I heard this argument before and I believe this is a mistake. What ever is feared to come after Assad when Sunnis will decide to push off Alawis will come anyway. When Israelis will stop fearing that Assad will begin.
"Another issue is the mistake that Bush the son did in invading Iraq causing a lot of people to hesitate to confront Assad. Most of the world is busy with Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran right now and will take sometime before the world will start focusing on Syria."
Israelis are not busy with Afghanistan, Iraq and probably not that busy with Iran either. Besides, tough talk is all that is needed some time. Assad is very smart man.
"In addition, Syrians should be the ones who should demand change first!"
I do not think "first" or "last" applies here.
We have different interests and I do not think either of us needs to wait when another one decides to act.
Posted by: leo at September 21, 2009 6:08 am
Well, why should the Assads do anything different? Will someone invade Syria to oust them? No. Will the West assassinate Assad? No, Western leaders are too scared ("high-minded") to do that.
Economic incentives don't work. Five or six slobs run the average dictatorship. They need only about thirty bodyguards/armed forces leaders (usually family or tribe) and another twenty or so followers (top diplomats and civil servants) to establish effective terror control of a state.
That's all the people they need to care about, and everybody else can pretty much go to hell. Decades of economic sanctions failed to drive North Korea to the negotiating table. The U.S. ban of exports of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey had a greater effect. Has the U.S. banned the export of luxury goods to Syria? What would happen if the U.S. kicked Assad's relatives out of the country? If the Assad clan was made persona non grata in Western states entirely?
Posted by: Solomon2 at September 21, 2009 7:24 am
Saw this over at "Iraq The Model"
Thirty Mahdi Army commanders assasinated in Damascus
Unknown gunmen assassinated 30 Mahdi Army commanders in the Syrian capital Damascus. The killings, made in the past few weeks, were all made "quietly, inside the victims apartments", said an unnamed source in the Sadr movement. The source added that among those assassinated was Laith al-Ka'bi, who commanded the Mahdi Army in the Palestine Street neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. The report adds that large numbers of Mahdi Army operatives left to Iran out of fear the assassinations wave could expand to target them.

The article quotes a Saudi source.
I wonder who would be doing that.
Posted by: crosspatch at September 21, 2009 10:30 pm
"I wonder who would be doing that."
Syria is very tight dictatorship.
One assassination, two, maybe three, but thirty?
Grand scale operation like this is impossible without Assad's blessing.
I believe questions should be who's paying for this and how.
Americans and Israelis are not affected by Mahdi Army operations. I see no reason for them to get involved. Besides MA is serious counter weight for AQ.
I think it is Sunni related group with powerful backing. Most likely by Al Qaeda and/or Saudis.
Posted by: leo at September 24, 2009 6:47 pm
crosspatch,
If there is one thing that I learned while in the Mideast, it is that the numbers in any report should be divided by ten. Using that guideline, 3 commanders were assassinated. I also learned that the importance of people are often exaggerated, so those 3 "commanders" could very well have been fresh recruits. I also learned that words like "assassinated" often meant something else, such as "went home" or "got arrested."
I guess what I'm saying is, that's a weird report. And the fact that it came from the mideast makes it suspect.
Posted by: Schmedlap at September 24, 2009 9:23 pm
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