From the start, the Obama Administration wanted a political solution for Syria in which the opposition and Assad can form a government of unity to stop the violence.
Assad bulked at the notion of a Trojan horse and every political, military or strategic maneuver in which the West helped the FSA has been towards pressuring Assad to accept accommodation with the opposition.
Assad, for his part, used his speeches and interviews since March 15, 2011 to send the signal loud and clear that he has no intention to comply.
On the opposition side, the US State Department has marginalized any leader or group that refused the very same notion of political unity.
This has been going on for some time until the Islamists started going to Hajj, or Heaven, via Damascus financed and armed by private and not-so-private parties from countries like Saudi Arabia.
The US State Department, then, hit the panic button.
A new plan to accelerate the process needed a boost. This came in the form of a re-make of the Syrian opposition the US State Department helped create, with leaders clearly more in the Assad camp than the opposition camp and more trips to Moscow by Secretary Clinton.
The holdouts remain to this day the Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded organizations supported by the Syrian people. The MB refuses to accept bedding with the butcher of Damascus, but simultaneously plays the harp when it meets with the West to keep Qatar”™s support flowing.
The Obama Administration is rewarding Assad, after all the savagery demonstrated by his terror and violence, by seeking not his removal as the President said on countless times, but rather his control through power sharing. With more Sunni control of a future Syrian Government, the Hezbollah problem becomes more manageable and Iran will get busy trying to regain what it lost.
The plan will not work, and here is my two cents on this matter.
- Even if new Syrian opposition leaders are installed or bribed to follow in the path of a political solution, those who hold the guns, inside Syria, decide the outcome.
- Even if Gulf bribes are starting to flow to some commanders on the ground, they are either fooling the West into believing they will stop fighting or they continue fighting and claim they need more money to stop their fighters (i.e. Switch and bait).
- Even if plans to bribe the commanders on the ground are successful, some elements, like Jabhat al-Nusra, will not stop fighting for any reason. Syrians already feel protected by JAN and JAN, enjoying this popularity, is not about to turn on its Muslim humanitarian principles to accommodate a Western plan from countries it does not trust.
- Even if the US somehow gains leverage over JAN using proxy countries, Obama”™s weakness has emboldened the private funders in Saudi Arabia who know well America is leaving the region between them and Iran and if Iran is still playing with fire with no consequences, damned if they do not. Support for JAN will continue unabated.
- Even if the Obama Administration is relying on Assad”™s level of violence, it refuses to control, and the above elements to force the population-at-large to accept its solution, this is where it gets tricky because I do not believe any intelligence about the population itself has been gathered except simply through what the media publishes. That is a large gap turning the logic of a political solution to look like a sieve holding water.
- Even if there are efforts underway to peg the FSA against JAN to fight each other, for the most part, fighters affiliated with the FSA are unwilling to fight a group the Syrian people see as their saviors. Could the commanders on the ground be using makeshift basements for the manufacture of blank bullets for that purpose?
The lethal mistake this administration made is in calling for “Assad must go” but doing nothing to follow-thru with any meaningful deed the Syrian people are not about to forget.
Giving blankets and tents to dislodged Syrians will not lure them, nor will any press releases by US State Department remunerating their humanitarian good deeds, something Foggy Bottom should be proud of.
Maybe some realize this mistake, but so far, those in control of policy do not.