The press conference held by President Obama to draw the Red Line against the Assad regime with threats of using the US military may have been prompted by certain knowledge that we, the public, can never be privy to.
It’s possible that Assad has threatened his neighbors the way Saddam, another Ba’athist, did some 22 years ago. In the press conference, the President did say that the US considers it a threat if Assad “moved or used” the chemical arsenal he possesses. The Israeli Government started distributing gas masks to all their citizens some 2 weeks ago.
I am not certain overt US threats by a President who shrinks from using any military action is much of a deterrent to a savage like Assad willing to kill, destroy, and rule over ruins rather than recoup his losses and exit the scene; especially if our President waited 2 weeks to issue his warning (This is assumptive on equipping Israelis with gas masks because of a legitimate threat).Â Assad has no concept of what accountability means. But one can certainly make him aware of certain outcomes that would spin him on his head and even weaken him.
Any threats by Assad must be met with public threats to carpet bomb the Sahel region and turn it into medieval rubble. The Sahel is home to the Alawite minorities of Syria and such threats will certainly stir action against Assad and the criminals still ruling Syria. It is also the Alawite last bastion and any threats to their survival will have a profound effect on Assad‘s rule. The world needs the Alawites with common sense to know we will stand by them if they stand against Assad and unfortunately, there is no better way to do it than to threaten their existence. The strong Alawites control with violence and the weak ones are afraid to confront the strong unless we give them the incentive to do so.
The argument used that Arabs or Iranians will rally around their leaders when threatened by an outsider is hogwash. The Alawites will rally behind the one who can save them from a certain bleak destiny and at this moment they only see Assad. Our job is to provide them with an alternative and more secure hope.
Such threats may also be interpreted as threats against Russia because of their base in Tartous, but the wording can be clever enough to take Russia out of the equation.
Diplomacy is dysfunctional in Syria today whether you are a regime criminal or a freedom fighter. Only the smell of powder has an effect over their brain waves. With that in mind, use it more effectively to get your point across.