With one foot by the Mediterranean and the other one by the Atlantic, the big ugly picture I see is truly panoramic.
The contrast between the savage use of force against Syrians in search of their own voices of freedom and the stubborn attitude of Washington waiting for a Syrian regime implosion the CIA considers a high probability makes you restive. The “What-if” scenarios playing in your head are like a broken vinyl from another high probability calculation that went awry or was missed.
Those who do the analysis do not watch videos streaming from Syria and those who watch the videos cannot manage the cold analysis. The Levant politics has always been about a Ying and Yang where people talk to each other with their backs against one another. Syrians know it too well when discussing al-Mukawama with the same breath of discussing economic equality and the Israelis know it even better when discussing their own security against a background of hate by not just their neighbors.
But what baffles the mind is the lack of will for a band-aid solution (No more Arab League observers please) in the form of humanitarian corridors supported by No-Fly and No-Go Zones.
The landscape in Syria today is a series of dotted lines of fire across its four corners. Eruptions are being recorded in the eastern small town of Bou Kamal on the Iraqi borders, in Damascus in the southwest, in Dara’a in the south, in Homs in the center, in Idlib in northwest, and in Deir El-Sour and Qamoshli in the north.
Against this difficult background, the task of a humanitarian effort becomes more complicated. But a solution, if the will exists, is not an impossibility.
Assad is surrounded by either state or clannish enemies across Syria’s five borders. He fears the borders of Lebanon via Tripoli, the borders with Jordan, the tribes in western Iraq, the Turkish heavy-footed demeanor with its long borders, and of course Israel across from the Golan, which is not expected to shift from its N gear.
Either one or several of those borders and open regions can be used to create humanitarian corridors with one No-Gone Zone (Even the use of the Golan to protect the Druze communities of Sweida). If implemented, it would create three pressure points that any Russian or Iranian counter-response would destroy totally their credibility on the stage of public opinion.
- Several corridors at once will either spread Assad thin or his armies will play contortionists by retreating to protect Damascus. The damage would shrink considerably.
- Establish a No-Go Zone in the Sahel area, location of the strongholds of the Alawite and the Christian minorities. This will have two positive effects: 1) The west would be insuring the safety of the civilian minorities from any acts of revenge and, 2) It will isolate the Alawites around Assad involved in the terror from their families in the Sahel. This will have a considerable psychological effect on both by giving the civilian minorities the opportunity to revolt.
- Provide preemptive training facilities to the Free Syrian Army as a contingency but also as a message to Assad. Why? Because we cannot let Assad think that we are waiting for him for every Chess move we make. He needs to predict our several next moves in order for him to see the high probability the CIA sees. More importantly, if the Sahel sees it, he will be abandoned by the very same people who fear him the most.
Not providing the Free Syrian Army with weapons and not providing an immediate humanitarian solution to the killing of innocent civilians is immoral. The west and the Arab League can keep this going for only so long. After that, there will be no difference between those permitting the killing and those talking but doing nothing to stop the killings.