Like this; from the New York Times:
With evidence that powerful new weapons are flowing to both the Syrian government and opposition fighters, the bloody uprising in Syria has thrust the Obama administration into an increasingly difficult position as the conflict shows signs of mutating into a full-fledged civil war.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday that the United States believed that Russia was shipping attack helicopters to Syria that President Bashar al-Assad could use to escalate his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. Her comments reflected rising frustration with Russia, which has continued to supply weapons to its major Middle Eastern ally despite an international outcry over the government’s brutal crackdown…
Meanwhile, the report goes on to note that the rebels are being armed by the Turks with assistance from other Muslim powers. Here’s what is actually going on:
No one outside of the precincts of the West gives a hoot about the sufferings of the Syrian people. We here in the United States are disgusted with the mayhem and slaughter but people who are not like us don’t care – they only look at the mayhem and slaughter and think, “can I gain any advantage out of it?”. No amount of moralizing by Obama and Clinton or anyone in the West will make the least impression upon the Turks, Russians, Iranian, Saudis or anyone else who is so far involved in the war in Syria. In fact, they’ll probably view such statements as a sign of weakness – figuring that if we really had a pair we’d intervene so we can grab what advantage we want out of the situation. Holding back and lecturing all concerned is, in the view of such people, the act of cowards.
Russia and Iran want to maintain their Syrian ally. Iran because it allows Iran to keep up pressure in Israel while also allowing Iran to project power in to the center of the middle east. Russia because Syria is on Turkey’s southern flank and puts the Turks between two fires if any Russo-Turkish conflict arises…plus it sticks a finger in our eye and Putin (utter fool that he is) thinks that Russia’s proper role is to oppose the United States (the truth is that Russia can only survive in alliance with the United States, but Putin is just too blinded by his Great Russian nationalism to see this). In service of this goal the Iranians have shipped thugs to Syria for the purpose of massacring Syrians who oppose the Assad regime (probably the very same thugs the Iranians use to massacre Iranians who oppose the Mullah’s regime in Teheran…so, they’re likely experienced killers who no how to choke off a rebellion). Russia won’t send troops but is clearly sending arms – and in spite of bland words to the contrary, is sending arms which are useful in fighting the increasingly competent Syrian rebels.
Turkey would love to turn Syria in to a satellite State – the Turks, after all, were the imperial overlords of Syria for more than four centuries and while we here in the United States might not know it, the Turks understand that controlling Damascus is just as important as controlling Baghdad if you want to dominate the middle east (this is why Iran continues to press their power in Iraq along with trying to sustain their ally in Syria). The Turks also have a very long history of enmity with the Russians (there have been, I think, 9 Russo-Turkish wars over the centuries) and so would love to reduce Russian influence in the area. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other States in the area have a vested interest in curbing Iranian influence – and taking out Iran’s key ally in Damascus is worth a lot in Saudi eyes.
Our problem is that we have as President and Secretary of State two people who appear to have zero knowledge of how the world works. Obama and Clinton seem to think that there is, somewhere, a genuine desire in Syria and in the other players to end the bloodshed. There isn’t. There is a desire to win. Assad wants to win. The rebels want to win. Iran wants to win. Russia wants to win. Turkey wants to win. Saudi Arabia wants to win. All of them won’t win, of course – but they are all fighting for victory as they see it. We, under Obama and Clinton, don’t want to win – we don’t even know what we want other than an end to the violence; an admirable desire, but violence can be ended in good or bad ways. Obama and Clinton are ensuring that when the violence ends there is sure to be one nation which won’t have won: the United States.
Proper American policy in this matter is not to get involved in Syria – we have no dog in that hunt, unless we could grab Damascus and keep it. That would involve a major military offensive too fraught with risks right now to be envisioned. So, nothing to do in Syria – but we do have a strong interest in completely ending Syria’s (and, thus, Iran’s) role in Lebanon. Syria’s armed forces are, naturally, being concentrated on the rebels. I’ll bet their forces in Lebanon are thin on the ground: the opportunity is for us eject them completely – ending Syrian domination and at the same time vastly undercutting the ability of the Iran-backed terrorist groups to operate there. It is a certainty that Lebanon’s Christian population wouldn’t be adverse to a change in Lebanon’s status – certainly in the southern regions of the country, which we are most concerned about as it borders Israel. A bit of thought and effort and some coordination with Israel and the thing could be done…by the time Syria is able to respond, it would be too late.
Will we do this? Not a chance – Obama doesn’t even see it. I doubt that anyone in his Administration does. So, we’ll get more liberal hand-wringing while the Russian and Iranians battle it out with the Turks and Saudis and the winner of that not only gets Syria, but Lebanon thrown in to the bargain. Just monumental stupidity brought about by rank ignorance on the part of our leadership.