Sunday, January 29, 2012
The "Arab Spring" began one year ago and unlike Northern Africa, its fire still burn unabated in Syria. Whereas the United States and European Union provided aircraft to help oust Qaddafi (and provided training and weapons to Egyptian rebels), both parties have remained out of Syria. Thus Bashar al-Assad has remained in power despite some of the most bloody confrontations with his own people. Thousands of Syrians have been killed by Assad forces. Bringing up the question, if the thug tactics of Qaddafi assured drones and bombers would be visiting his friendly skies, then why not Syria?
First, the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and spread east meaning revolutions started in Libya and Egypt before Syria. US and NATO forces, already thinly spread because of Iraq and Afghanistan, could only muster air strikes against Libya and covert support for Egypt. Placing ground forces in Libya would have guaranteed President Obama to be a one-term president. Sarkosy and Brown faced similar fates so they too resisted the use of ground forces.
Second, the United States also could not become so encumbered with Libya that it would be unable to strike at Iran. The Iranian nuclear program continues and should the US be in a position to strike, it will need much more firepower than it used in Libya. The US is quietly improving its Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) as tests indicate it sill may not be able to strike the deep underground facilities of Iran.
Third, the Russians took a stand against Western intervention in Syria. The Russians have never been fans of US and EU tactics against Iran but have always expressed their dissent through diplomatic means. In the case of Syria, the Russians sailed navy warships to the coast of Syria as an unequivocal answer to any western strikes.
The U.N. Security Council has come up with a draft Arab-European resolution on Syria. The draft resolution condemns "the continued widespread and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities," demands that the Syrian government immediately put an end to all human rights violations, and calls on both sides to end attacks and violence immediately.
The resolution then lays out a political roadmap that matches the Arab League initiative intended to pave the way for a transition "leading to a democratic, plural political system" through the formation of a national unity government, the handing over of all presidential authority to Assad's deputy for a transition period, and then the holding of free and fair elections with international supervision. Foreign Policy
The Russians and Chinese will most likely veto any such resolution. Russia and China vetoed European resolution on Syria last fall and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Friday that Russia would veto any resolution that seeks to remove Assad from power.