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17 February 2014

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Fred

Col. You stated:

"This should include amnesty for "ralliers' to the government"
Didn't the Syrian government start some form of this a few months ago?

turcopolier

fred

They did and it has been fairly successful. pl

FB Ali

Col Lang,

It is unfortunate that your excellent proposal is unlikely to be adopted by the US.

The issue now is whether Obama can resist all the pressures bearing down upon him to intervene militarily in Syria. There are the Israeli and R2P lobbies that you have referred to (and their representatives within the administration). He presumably came under such pressure in his recent meetings with Hollande and King Abdullah. He is now going to meet another proponent of such a move - the Saudi king.

Perhaps the main counter is Gen Dempsey's resistance to a pinprick air strike. His insistence that any military intervention be properly prepared and safeguarded may give Obama pause, since he knows that the American public is weary of such large-scale military ventures. I don't know if Hagel will back Dempsey; so far he seems to be a weak leader.

turcopolier

FB Ali

Hagel does seem weak. I am trying to nudge the process a bit. pl

William R. Cumming

PL! Great post and totally agree!

David Habakkuk

F.B. Ali,

I think that a good few of us who have been hoping that the kind of 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party' now going on will not end in a major shambles have been trusting that, as it were, General Dempsey will pull our chesnuts out of the fire.

Charles I

Thanks for being willing. Good luck.

Charles I

I have just been devouring HBO's Rome; n/w/s that one hangs their hopes where they may, defaulting to trust in our good Generals does not seem an auspicious condition for a polity to be in. Especially when our host points out the obvious for all inclined to see.

Joe100

Col Lang -

It appears that events on the ground may be moving rapidly in your direction
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-army-rebels-agree-new-damascus-area-truce-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=62607&NewsCatID=352

I suspect that such movement will not be received well by the various "outsiders" trying to influence events.

MartinJ

Col

There seems to be an utter lack of think tanks and media outlets that have the funding to promote your sensible, pragmatic policy on Syria. It leaves an over reliance on individuals such as Gen Dempsey to push for common sense.

What is the way forward for the US to get out of this stranglehold by AIPAC and Gulf donors on institutions that advise on foreign policy?

turcopolier

martinJ

Yes. AIPAC, AEI et al squeezed me out of the public square long ago. Sob. pl

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Add my agreement to your sensible policy.

I was brought up with the bedrock American belief that we were a self-reliant practical people, just like John Huston’s characters at the movies.

Instead, greed and ideology have seized America. A Syrian intervention would be Iraq all over again; ethnic cleansing (separating Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds) and then an eventually withdrawal back to Kuwait leaving thousands and thousands of dead behind and the USA bankrupt.

Babak Makkinejad

This is a policy supported also fully by the European Union.

So we have a politico-military alliance of over 1 billion people who are dependent on the sanity of a single man - General Martin Dempsey - to counter the main contours of a very very bad policy.

So, why have democracy; let us bring the Imperators back and send the Senate packing to their latifundia's in the countryside.

Babak Makkinejad

The Mad Hatters evidently also occupy European levers of power as well.

Why do not Sweden, or Denmark, or Switzerland publicly break with this madness?

Are they afraid that US would sanction them?

Or is it that they are also fully onboard with (US) Syrian policy - excepting UK.

Babak Makkinejad

All right; so AIPAC and Arabs of the Persian Gulf are running the show in US; what about the European Union?

They seem to be totally onboard with Regime Change in Syria as well.

Why is Europe supporting this - when did Syria become an enemy to the Europeans?

Babak Makkinejad

And evidently, there is no body in the public square in Europe either.

Marco Naccio

A sensible & realistic policy on Syria, as suggested, is an excellent idea.

To implement sensible policy in the American interest would require defeating Zionism, particularly the Zionist occupation of Washington, DC.

I'd be interested in hearing proposals for such a worthy defense of the nation.

The Twisted Genius

PL,

I think the policy you suggest for the US is what Assad is pursuing. Albeit he is pursuing it in a manner far too heavy handed for the delicate sensibilities of many. I find it ironic that the brutish Russians and Chinese are practically the only thing saving us from our ignorant impulses.

Andrew

Col. sir, Is there any truth to the rumor that AEI turned downright evil when you brushed aside the advances of Danielle Pletka after a night of Sambuka shooters?

MartinJ

Babak:
I'm not completely convinced they have abandoned the regime. The UK has been trying to appear its totally with the rebels while doing little to assist them militarily.
As more and more stories appear in the British press of our Muslim youth heading there to fight with AQ (we just had our first "martyr" in an SVBIED attack in Aleppo) then public opinion will turn.
The truth is we are rather irrelevant as a country and the EU is only concerned with migration and business.

Poul

Babak:

I think you are overstating the coherence of the Western Syria policy. The US way of seeing things is not the only one. European countries can move in the same direction as the US but not from the same motives.

The US politicians have their share of delusions based on US domestic policy, world view and inherited traditions (pro-Israel etc)

My own country of Denmark has it's set of delusions and traditions. We are pro-Israeli but also pro-UN and the idea of Right to Protect has a strong appeal among a large group of Danish politicians.

An example is Christian Friis Bach.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Friis_Bach

His party is part of the present Danish coalition government and he is the party's spokesperson on foreign affairs.

If one reads this interview from the 22nd of January.
http://politiken.dk/indland/politik/ECE2188490/radikale-fn-skal-true-med-militaert-indgreb-til-sommer/

(in Danish only. Unfortunately Google Translate contains some very misleading errors when translating into English. But I hope you can get an idea of his views)

He clearly refuses to acknowledge that the Russians will not support a UN sanctioned attack on Syria. A policy doomed to fail.

The lack of understanding Middle Eastern nations and their culture is also quite prevalent in Denmark.
Our idea of democracy automatically solving all major problems leads our political parties astray policy-wise(here it's in particular socialist parties who believe in this idea). Few journalists and no politicians discus why Iraq turned out a democratic failure. The idea that if Assad leave then Syrians will all be friends again is strong.

I think that Syrian members of the Ba'ath party look at Iraq and see their future if the Syrian government loses. Purges and persecutions will be the name of the game.

turcopolier

poul

In both cases Westerners and especially the US have made the mistake of personalizing the internal problems of Iraq and Syria so that it is believed that an individual or small group are the cause of societal problems. In neither case was/is this true. pl

Babak Makkinejad

EU is not just concerned with migration and business; it wishes to destroy the legal governments of Syria and Iran.

UK is not irrelevant; she could break publicly with US on Syria and state that the policy is insane.

Why does not she?

This is eerily like the way the Warsaw Pact operated - directives coming from Moscow and they fell in line, you must admit.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think you need to understand the Middle East to respect the Principles of the Peace of Westphalia, or the UN Charter.

That Denmark (and other EU states) have declared Syria and Iran to be the enemies of Europe cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance.

EU has been complicit in pushing 20 million into poverty in Iran and made another 8 million refugees in Syria.

How can this be construed under responsibility to protect?

It is like saying we rape to preserve chastity.

Alba Etie

Martin J
I believe there is now such a groundswell of public opposition to a Syrian intervention that no politician will - including BHO ; intervene in that civil war. I also believe that We the People will make the R2P/neocon misguided agenda a campaign issue in 2014 ,& 2016 election cycles. Recall that it is one way that BHO defeated Mrs Clinton in the 2008 primaries - in that BHO voted against the Iraqi AUMF & that Mrs Clinton supported it . I believe the former Montana Governor Barry Schwietzer will likely run for the Democratic nomination - and he is certainly opposed to any more misbegotten military interventions .
The primaries could very well be a path forward to break the stranglehold by AIPAC and Gulf donors on our Comity . Moreover I believe that Secretary of Defense Hagel is pushing back against the neocons - but to paraphrase Rummy - its a tough slog .
And further in the plus column we have not sortie with Bibi against Natanz yet -

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