Dick Krickus | The Lithuania Tribune
Article published in russiaprofile.org on 8 June
Press reports indicate that Presidents Obama and Putin favor a settlement to the Syrian crisis similar to the outcome that occurred in Yemen where the president Ali Abdullah Saleh resigned in favor of his second in command, Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi.
Analysts in Washington, however, do not believe what has been called the “Yamenski Variant” has much hope of working. In response to the UN ceasefire orchestrated by Kofi Annan, Bashar al-Assad not only continues to wage war against his own people, his troops and para-military goons that support him have engaged in a number of atrocities in recent weeks resulting in the odious murder of women and children in Houla and Homs.
They, in turn, underscore two important conclusions for most of the world community. First, Assad has no intention of negotiating a peace with his political opponents because he obviously believes that his murderous tactics will keep him in power.
The second conclusion is that the only way to remove this killer from power is through armed conflict. Since neither the leaders in the White House nor the Pentagon favor the interjection of U.S. forces into the crisis, the U.S. will remain on the sidelines—although it may provide humanitarian, air and communications assistance for the Syrian fighters and those among Syria’s neighbors who cannot standby and allow a 21st century Arab-Hitler to continue his unconscionable slaughter of women and children..
Obama is under pressure to do more than that and that includes the deployment of U.S. troops, but the people exerting the pressure have little credibility since they favored the disastrous invasion of Iraq and are also lobbying for the U.S. to bomb Iran. They are beating the war drums at the very time that hope for a settlements between Iran and the international community regarding its nuclear activities may be in the works. In short, the sanctions are forcing the Mullahs to negotiate a settlement with the major powers.
Those who are urging Obama to send U.S. troops to Syria forget a very compelling fact: most Americans of all political persuasions oppose new military adventures.
Meanwhile, President Putin continues to endorse the Assad narrative that rests on bogus claims that foreign provocateurs are responsible for the mayhem in his country and the atrocities are largely the work of radicals association with Al-Qaeda that will take over the country should Assad be toppled. Then a truly horrible bloodletting will results as minority Alawaits, Christians, and Kurds will be slaughtered by revenging Sunni jihadists.
Those in the Kremlin who encourage President Putin to embrace this narrative are doing him, and Russia, a disservice since the vast majority of outside observers know Assad is the principle source of the violent mayhem in Syria. The Friday protests that continue in face of Assad’s killers testifies to the fact that a majority of Syrians appear to be in favor of his removal from office.
It is said that Putin and his Chinese counterparts who met this week in Beijing believe that Assad will emerge victorious and they will continue to employ their Security Council vetoes to protect him. But while most observers believe Assad will fight to the very end, his monstrous behavior will ultimately bring about his undoing—an end that will look more like Quaddafi’s fate than that of Saleh. It will be fighters directly supported by Assad’s Sunni neighbors that will ultimately undermine his regime—Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia taking the lead in this campaign.
Dick Krickus is distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Mary Washington and has held the H.L. Oppenheimer Chair for Warfighting Strategy at the U.S. Marine Corps University.