Foreign Meddling in Syria Prolongs the Bloodletting

John Glaser, February 22, 2013

As has been the case from the beginning, options for intervention in Syria go from bad to worse and the limited meddling by countries on either side is simply prolonging the conflict.

Dr. Florence Gaub, a researcher at the NATO Defense College, writes at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that outside forces can’t end the Syrian civil war. Critically, a political settlement is implausible so long as either side believes they have the upper hand. And, thanks to foreign support, both sides are so emboldened.

“A continuous supply of weapons to both sides—whether from Russia, Iran or the Gulf States—only maintains the parties’ perception that fighting is a better option than negotiating,” Gaub writes. “This explains why, in terms of statistical probability, an external supply of weapons lengthens a civil war.”

This has been known for some time. Hawks in Washington continue to advocate for direct arming of the Syrian rebels (despite ties to officially designated terrorist organizations and documented war crimes), clueless to the fact that the meddling already happening is precisely what has made the conflict so protracted and bloody to begin with.

Kofi Annan, the former UN and Arab League special envoy for Syria, said prior to quitting the post that while Russia had received a lot of criticism for continuing to back the violent President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, “very few things are said about other countries that send arms and money and weigh on the situation on the ground.”

“Syria indeed has become an arena for outside meddling, but the meddling has been far more effective at sustaining the fighting than ending it,” said a report last year from the International Crisis Group. “Because the mission’s success was predicated on finding middle ground when most parties yearned for a knockout punch, few truly wished it well, even as no one wanted to be caught burying it.”

UN rights chief Navi Pillay has condemned the continued flow of weapons from foreign powers to both sides in the Syrian conflict. “The ongoing provision of arms to the Syrian government and to its opponents feeds additional violence,” she said in the text of remarks made to the Security Council. “Any further militarization of the conflict must be avoided at all costs.”

Beyond the proxy war that Syria has become, Gaub writes, direct military intervention “would simply make things worse,” and would not have legitimacy under international law.

The White House has reportedly rejected proposals to directly arm the rebels, a decision Obama is apparently reconsidering. But the US and its European allies have been indirectly aiding the rebels, while their allies in the Arab Gulf states – along with the flow of Libyan arms – are providing weapons. The policies of Washington’s client states are to a large extent the responsibility of Washington, of course. Furthermore, Western support to the opposition has caused the Assad regime’s backers, cautious not to cede a geo-political win to the US, to dig in their heels.

A resolution to the bloodletting is easily within reach, but for the insistence to meddle from the outside.




24 Responses to “Foreign Meddling in Syria Prolongs the Bloodletting”

  1. The problem with this analysis is that it puts the cart before the horse. WHY are both sides supplying arms? What is the point of the crisis in the first place? It's not just that some people in Syria decided to rise up against the Assad regime.

    The answer is very simple: Iran.

    The West and Israel wants an Iran war. Iran, of course, does not, and neither do Russia or China. The Saudis, and the Gulf Cooperation Council also want Iran destroyed, but they are a side issue. If the US didn't want the Saudis and the GCC arming the insurgents, it could pressure them to stop.

    This, by the way, is the antidote to people saying "Obama doesn't want to arm the rebels." Well, no. What Obama doesn't want is to be SEEN arming the rebels. Precisely because of the point that arming the rebels merely prolongs the civil war and if Obama is SEEN to be doing that then it tarnishes his little Nobel Peace Prize.

    What Obama DOES want is a war with Iran – but again, not to be SEEN to want a war with Iran (unlike George Bush who was happy to be seen wanting wars with almost anyone because he was a weak little man who needed to stand up to his father) because he has a (thoroughly unearned) Nobel Peace Prize he doesn't want to tarnish for narcissistic reasons.

    The problem is that Israel, which also wants the US to destroy Iran, can't afford to have that war as long as the POSSIBILITY exists that both Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon could add their missiles to Iranian missiles. The only way to deal with that is to degrade those missiles arsenals.

    The only way to do that is to attack Syria and Lebanon. Israel, too, doesn't want to be seen to START another conflict of that magnitude because of domestic political considerations.

    But if Syria were to collapse into a civil war, an excuse for foreign military intervention could be invented that would cover all the parties. And once foreign military intervention were initiated, Syrian forces would be tied down and unable to prevent Israel from crossing Syrian territory to attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley, a better strategic approach than the 2006 war.

    Because of these facts, there IS NO "resolution" to be had. The Syria crisis will get worse until foreign military intervention is manufactured for one excuse or the other.

  2. Syria manufactures its own light arms and ammunition. The only "weapons" Russia supplies at present are for "Air Defense"–which is to "defend" against an invasion of outside powers by an air force and/or ballistic missiles (for example: Patriot and Cruise missiles).

    Syria is a "sovereign nation" and the established and legitimate authorities (i.e. the "Assad regime") certainly have every "right", and even "obligation", to uphold and enforce the "RULE OF LAW" inside of its own boarders.

    You can't just send (and recruit domestically) a bunch of mercenary terrorists into a nation and expect the government of that nation to allow them to kill, loot, and destroy at will–this is just an absurd notion. Anyone who doesn't 'understand' this concept is a ridiculous person.

  3. Because of these facts, there IS NO "resolution" to be had. The Syria crisis will get worse until foreign military intervention is manufactured for one excuse or the other.

  4. Again I am saddened by this article which appears to openly suport theforeign policy of the Obama regime.

    There is no limited meddling, this is a major Destabilisation operation which has apparantly been planned for many years, Obama inherited from Bush and Cheney and is the classical Covert Operation in which paramilitaries are used. it is also said very serious money was involved.

    There is no "limited meddling" – a lrge scale operation was launched two years ago by Washington and I am surprisedby the unwillingness to face these issues.

    The use of Sunni Jihadist paramilitaries has been described as aninsane policy, but has been persisted in.

    Of course Obama rejected OPEN arming of his paramilitaries, instead cut-outs, standard on these occasions have been used, but he chas covertly armed them since before the operation started two years ago.

    There is also a solution – realising the operation has failed he gives the order to shut it down, but we would not know, it would just fade out and disappear from the media.

    .

  5. Well stated.

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  7. A very good analysis of what is going on. Obviously the hands of tha Mossad and the CIA are involved and obviously it is a stepping stone to a war with Iran.
    On another subject, why hasn't this site reported on the letter sent to Obama by 15 Israeli Firsters senators opposing the Hagle nomination?

  8. The Syrian war is a forigen war.., orchestrated by us and EU Neo fascism paid by Saudis and Qataris illegitimate kings. More they spend more it becomes uncontrolled.., it was Hillary Clinton who said.., this is the last thing we are going to do in Middle East and she bet on the regime change in Syrian with zarkozi, Cameron and that Swedish Neo fascism.., later it was Obama who said.., is going to be messy.. I have more felexebility after the election.., and now the rethoric about military budget cuts.., and how much.., .0.02% is the talk by the professionals to fool people.

    Look: All that talks , the rhetoric about us militarism budget reductions and every other nonsense said by either of these people is about how to control and create new wars in the world.., that's what these people with the new elected state department Kerry will "invest" people's money by starving others to have a war pleasing vulture capitalism economic system. Demand from state department to show you sheet of success in eonomical terms where state department invested and succeeded in their return of money without going to war.

  9. @Richard Steven Hack: “If the US didn’t want the Saudis and the GCC arming the insurgents, it could pressure them to stop.”

    Me: What I said (elsewhere).

    Of course, it’s worse. Al-Qaeda/jihadis (aka crazed mercenaries) swarming in (free air-tickets, start-bonus + good monthly pay, in crisply fresh $US100 bills, say), via Turkey & Jordan, possibly Iraq – who knows? (Well, CIA & Mossad, at least.) Arms provided from/by Saudi Arabia & Qatar; now we hear of ‘new’ Serbian matériel, possibly ‘looted’ from Libya but turning up in anti-Assad rebels’ = aggressive alien invaders’ hands in Syria.

    Also, of course, it’s madness. The UN must know, EU must know, NATO is in it up to its (Turkish) neck – in a single word: Criminals.

    We the people have nothing to say – because we’re not asked, but even IF, we are *misinformed* on purpose, by the MSM + PFBCs ‘catapulting’ the filthy, pro-war (lying) propaganda.

    But the so-called ‘leaders’ all know, but mostly pretend they don’t. (Russia appears to be less dishonest, at the moment – to their cost, being accused, along with China, of ‘blocking’ the UNSC warmongering.) Current end result: Syria is being reduced to rubble, just like Iraq, Libya, and planned for Iran (Afghanistan was, still is, mostly sand; only slightly rearranged by nearly 12yrs of US air force + marines ‘care & attention’ – plus more lately drone/hellfires, say). This is what they mean when they say “We’ll send you back to the Stone Age!” = no stone left standing, one upon any other. Not to mention the blood of the slaughtered, or the anguish of the (lucky) survivors.

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  11. Correction: Apologies; Serbs, the new matériel is Croatian:

    “That sophisticated anti-tank and anti-infantry munitions are now being funneled exclusively to non-extremist rebel units, who themselves are committed to isolating al-Qaeda, suggests either a staggering coincidence or some degree of external facilitation. Now here’s another interesting fact. The M60, the M79, the RBG-6 and the RPG-22 are all currently in use by the Croatian Army.”

    @Anh: “creating an e-book?” Try googling the following, without the {}

    {“@PEACE EVER AFTER” “@Mark” “Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism”}

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  13. I believe religion has been the cause of many wars due to the lack of tolerance and respect we have to Inter traditions,beliefs,etc.

  14. Religion is one of the mos stupid reasons that can ever be to have a war, any reason is stupid to kill people, and war should not exist.

  15. We think that US shouldnt have got into afghanistan bussines and they shouldnt call themselves heroes, they shouldnt have done that in the first place, aldo the cannot meddle in a war justnlike that and cause a lot of destruction.

  16. I think the religious causes of wars are the intolerante of the people to have different ideas and different ways of thinking, because all have different values and things in which we need to improve or develop, and there are people who dont respect others. That are the religious causes of wars, the intolerance and the lack of respect and values of people, but i think the war isnt the best solution to conflicts, because we are risking lifes and families. NO MORE WARS!

  17. Well, it supposed that the religion doesn't approvewar, but in this case was the first one who start it, and was a little bit odd.
    We don't think US has to go to the war, because war is not a good thing and you don't get anything good of it

  18. @Claudia February 25th, 2013 at 6:21 am
    @Daniela, February 25th, 2013 at 6:33 am
    @Tania, Bruno y Gaby, February 25th, 2013 at 6:33 am
    @Diana, February 25th, 2013 at 6:37 am
    @Carlos, Alan y Citli, February 25th, 2013 at 6:40 am

    What is this, some sort of massed religious-freak-trolls DDoS-attack?

  19. Your comment [submitted February 26th, 2013 at 12:33 pm] is awaiting moderation.

    Dear moderators, please attend to this matter soonest, if you’d be so kind?

  20. That’s it; 3 tries and I’m out.

  21. [...] this conflict has essentially been a proxy war for outside powers from the beginning is part of why it has been so intractable and bloody. Upping the ante on that will just continue to make the problem [...]

  22. [...] this conflict has essentially been a proxy war for outside powers from the beginning is part of why it has been so intractable and bloody. Upping the ante on that will just continue to make the problem [...]

  23. [...] this conflict has essentially been a proxy war for outside powers from the beginning is part of why it has been so intractable and bloody. Upping the ante on that will just continue to make the problem [...]

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