An unexpected wind is blowing in Syria. Since the arrival of Hezbollah’s troops in larger numbers, the Syrian army has found new strength. For the first time in weeks, the official Syrian Army has made important gains. Recapturing ( or being able to claim so) the town of Qusayr was no small progress for the Syrian regime. With Russia continually shipping weapons of frightening capacity and Iran adding to the stock pile, the Assad government now appears more entrenched and capable than it did two weeks ago.
Possibly, the United States and the West have dilly-dallied so long that attrition has been positive for the failing Syrian army and has now hit the rebels hard. The problem remains that rebels lack the armaments and equipment to successfully battle what Russia and Iran have suppled. The West cannot seem to make up its mind about what to do.
This past week, rebel General Salim Idris said that his rebels will not attend John Kerry’s proposed Geneva conference until they receive new arms and ammunion. Slaim recognizes that to sit down with the West and Russia while the Syrian government sits on the other side of the table holding the cards is a meeting doomed to failure before it even begins. The Syrian rebels already do no trust the United States. They must feel a Geneva conference today would be like a good high school football team playing the Green Bay Packers.
The weakness of Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempts at reconciliation has now come to light. Frederic C. Hof, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former State Department official said, “The regime, Iran and Hezbollah, supported by Russia, aim to win: the U.S. airms for talks.” What is talk worth when either side is bearing down with all the force they can muster? Nothing.
Kerry’s motivations are positive. He is trying to stop a war. The problem is that Assad must now see himself on the winning side and Kerry’s ideas become irrelevant.
Washington’s entanglement with scandals at the IRS, eavesdropping, and security leaks, as well as computer hacking from across the world have apparently changed the focus from the Middle East to Washington. Understandable, but not much of an answer to General Idris who refuses to talk until his men are properly armed.
Anyone half way following the struggle between Democrats and Republicans to get anything done in Washington will not be surprised that the Obama administration now looks like a truck stuck and mired in the mud. When Kerry speaks, you can hear the wheels spinning.
Would Russia like to beat the US in Syria? They’d like to defeat the USA anywhere.
Would Iran want to prevail over a country holding them down with embargos?
Would Syria desire to defeat Israel’s major ally?
The answers are beyond obvious. Defense Secretary Kerry is going to have to come up with more than talk to improve the struggle in Syria. And if America delays much longer, there won’t be anything to talk about.