Thursday, June 09, 2011
From the beginning, when anti-regime forces ambushed a patrol of Syrian soldiers and killed several, it has been clear that there is organized probably foreign support for the Syrian disturbances.
I would say the most plausible explanation is that the Saudis are writing checks for a program designed in or by the United States on Israel's behalf. A determined minority can make a country ungovernable, but they wouldn't be able to govern it either. It is unclear what proportion of Syria's population opposes the Assad regime, but there is no pro-Western majority in Syria.
Israel/US/Saudi's best case is 2005 Iraq. I really hope that is not accomplished. I don't think there is enough information available to say much more on that.
Turkey is interesting though. Turkey hosted a conference of anti-Assad forces and the most recent flare ups are along Syria's border with Turkey, not with Jordan and Lebanon as before.
I'm not sure where it comes from, but it is a dangerous policy. Turkey's fundamental strategic objective is its own territorial integrity and the primary threat to that is Kurdish separatism. The US flirtation with de-facto independence for Iraq's Kurds was a primary factor in bringing about the breech in relations between Turkey and the US/Israel that has not been fully repaired.
If Assad goes down, it will be in a way that empowers Syria's Kurds to pose a threat to Turkey analogous to that posed by Iraq's Kurds.
More information will become available and we will see where this is heading. If Turkey makes an enemy of Assad over this US/Israeli/Saudi program it will be the type of mistake I would not have expected Erdogan, whom I consider maybe the most talented active politician in the world, to make.
Posted by Arnold Evans at 11:25 AM