Russia Sends Cash to Syria, Keeps Assad's Regime Functioning

Flight manifests seen by ProPublica indicate that Russia has been shipping tons of money to Assad’s regime. Assad’s government is strapped for cash thanks to sanctions and bans that have been imposed on the minting of Syrian currency. The manifests mention tons of “bank notes” being delivered but do not mention what currency the notes were, nor what else could have been carried on the Ilyushin-76 cargo planes.

The manifests catalogue the cargo of eight round-trips between Damascus and Moscow that took place during escalated violence. The flights were on flight paths different to those of civilian flights. The flights in question passed over Azerbaijan, Iran, and Iraq, avoiding Turkish airspace.

Despite the intentions of European and American sanctions Assad has found other ways to fund his crackdown on rebel forces.

It looks like Assad is in an increasingly difficult situation. Rebels have recently enjoyed strategic victories, and some governments have recognized the new National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

However, it is not all good news for Assad’s opposition. The Syrian opposition includes jihadists such as the Al-Nusra Front that has rejected the National Coalition. Unlike many of the other groups that make up the National Coalition the Al-Nusra Front aims to create a fundamentalist Islamic state in Syria after Assad loses power. The Syrian opposition also includes Kurdish groups who have different motivations than other groups fighting for the downfall of Assad.

The rebels are not alone in their diversity. Iran has been backing Syria’s military, and the recently uncovered flight manifests are more evidence that Russia has thrown its support behind Assad. The regime is also enjoying support from Hezbollah and Shiite militias.

It is not immediately obvious why a diverse opposition with jihadist elements is preferable to an Iranian and Russian backed regime that welcomes the support of terrorist organizations. However, the international community is seemingly intent on Assad being removed at all costs despite not knowing that what sort of government would take his regime’s place.

President Obama warned before the election that he would back military intervention in Syria if it looked like Assad’s forces were preparing to use chemical or biological weapons. Obama has also spoken out against Assad and called for him to step down. Quite how the Obama administration would deal with Syria without Assad but with a jihadist influence has not been made clear. As cruel and inhumane as Assad’s crackdown has been Obama and the world’s diplomatic community would do well to be more cautious in choosing sides in Syria’s civil war. It's messy enough as it is. 

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  • Pro Libertate||

    I so look forward to the altogether new foreign policy snafus to come in the next few years.

  • db||

    Secessionists are Racist teebaggurz. Putin is fighting the good fight by assisting in the preservation of the Syrian Union.

  • Lyle||

    Hey, Russia supported Abraham Lincoln back in the day as well. Sailed the Russian fleets to New York and San Francisco in support of the Union.

  • Randian||

    Hey, who the fuck cares? That was Czarist Russia, not Soviet Conservative Strongman Russia.

  • Lyle||

    You probably should... the Russian fleets probably played a small role in keeping the UK and France from entering our Civil War on the side of the secessionists. Union!!!

  • Skip||

    But MSNBC told me Russia was harmless and Mitt Romney was a dumbass for thinking it was against America at all......

  • Paul.||

    Russia Sends Cash to Syria, Keeps Assad's Regime Functioning

    Think of it as a bailout. The Russian Government is merely putting the working families of the Assad Regime first. There would be no Syria without the Assad regime...

    Did I leave any GM analogies out?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Are police states unionized?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Well they do resemble unions in a number of ways.

  • The Derider||

    As should be obvious, "not choosing sides" in Syria means that Russia will continue to support Assad, unopposed.

  • sarcasmic||

    Proxy war! Woo hoo! What could go wrong?

  • Lyle||

    Reason is effectively and officially on the side of despotism.

  • Randian||

    Huh, and folks like Derider piled on Mitt Romney for pointing out how squarely against American interests Russia is.

    Derider's hero, The Anointed One, even opened with it as a "zinger".

    And yet here we are.

  • DJF||

    As an American I have no interest in Syria so why is what Russian does in Syria against my interest?

    It is unfortunate however that the Obama administration wastes my tax dollars supporting one side of a civil war in Syria.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    joe has a WARBONER, because his scumbag is in control.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • SugarFree||

    It feeds into the observation that leftist are only in favor of wars where they is nothing at all to gain: Bosnia, Rwanda, Lybia, and now Syria.

    Of course, the Neo-cons dabbled with that position in Iraq.

  • ||

    Leftists are in favor of wars when their TEAM bosses say they are. It's that simple. These aren't thinking people, they're sheep. Look at joe and how bonecrushingly stupid he is, and he does it because that's what he is told to do.

  • sarcasmic||

    And conservatives kneel to suck the dick of the military, no matter who started it.

  • ||

    NATIONAL GREATNESS.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Of course, the Neo-cons dabbled with that position in Iraq.

    Gulf War I & II

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nothing to gain from the first one. Second one was completely different. Just finishing what was started.

  • BlogimiDei||

    "moral equivalent of war"

  • DJF||

    Hey, in the 1st Gulf war we made the world safe for Old Hereditary Dictatorships fighting the evil of New Hereditary Dictatorships.

  • tarran||

    As a former middle-easterner, I can only shake my head at the continual idiocy of Americans who seem eager to have their national government wade into fights that are deadly, whose participants are nasty people, with absolutely nothing to gain,

    Eventually, the meddling doesn't create a pointless war like the Crimean War but a World War I.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just walk away, I say. What do we have to lose? Not like we can't buy oil someplace else.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We're not meddling.

  • db||

    And sticking your dick in the wood chipper isn't fucking around, either.

  • tarran||

    The Crimean war has a warm place in my heart: apparently my great great grandfather was a cossack who fled to the Ottoman empire because the Tsar was pissed at something he did during the Crimean War nd wanted to put him in front of a firing squad.

    Had it not been for that lovely pointless war, I wouldn't have been born.

    Of course, had the French captured and executed my granddad (they had sentenced him to death in absentia for his partisan activities in the post World War I uprising against French occupation), I again wouldn't have been born.

    If I were an post hoc ergo propter hoc guy like Tony, I would conclude that little pointless wars are OK but big pointless ones are bad. ;)

  • Jordan||

    As should be obvious, "not choosing sides" in Syria means that Russia will continue to support Assad, unopposed.

    So fucking what? Feel free to ship yourself out and go fight the good fight over there.

  • tarran||

    Dude, the Syrian rebels wouldn't want him.

    He's probably only fired a gun once or twice in his life and is too short to be a useful human shield.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    As cruel and inhumane as Assad’s crackdown has been Obama and the world’s diplomatic community would do well to be more cautious in choosing not pick sides in Syria’s civil war. It's messy enough as it is.

    FIFY

  • Lyle||

    So Reason wants the despot Assad to remain the despot Assad? What?

  • Randian||

    Did the Arab Spring smackdown not hurt hard enough for you NeoCons or what?

  • Lyle||

    Not really since despotism needs to go and we have to deal with the fact that some of these countries are quite religious in their politics.

    I guess you could have done with 30 more years of a Mubarak and Qaddafi dynasty.

    Liberty... you ain't for it.

  • Randian||

    Liberty... you ain't for it.

    I am for me having the liberty to do with my dollars what I want.

    And one of those things I do not want to do is fund your overseas Super Foreign Adventures Pipe Dreams.

    Not really since despotism needs to go

    It's not my responsibility.

    I guess you could have done with 30 more years of a Mubarak and Qaddafi dynasty.

    It's not my problem.

  • Lyle||

    Like I said, you don't really care about liberty.

  • Randian||

    Obviously you have little interest in mine or your neighbor's.

  • Lyle||

    Oh, I do. What is befuddling is why you don't have an interest in your Syrian neighbors' liberty.

  • SugarFree||

    Our interest in our Libyan's neighbor's liberty worked out great.

  • Lyle||

    Change can be messy. Read about the French Revolution lately?

  • tarran||

    You mean when a monarchy that cared about our liberty ran out of money and was overthrown by a proto-fascistic regime that was the first of many increasingly fascist ones?

    Why don't you derpslain to me how being ruled by a government that tells people what colleges they are allowed to apply to, and has a department dedicated to Newspeak defending the sanctity of the French Language equals 'liberty'.

  • Jordan||

    I support the right of anyone - you included - to ship weapons, supplies, or themselves off to Syria to fight for liberty. Bon voyage. But you want to force others to fight for you and fund your little adventure. Fuck off.

  • Lyle||

    Not to worry, President Obama probably won't be using the Bush Doctrine against Assad. Russia, and likely China, won't support any kind of military intervention in Syria.

  • R C Dean||

    Its possible, of course, that one can be for Syrian liberty without providing material support to any of the factions now fighting a civil war.

    On the theory that, no matter who wins, they won't be libertarians, and can't be convinced to be libertarians. That leaves your options as (a) supporting an authoritarian faction (which doesn't seem very libertarian to me or (b) minding your own business.

  • tarran||

    For example, one could allow Syrian refugees to move to the U.S. and start new lives.

    Cheap; enhances liberty; their best and brightest help make us wealthier; and nobody has to die.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The best and brightest of Syria are already coming here (or more likely going to Europe). The refugees you're talking about are going to be bottom-rung day laborer types who don't speak English.

    Maybe you're OK with that, and that's fine if you are, but don't try to distort the reality of that course of action.

  • Lewisite||

    "The refugees you're talking about are going to be bottom-rung day laborer types"

    I'm not sure that their 'rickety fishing boats' will make it much further than Greece, if not Turkey. The 'best -n- brightest' often choose to fly...beyond the mess known as Europe.

  • Cytotoxic||

    "It's not my problem"

    A good libertarian opposes tyranny wherever. Doesn't mean we want the US to fight it.

    Assad's overthrow is totally in our interests. Just having them fight is totally in our interests. There is absolutely no need for America to get involved. This is a self-solving problem.

  • Randian||

    What contribution is .001% of my psychic energy going to do?

    At least you're coming around to the idea that noninterventionism is the generally correct idea.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It's not an idea, it's a dogma.

    I don't want to intervene in Syria because the context and facts don't support it. These things are non-factors for noninterventionists.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    It's not an idea, it's a dogma.

    I would say it is an excellent moral position. YMMV

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I don't want to intervene in Syria because the context and facts don't support it. These things are non-factors for noninterventionists.

    The problem with that outlook is that "context and facts" can always be stretched to justify an intervention you just happen to really want to do for unrelated reasons.

    While totally rigid noninterventionism may not be utile, there should certainly be a much stronger bias against intervention than mere lack of support from "context and facts".

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Pretty sure you'll be singing a diff tune when the Syrian version of Muslim Brohood takes over and starts setting up rockets in the Golan Heights.

    Not that I think we should root for Assad, but that region is going to be a basket case for a while.

  • R C Dean||

    the Syrian version of Muslim Brohood takes over and starts setting up rockets in the Golan Heights.

    First, they'll have to push the Israelis off the Heights. I don't much like their chances.

    After that, of course, they will be in a full-blown shooting war with Israel. Which I, personally, wouldn't be in favor of us getting directly involved with. Mostly because we would probably just be getting in Israel's way.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Israel has nukes, which is why Iran is so desperate to get them. Think of how humiliating it must be for Tehran to live with the knowledge that the Jews are their military betters.

  • Lewisite||

    "A good libertarian opposes tyranny wherever. Doesn't mean we want the US to fight it."

    And to the extent that lip service will solve the problem...I'm all for it. Our track record in the region is anything but sterling, and lacking even piss poor hindsight, getting caught in a pissing match with Russia/China for the sake of the Muslim Brotherhood's benefit is not fit policy by any means. After the bullshit of the last gulf war, giving more blood and treasure to any of them over there is a fool’s errand at best. Anyone who wants more than lip service to the advent of a Syrian campaign, can ride out...we’ll catch up later.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Not really since despotism needs to go and we have to deal with the fact that some of these countries are quite religious in their politics.

    And how does that affect the United States? You are basically saying we are either with Assad or against him. I rather could care less what happens to him as long as the Syrian people get to decide what they want. It is not the US's business. Why is that so hard for some people to understand?

  • Lyle||

    "I rather could care less what happens to him as long as the Syrian people get to decide what they want."

    Haha... then you're against him and you want to see him fall.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Haha... then you're against him and you want to see him fall.

    As an individual, it would not bother me to see him swing from a lamp-post. But the US gov should not be involved as it does not threaten our interests.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's fine. Earlier posts of yours and others make you look apathetic. I think that might be Lyle's bitch.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    That's fine. Earlier posts of yours and others make you look apathetic. I think that might be Lyle's bitch.

    I can understand some people not understanding the difference between individual action and government action. This is why I think any laws against donating money, time, effort to support causes a person believes in are unconscionable. If I want to "personally" send money, weapons, food, to the rebels in Syria, that should be my right. But I do not have the right to make that decision for other people.

  • R C Dean||

    Haha... then you're against him and you want to see him fall.

    Who the hell knows what "the Syrian people" want? I suspect that there is no such thing, and what we are seeing in Syria is the usual tribal warfare over who gets to be Chief Panjandrum and pass out goodies to his tribe.

  • Lyle||

    We don't know yet what the Syrian people want. Assad has to go before we can even hope to find out.

  • Lewisite||

    "We don't know yet what the Syrian people want. Assad has to go before we can even hope to find out."

    "We have to pass this bill....to know what's in it."

  • Lyle||

    Not exactly the same man. Syrians don't have self-determination under Assad. There is only the hope they can have that after his regime is gone.

  • ant1sthenes||

    How does picking a side in a fight between secularish despots and murderous bigoted fanatics reflect on liberty? The libertarian side is not to compel our fellow citizens to sacrifice blood or treasure for either cause against their will, doubly so since both sides are a disaster for humanity.

    If there was any humanitarian agenda, it would be in relocating noncombatants and letting Al Qaeda and Assad go at it directly without innocent bystanders in the way. We could sell both sides weapons.

  • Jerry on the road||

    What's the alternative to Assad?

  • SIV||

    I kinda like the idea of a Greater Kurdistan. Maybe a Kurd Empire.

  • Pro Libertate||

    This was settled here long ago. The proper name is Kurdlahoma, and it won't be an empire, it'll be a new state in the U.S.

  • sarcasmic||

    [insert Elizabeth Warren joke]

  • Pro Libertate||

    They did. Into the Senate.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Pro L, FTW!

  • Cytotoxic||

    The formation of Kurdistan alone made the Iraq invasion worth it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sigh. Kurdlahoma.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Sorry sorry.

    Wait, it wouldn't be box-shaped enough!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, then, they can annex what they need to get more right angles.

  • SIV||

    I can't wait for them to conquer reclaim Turkey and Iran.

  • DJF||

    “””The formation of Kurdistan alone made the Iraq invasion worth it.”’’

    Worth it to who? The thousands of Americans killed and wounded? The taxpayers who are a trillion dollars more in debt? And what do I as an American get out of it? They haven’t even sent me a goat or a rug or nothing.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The Kurds were de facto autonomous during the no-fly zone era, years before the invasion.

  • Lyle||

    Fractious, and likely violent instability.

    Liberty!

  • Randian||

    I have to marvel at "conservatives" who praise the free-market for its emergent order and sneer at Big Government Top-Down One-Size-Fits-All programs who then turn around and think that a Big Government solution is appropriate for them over there.

  • sarcasmic||

    Conservatives worship all things military. To criticize anything military is blasphemy.

  • DJF||

    They are against government health care yet get all excited when the US sends some Amphib ships to a third world country and provide free military health care to the locals.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Except when the bitch it has gotten to PC, not like back in the day! Ugh.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Paint with a broadbrushsh much? Randian was referring to this specific person, who judging by the scaries he doubts is a conservative.

  • Calidissident||

    Let's be real, that's not that broad of a brush

  • Lyle||

    I think you misunderstand me. I support the destabilizing of despotism in the Middle East. I support the liberty that will follow it, even if that liberty leads to more violence and instability... or say a Muslim Brotherhood lead Egypt or a Libya that can't protect foreign ambassadors from violent Islamists.

  • Lewisite||

    "I support the destabilizing of despotism in the Middle East. I support the liberty that will follow it, even if that liberty leads to more violence and instability.."

    Yeah...Operation Ajax was a masterstroke of forward thinking, consequence free, liberty projection....we should do it again...today...because we gotta do something, you know..for the childrunz of syria.

  • Lyle||

    Like I said the consequences of destabilization don't really bother me.

    Syria has been destabilized without the U.S. doing jack. Egypt too. Libya imploded before the first U.S. drone killed anyone there.

  • Calidissident||

    Destabilize all you want. Just don't make other people pay for it

  • Raston Bot||

    this is one of those rare, cherished chapters of history that concludes with "...and hilarity ensued."

  • SugarFree||

    No matter what we do, no matter who comes out on top in Syria, both sides will hate us in the end. Do nothing.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Do nothing.

    The US cannot do nothing as that is not showing leadership. And we must show leadership, it is our destiny.

    *we here being the US gov*

  • Ken Shultz||

    This is the clearest case of self-fulfilling prophecy I've seen in a while. When the Assad regime first started shelling the rebels, it claimed they were all terrorists and jihadis. That was completely false at the time, but it's becoming more and more true all the time.

    I guess the last time I saw a self-fulfilling prophecy like that was when George W. Bush told us that Iraq was full of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists before we invaded. That was completely false at the time, but just like with Assad's lies, given enough time and effort, Bush made his lies true, too.

  • Lyle||

    Bush didn't say Iraq was full of Al Qaeda terrorists. His main reason was Saddam's dishonesty about WMDs (you know the reason the UN had inspectors in the country). They did roll out the Saddam is harboring a few terrorists, which was true. Saddam killed Abu Nidal in 2002 because of this.

    http://www.cfr.org/iraq/terror.....iraq/p9513

  • Almanian.||

    The derp is strong with this one

  • Ken Shultz||

    If you think invading Iraq, spending trillions of dollars, the Iraqi people suffering all those casualties--not to mention thousands of U.S. casualties--was somehow worth it because Saddam Hussein executed Abu Nidal in 2002? Yer outta yer mind.

    Here's a poll taken 6 months after we invaded Iraq:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com.....iraq_x.htm

    That's why most Americans thought we were invading Iraq. The American people believed what the president told them! They thought Saddam Hussein was directly involved with Al Qaeda (and that he had anthrax/WMD)

    Point is that links with terrorism seem to be a justification for doing just about anything these days. And it was bad enough when a country like the U.S. used bogus photos of mobile WMD labs and bogus stories about yellow cake in Niger and bogus stories about links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda to invade and occupy a third party country like Iraq...

    How much worse that Assad uses similar stories--not to justify invading some third party country, but to invade and occupy his own country! I don't know if some future Progressive president would ever stoop to declaring average Americans who opposed him a bunch of terrorists--but with the increasing prevalence of hatred against Christians, economic libertarians, and cultural conservatives, I wouldn't put it past one of them to do so.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just for the record, Bush wasn't as bad as Assad in a number of ways. Among them, what he did, in terms of invasion and occupation, he didn't do to his own people. Also, as far as I can tell, Bush's intentions were good--for whatever little that's worth.

    Bush calling people in Iraq terrorists until they finally showed up is the same, though, and it's kind of hard to guard against that sort of thing in the future if we can't even bring ourselves to denounce clear cases of it in our own presidents today.

    Yeah, Assad used the pretext of terrorism to justify doing all sorts of evil shit to his own people--just like a lot of other vicious dictators have done from Mubarak to Putin. But that could never happen here, why?

    Because we don't believe what the president tells us when we're scared? Because we don't scare easily? Because we see our presidents clearly and call 'em like we see 'em? I wish I could believe any one of those, but you can help me out with the last one, right?

  • Lyle||

    "Bush wasn't as bad as Assad in a number of ways."

    Haha... you don't say.

  • Lyle||

    No, there were other reasons to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

    I was just tweaking your statement about Bush saying Al Qaeda was all up in Iraq.

    Just use facts man.

  • Not an Economist||

    Um, most of your information is wrong.

    There was contact between Saddam and Al Qaeda, it just didn't go anywhere. Saddam did try to buy yellow cake from Niger, and he did have WMD, just not as much as we thought (although there some weird shit going on).

    You have fallen for misinformation. Everything the Bush administration said was pretty much in line with what intelligence information all over the world had. There have been multiple investigations over the world that pretty much said that. It was just wrong.

    I'm not saying that was reason to go to war. Just the amount of misinformation on the reasons is terrible.

    The yellow cake one is a pet peeve of mine. The Wilsons basically got rich from lying, the person who leaked the information was known early on in the investigation and the only person convicted of anything was not allowed access to his notes before his FBI interview, even though most everybody else was.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Saddam's dishonesty about WMDs

    You mean how he acted like he had them when he really didn't?

    The trotted-out terrorist camp was in the northern no fly zone, btw, where Hussein had no control.

  • Lyle||

    Yeah, the UN suspected he had them still.

  • ||

    Bush didn't say Iraq was full of Al Qaeda terrorists.

    He did say Iraq was a state sponsor of terror and it was one of the reasons he used to justify the invasion and occupation.

  • Lyle||

    Yeah, which isn't the same thing.

  • ||

  • Lyle||

    Yeah, that's not saying al Qaeda was all up in Iraq.

  • Cytotoxic||

    However, the international community is seemingly intent on Assad being removed at all costs

    Really? REALLY? All costs? Haven't sent so much as a drone in, and this is 'all costs'? Noninterventionists are easy to wind up.

  • Randian||

    I know, look at us, all running around saying "hey let's not wage war here" or "oh, we should be careful or reluctant to involve ourselves in the affairs of that nation" there.

    So brash! So irresponsible!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Woosh! Right over your head!

  • Cytotoxic||

    The irony is incredible btw.

  • Randian||

    I don't think that word means what you think it means.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I don't think you know what 'all costs' means.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Even if you're going to do something at all costs, you don't immediately pay all the costs at the beginning. You wait until it becomes clear that you need to pay each cost.

    Right now it looks like Assad is doomed, so the drones aren't going in yet. If things change -- like they did when Gadaffi was marching on Benghazi -- that's going to change too.

  • Randian||

    I mean, the word 'intent' (meaning, of course, unactualized plans) is right there in the sentence. I guess that it needs a superfluous "u" in order for Cytotoxic to read it.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    The Grand Army of the International Community is marching as we speak. I think they have a conference in Istanbul this week and then another summit in Paris or The Hague.

    Where ever the whores are good and the per diem is paying - there you will find the "International Community" talking seriously and making serious pronouncements.

  • Lyle||

    Haha... "at all costs" is comical. The U.S. isn't even going to invade Syria and very likely won't bomb Syria unless Obama utilizes the "Bush Doctrine".

    Hahahaha.

  • Almanian.||

    My fucking God you're an idiot.

    Do come back again. For the lulz.

  • Lyle||

    So you think Obama will invade or bomb Syria? How will he get the UN Security Council to unanimously agree to such action?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    We haven't sent a drone in YET.

    I believe the point is that if it looks like Assad is going to win, the interventionist fools will throw the kitchen sink in. Same process as what happened in Libya. We weren't sending in air missions to destroy Gadaffi's forces on the day the rebelliion started.

  • Lyle||

    Not going to happen.

    It would have already happened by now (the violence in Syria is much, much worse). Obama had a UN Security Council resolution against Qaddafi, which he won't be able to get against Assad because Russia is supporting him.

  • Lewisite||

    The Russians are kinda funny about holding on to Tartus (their only Med seaport).

  • Tulpa Doom||

    As I noted below, the Tartus base is obsolete and in poor condition from 20 years of neglect. They would need to pour massive sums of money into it to make it usable for state of the art naval ships. And they'd still be dependent on Syria for their landward security, which doesn't strike me as an attractive position to be in.

  • ||

    However, the international community is seemingly intent on Assad being removed at all costs

    As a non-interventionist I think we can all agree Feeney is terrible.

  • PapayaSF||

    I will admit that the thought of an extended Syrian civil war draining the coffers of Russia and killing jihadis is somewhat appealing.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Like I said, all we need to do is kick back and relax. There is no way Assad can win. He is losing a base or two everyday. Whatever Syria becomes, it may not be our or Israels friend, but it will be burning with hatred for Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

  • R C Dean||

    The end game, I believe, is a divided Syria, with the Assadists holed up where their tribe is based (I believe that's also where the Russians have a naval base, conveniently for everyone), and the rest of the country getting some Muslim Brotherhood, good and hard (if history is any guide).

  • PapayaSF||

    The Kurds might get a piece, too.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I believe you're talking about the Tartus base, which is in pretty bad shape from being neglected and occasionally abandoned for 20 years. According to da wiki:

    The Russian naval facility can only accommodate four medium sized vessels if both of its 100 meter long floating piers located on the inside of the northern breakwater are operational. It is not capable of hosting any of the Russian Navy's current major warships which range in length from the 129 meter Neustrashimyy frigate through the 163 meter Udaloy destroyer, and much less cruisers such as the 186.4 meter Slava class, the 252 meter Kirov class, and the 305 meter Kuznetsov class. The facility can and has supported auxiliary vessels which are smaller than the warships.

    Apparently a few small Russian ships have paid visits there during the civil war but probably not enough to influence it.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Well, "leading from behind" worked so well in Libya, I guess we are trying it again? Do just enough to oust Assad, do nothing else effective afterward and wonder why things turned out so ... poorly.

    "Go Big" - not going to happen. "Go Home" - if Samantha Powers and Susan Rice OK it?

  • Pro Libertate||

    See, our strategy is to create a massive power vacuum, resulting in an empire forming in the region. Then we can have a new cold war, which is what everyone in Washington really wants, anyway.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Who gets to be the new ambassador to Syria?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'll do it if I can telecommute.

  • Almanian.||

    Sorry - we gonna need "boots Cole Haans on the ground"

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I nominate Susan Rice!

  • Enough About Palin||

    I'm wearing a pair right now. Black, capped-toe dress shoes. Damn comfortable.

    OT - saw the film Sin City last night. What a hoot!

    Also saw Sleeping Beauty (2011). Emily Browning is so damn hot!

  • pmains||

    Put on some mittens, and you won't have to worry about Cole Haans.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Nice. Sit with a copy of Arabic on Rosetta Stone (and a gin and tonic) and tell Johnny Arab to get his house in order!

  • Randian||

    I actually thought of someone sitting on the literal Rosetta Stone and laughed harder.

  • ||

    The Syrian opposition also includes Kurdish groups who have different motivations than other groups fighting for the downfall of Assad.

    Why even write this sentence if you are not going to tell us what those motivations are?

  • R C Dean||

    Since they are Kurds, I'm guessing "whiskey" and "sexy" are in play.

  • ||

    The US should push diplomatically for a ceasefire in Syria, a UN peacekeeping force (or one from some other neutral body), and an internationally monitored process of reconciliation and new elections.

    Assad does not need to be removed immediately, but rather there should be new elections (conducted by the UN, not the Syrian government) held all over Syria. Before the general elections, there could be a plebiscite on whether Assad is allowed to participate in the general election at all.

    Russia and China may be reluctant to accept a course of action that may lead to the end of Baath party rule, even eventually. To assuage their concerns, a Security Council resolution on the matter could stipulate that, regardless of election results, they get to preserve their economic interests in the country and the Russians can keep their naval base. (If the rebels don’t like this, we can explain that their other option is to go it alone without US or UN support.)

    The UN should also try to see to it that the side that wins the election is not permitted to simply massacre the losing side, or take away their free speech or ability to contest future elections. And it would be nice if the UN could secure the release of dissidents from Syria’s prisons/torture chambers once a ceasefire is implemented.

  • Lewisite||

    LOL..wut?

  • waaminn||

    Sometimes you just gotta roll with it dude.

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