Friday, 8 July 2011

"What could we do militarily to knock out Assad? just missile strikes?..."

... So What Can and Should Be Done?

This week I put the question to Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy...
His solution involves beefing up sanctions, in particular on Syria's energy sector, and working with the opposition inside Syria and abroad in order to ratchet up the pressure on Assad. A military option, he says is unlikely to garner much support internationally or to succeed in changing Assad's behavior. Tabler says the recent experience in Libya has soured global opinion on the use of military intervention to defend civilians against a regime's violence. The NATO operation in Libya is in its fourth month and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi maintains a grip on power despite daily bombing runs on his defenses.... a military operation in Syria could face the same problems.
"It is unclear exactly what could we do militarily that would actually knock out the regime. Would it require just missile strikes? I think it would require more than that. So what would it be? Would it be an invasion? Are we prepared to invade Syria?" ...
Yet despite the failure to move any condemnation through the U.N. Security Council, where perennial roadblocks Russia and China have scuttled efforts to pressure Syria, Tabler says global condemnation has historically affected the regime's actions and suggests international opposition may disappear if the crackdown continues.
"As the massacres go on and the Syrian regime doesn't come up with a good plan to deal with them, Russian, Chinese, and Indian opposition to pressuring Syria could melt away," he says.
Is There Anything Washington Could Do on Its Own to Budge Assad?
Tabler says the regime is only concerned with its survival. "As long as you threaten his survival, if you make it as hard as him as possible, and you have to be ruthless at that, as is he is with us, then I think you'll start seeing him move," he says.
And what does "ruthless" mean?
"Ruthless would be not just saying, for example, we're supporting the Syrian opposition conference, we said it was a good first step. That's fine, that doesn't mean we let up on the pressure on the energy sector for example or diplomatically. We play both at the same time. You have to pressure and engage fruitfully at the same time," Tabler says.
To that end he advocates expanding sanctions on Syria to include measures against the lucrative petroleum industry which he says is the source of up to a third of the government's revenue. "There's more they can be doing on energy and they need to accelerate that. We just need to follow through on it. We shouldn't hesitate,"..."

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

No comments: