A few bright spots?

With the fall of Qusayr to Hezbollah and Syrian government military forces the tide seems to have turned against the military forces that are allied against the Assad dictatorship in Syria. With Assad solidly allied with Hezbollah, which has one of the best militaries in the Mideast, and with Iran and Russia its appears that the regime will win against its enemies. Syria will remain an enslaved nation.

However there are a few bright spots on the horizon. The appointment by the Obama administration this week of Susan Rice as National Security Advisor and of Samantha Power as US Representative to the United Nations is definitely good news. Samantha Powers has been the foremost spokesperson in the cause of fighting genocides and other crimes against humanity for over a decade now. Both she and Susan Rice were very influential in the decision by the Obama administration to create a no fly zone in Libya in 2011. And Rice herself has been a strong backer of the idea that nation states can not simply be permitted to slaughter their own peoples in a civilized world.

Another promising development has been in the nature of the support that Syrian opposition forces are receiving from the Arab world. Recently Qatar which has been a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, a major and in the West unacceptable player in the Syrian opposition, has been almost completely replaced by Saudi Arabia which is now the chief supplier of military aid to rebel forces. Given the conservative nature of the Saudi state one would think that they would support the most reactionary of the revolutionary forces in Syria. But on the contrary Saudi Arabia has in general supported the most moderate forces led by General Salim Idriss in opposition to the dictatorship. These forces within the Syrian Free Army are forces that the United States should be able to support if it cares at all.

The significance of President Obama’s recent appointment of Rice and Power and of the fact that moderate forces within the Syrian opposition may now begin to receive at least some of the aid they need from Saudi Arabia makes it quite possible that the Obama team will decide hopefully soon to begin to support the Syrian opposition forces with strong imputes of military aid and training. While this in itself may not be able to turn the tide against Assad, it will at least give the Syrian people some possibility of long term victory against the regime. It may give them at least a fighting chance and perhaps possibly redeem part of American honor which has been lost by its unwillingness to give meaningful support to the Syrian people in this conflict.

Glenn King