Caroline Alexander, at Bloomberg, delivers some bad news about Syria and its civil war:
... President Bashar al-Assad, whose government was last year described as close to collapse by groups ranging from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the armed opposition, may remain in power for years to come.
“The regime is still in place, strong and not going anywhere,” Julien Barnes-Dacey, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview. Widespread predictions of his demise reflected an “unwillingness to assess the regime’s strength, wishful thinking, a desire for a swift end, and a failure to recognize this is a civil war.”
This analysis may, of course, prove correct. And, then again, it may not. Experts have, now and then, been wrong in their predictions. But it may not make any difference where American interests are concerned. It seems almost undeniable that the U.S. has crafted a lose/lose policy when it comes to Syria. We oppose the regime ... but only to the point of supplying its opponents with "non-lethal" means of resistance. So, if the opposition should pull off the upset, it will have no reason to feel a special sense of gratitude for this tepid and late arriving support.
If, on the other hand, the regime should hang on ... well, it will know who its friends – and enemies – are, and can be expected to behave accordingly.
U.S. interests seem to be suffering and in retreat all across the region. The Arab Spring has turned to winter in Egypt. The opening that could have been achieved at such pain and expense in Iraq is going away as car bombs explode across the country. Iran has not softened.
So much for that "new beginning" of President Obama's.
Jonathan Spyer explains how Syrian president Bashar al-Assad may have the upper hand right now in Syria’s two-year-old conflict. “Regime forces have clawed back areas of recent rebel advance,” Spyer writes in the Jerusalem Post. “The government side, evidently under Iranian tutelage, has showed an impressive and unexpected ability to adapt itself to the changing demands of the war.”
And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians? They were, those people, a kind of solution.
How many times in the last century have these concluding lines of C. P. Cavafy’s famous 1898 poem, “Waiting for the Barbarians,” been quoted? How many modern intellectuals have pondered the subversive implications of that sophisticated question?
Yesterday Syrian president Bashar al-Assad commemorated Syria’s independence day with a television interview where he described the Syrian civil war as a colonial plot. Western powers, said Assad, “never accepted the idea of other nations having their independence. They want those nations to submit to them.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked at today's press briefing, in the context of the Boston bombings, whether U.S. bombings in Afghanistan last month that killed civilians were "terrorism." Carney gave a long answer, but never says "no."
Nick Turse wants us to know that the killing of civilians during the war in Vietnam was “widespread, routine, and directly attributable to U.S. command policies,” that “gang rapes were a . . . common occurrence,” that the running-over of civilians by American vehicle drivers was “commonplace,” and that the American military visited upon South Vietnam an “endless slaughter . . . day after day, month after month . . .
Ten years ago today, the day Baghdad fell to American troops, I wrote that with the downfall of Saddam Hussein, I finally felt free as a journalist to criticize the Iraqi regime under my own byline without fear of reprisal from Saddam’s henchmen in Beirut, where I then lived.
At the end of last month, Dennis Rodman, the eclectic former basketball star, hung out with Kim Jong-un, the leader of the rogue North Korean state. "I love him," Rodman would say of his new friend. "The guy is awesome. He was so honest."
Days after returning, on George Stephanopoulos's ABC show, Rodman delivered a message to President Barack Obama. "One thing he asked me to give Obama something to say and do one thing," said Rodman. "He wants Obama to do one thing, call him."
"He wants a call from President Obama?," the TV host asked.
As conservatives wrestle with the question of their movement’s commitment to national security, one young war veteran made the case for a strong national defense and Ronald Reagan’s entreaty that America pursue “peace through strength.” Speaking Thursday morning at CPAC, freshman congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas tried directly to appeal to those conservatives wary and weary of American wars against radical Islamic terrorists.