Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight

So, now that the British and French have convinced the EU to lift an arms embargo off of Syria, (to arm “only” moderate anti-Bashar rebels, who have been relying on well-armed extremists in their ranks), Russia has stepped in with its first shipment of lethal long range S300 surface to air missiles to President Bashar‘s military.  Smart move?

After over seventy thousand have perished in this ugly civil war, Russia’s “involvement” certainly puts a cramp on a scheduled “peace conference” in June according to CNN

“While the ban will technically be lifted on Saturday, it is expected that the earliest EU countries would send weapons to the rebels would be August, so as not to imperil the prospects of a U.S. and Russian-brokered peace conference scheduled to take place in Geneva in June.”

It appears that no one---including John McCain, the folks at CNN, or the LA Times---had any idea that Russia was also playing this deadly game.  So much for John McCain’s sneaky surprise visit to the Rebel Commanders.  From the LA Times:

“LONDON — Diplomatic pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad escalated Monday, as a divided European Union agreed to relax a ban on weapons shipments to anti-Assad forces and U.S. Sen. John McCain met with insurgent commanders during a surprise visit to the country.
Meanwhile, top U.S. and Russian diplomats met in Paris in a bid to solidify plans for a peace conference that both nations view as the only hope for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis, which has already left tens of thousands of people dead and threatens to spark a regional conflagration. U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, have yet to set a date for the conference or announce who will be attending the session in Geneva.”

With the Russians now deploying serious air defense weapons into the hands of Bashar’s army, doesn’t this escapade, (Kerry and Sergei’s meeting) remind you of the peace talks between Japanese and U.S. diplomats while Yamamoto and Naqumo were steaming their aircraft carriers towards Pearl Harbor?  Putin has made no bones about supporting and arming the Syrian President, while President Obama remains about as committed as he was sending rescue troops into Benghazi.  (Oh wait, some one ordered our troops to stand down.)  This armchair general thinks Obama, McCain, and Kerry are all naïve enough to think supplying the rebels with weapons that won’t fall into al Qaeda, (or other radical jihadist) hands was the ticket to force  Bashar Assad to step down.  As I suggested in the title, a “knife fight” just doesn’t cut it when Putin and the Russians are passing out the “big guns”, and these three have been caught with their pants down……again.

Exit question: Does anyone in the State Department or in this administration really know what's going on here? Or, are they waiting to read about it in the newspapers.

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