Wednesday, 18 October 2017

How Assad’s Enemies Gave Up on the Syrian Opposition

Aron Lund ('How Assad’s Enemies Gave Up on the Syrian Opposition' The Century Foundation October 17th 2017) presents an account of how the attempts by so-called 'friends of Syria' from 2011 onwards to interfere in Syria to topple assad led to the outbreak of the current civil war there and the humanitariabn problems that this crated. In its heyday the US support for anti-Assad rebels, arms program 'Timber Sycamore' quickly grew into one of the most expensive covert programs in CIA history, spending about a billion dollars per year by 2015. Not surprisingly:
Official U.S. strategy was now to weaken Assad so much that he would agree to give up power, yet not so much that civilian or military institutions broke down or large cities were overrun by jihadis. But Syria was no computer game. The CIA and its on-the-ground implementers, an unwieldy cohort of rival regional intelligence bosses and rebel fixers, could not fine-tune insurgent activity to achieve predictable effects, nor could they rewrite the social and ideological landscape of rebel-held Syria by remote control. [...] Using a chaotic, hundred-headed Sunni guerrilla force to tweak the Syrian president’s personal cost-benefit analysis of a political transition was like trying to perform heart surgery with a chainsaw, and blood soon spurted all over the map.
Then, disgracefully, the 'friends' abandoned Syria to the bloodbath they had themselves instigated by their own naive political miscalculations. A thought-provoking read.

Vignette: Dirty trees, the American Sycamore

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