Tuesday, May 29, 2012
By Barry Rubin
Some of my readers are unhappy that I keep criticizing President Barak Obama and his government. The problem, however, is that this administration keeps doing terrible things in the Middle East. And the most damning evidence on these actions comes not from Obama’s enemies but from the administration itself and the supportive mass media.
Here’s the latest such item:
“U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out with Russia's Aid,” by Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, in the New York Times.
For almost three years, Obama insisted he would win over the Syrian dictatorship and make it America’s friend rather than Iran’s number-one ally. That was ludicrous. Forced by the uprising to back away from Damascus, the Obama Administration has spent almost a year bumbling about what to do.
The U.S. government’s main activity was to entrust to the Turkish Islamist regime the job of forming an umbrella Syrian opposition leadership. Not surprisingly, Ankara pursued its own interest by assembling a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated group, the Syrian National Congress. Though several members resigned, complaining of the radical Islamist control, the Obama Administration is still trying to force hostile oppositionists to join.
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Now a new and equally terrible policy is unveiled. I’ll let the New York Times’ reporters explain it:
“President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad under a plan that calls for a negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Assad's government in place. The success of the plan hinges on Russia, one of Assad's staunchest allies, which has strongly opposed his removal. Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Putin of Russia at their meeting next month. Obama's national security adviser raised the plan with Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.”
Good grief! There are four different acts of strategic insanity involved in this paragraph. They are:
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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.