Kofi Annan with Iranian Foreign Minister yesterday in Tehran
Photo by Vahid Salemi/AP
The Syrian uprising against the Bashar Assad regime has been going on and escalating for the last 16 months.
Atrocities allegedly committed by the regime and/or its sectarian Alawite allies and militias have escalated against the mostly Syrian Sunni majority population including women and children.
The cease fire worked out months ago by former U.N. head Kofi Annan is in shambles and the 300U.N. observer team has suspended their operations because of the excessive violence imperiling their mission.
The meeting in Geneva engineered by Annan in late June of the so called world powers failed to reach a consensus on ending the crisis as the proposal for a transition government resulted in a stalemate.
With that failure to achieve consensus, Annan met directly with Assad on Monday, then went to Iran on Tuesday, met with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi and reported from Tehran he received "encouragement and cooperation from the Iranian government" saying "Iran should be involved in seeking a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis", to which the Obama administration responded "Any Iranian participation would be counter productive," (Iran is a principal ally to the Assad regime and has been excluded from participating in any talks regarding Syria).
But here is the crux of the matter. With the American presidential election less than four months away, the Obama administration will do nothing that could be interpreted as being "soft on defense" and any consideration of including Iran in working out a solution to the Syrian crisis would almost certainly invite and incite the wrath of the American right wing reactionary Republicans and thus unimaginable these next four months.
This is not to say that Obama, if he were re-elected, would risk accepting Iran as an active partner in working to resolve the Syrian crisis, but that certainly isn't possible before the November elections.
With that in mind, the Syrian uprising will in all likelihood become more bloody, evolve into a sectarian civil war (if it hasn't already) and possibly spread into Lebanon, Iraq and the border area of Turkey where thousands of Syrian refuges are now encamped.
Unless supporters of the Assad regime, Russia, China and Iran are included in and agreeing to a viable solution in ending the Syrian crisis things will only deteriorate and get worse in that country.
There won't be any Libyan style NATO overthrow of the Assad regime. Qaddafi had no allies and was doomed. Not so with Assad. In fact Russia just announced it was sending 13 warships to conduct "training exercises and maneuvers" in the eastern Mediterranean off the Syrian coast and get resupplied with fuel, water and food at its base in Tartus, Syria. The Obama administration issued a muted response to the Russian move as "nothing out of the ordinary." Yet some might see it as a "message" to NATO and the Americans countering any thoughts of direct action on their part.
Assad's days in power may or may not be numbered. From here the judgment is nothing will happen to him until after the U.S. presidential election and Assad knows it.
After that, all bets are off.