The Obama administration has begun planning how they’re going to prevent Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons from falling into terrorist hands. If they succeed, it’ll be the first time, and meanwhile, the president’s continuing flirtation with the Muslim Brotherhood is chilling the chances for any U.S./Russian cooperation on Syria:
A key problem, however, is that we have put our chips on Muslim Brotherhood groups and the brokerage of the Erdogan government in Turkey. That is a very bad policy move, one guaranteed to generate enemies (Russia, China, Iran) for our non-policy policy while giving nations like Saudi Arabia less reason to endorse our activities… If the U.S. policy were to fence in and discourage the Muslim Brotherhood, while bolstering liberalizing elements instead — elements that exist in every nation of the Middle East – we would make it more desirable for a nation like Russia to collaborate with us on the Syria problem.
The situation in Syria continues to get grimmer and grimmer as the bloody assault on Homs continues for a 20th straight day. A panel of three UN investigators has accused the Bashar al-Assad regime of crimes against humanity. News reports from Homs, including some by journalists who have died in the process of getting the news out, amply attest to the truth of these charges. Civilian neighborhoods are being shelled without mercy, and the victims have no way to get medical care.
It is difficult to see why the U.S., Britain, France and other nations–which acted last year when Muammar Qaddafi threatened to inflict a similar fate on Benghazi–sit on the sidelines today. The lack of a UN Security Council resolution, blocked by Bashar Assad’s friends in Moscow and Beijing, should hardly prevent the civilized nations of the world from acting as they did in Kosovo. No one suggests sending Western ground troops, but there is much that can still be done, ranging from air strikes to the establishment of safe zones policed by the Turkish army and the provision of arms to the Free Syrian Army, as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have been arguing for.