David Cameron tried at the G8 leaders’ summit to create “a clarifying moment” that would pave the way for a Syrian peace conference, by setting out the terms those present should agree on as the basis for a transition to a government after Bashar al-Assad’s departure.
A failure to reach consensus at the summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, British officials warned, might well represent the last chance for a peace to end the bloody two-year civil war in Syria that has claimed more than 90,000 lives. It comes as pressure is mounting for western countries to arm the rebels.
Here’s my ugly American take on Syria, tell me where I’m wrong:
- The biggest urgency here is the Brits’ desire to appear as a relevant player in world affairs.
- Assad has nowhere to go, so he’s fighting to the death, with help from his buddies Iran and Russia.
- This is an urban conflict so no-fly zones, tanks, heavy artillery and all the other GI Joe fantasies aren’t going to make much difference.
- The group that replaces Assad will probably hate the US and Israel as much as Assad did, or more.
- Nothing we do will change the fact that more Syrians are going to die.
It’s not a pretty picture, and I don’t see any smart move other than keeping out.