For the first Caravan symposium we take up the ordeal of Syria, now nearly a full year into a terrible struggle between a dictatorial regime and a rebellion determined to overthrow it. What can be done about Syria?
The Assad regime is certainly a brutal and merciless regime when it comes to stifling any internal dissent or throwing its weight around neighboring countries. Few have forgotten the multipronged misery caused to the Lebanese by Syria’s nearly three-decade long occupation of
The cruel violence that the Assad regime is directing against the Syrian population has elicited words of condemnation across the world. Fleeing the wrath of the Syrian military, refugees have poured over the borders into Jordan, Lebanon and, especially, Turkey.
“Blowback” is the decades-old term coined by CIA officers to describe what happens when a covert operation produces forces that return to harm those who set it in motion. The textbook example of “blowback” in living memory has been U.S.
Although Bashar al-Assad could still kill off the revolt against his tyranny, it seems increasingly unlikely. The rebellion today is far larger—geographically and numerically—than the rebellion of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in Hama in 1982.
Not in a million years would I ever imagine using that headline, “Turks are from Mars, Americans are from Venus” – but that was precisely the title of my column last week [in Milliyet] on Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
History is not such a great mystery that its equations are beyond human reach. With regime change, what matters are the mathematics of pain and the mathematics of bullets. Pain is alleviated by cash, hope, and desperation. Bullets only come with cash.
In the matter of Syria, the moral simplicity and clarity have been overwhelmed by overthinking the strategic complications – always the companion and the alibi for passivity. The Assad tyranny is living on borrowed time, the very laws of gravity conspire against it. It may c