Nir Rosen’s predictions for Syria

In the last installment of his interview with Al Jazeera, Nir Rosen says: The regime can survive for a long time, even if it steadily loses control of territory within the country. It is very unlikely that there will be any large-scale international military intervention. In Washington, there is a great deal of frustration. Zionists and advocates of the muscular use of US power, including several Republicans, are calling for Obama to arm the opposition. Even the neoconservatives are climbing out from under their rocks to call for a US military intervention. Fox News has seized on this cause too.

Contrary to conspiracy theories, until now the Obama administration has not made the policy decision to aid the opposition on the ground, as far as I know, let alone provide it with weapons. US and European officials who would like to intervene in Syria complain that there is no “silver bullet” or easy option for them. They don’t even know who to support inside Syria. The exiled opposition, such as the Syrian National Council, are too busy fighting among themselves and too disconnected from events on the ground, so the outside powers do not even have a convenient local collaborator or proxy to deal with. They also complain that the SNC has completely failed to reach out to minorities, especially Alawites. They agree that opponents of the regime will have to pry Alawite community from the administration. The Alawite pillar must be removed, they say. The United States, like the United Kingdom, reportedly has envoys among the Syrian opposition. It is only a question of time, in my opinion, before the SNC is officially recognised by them as the main interlocutor, but they are pressuring the SNC to get its act together first.

One more factor militating against US support for a hasty collapse of the regime is the fear over Syria’s vast chemical weapons arsenal as well as its tens of thousands of portable anti-aircraft missiles and anti-armour missiles. The US will as always be sensitive to Israeli concerns on this proliferation issue as well. It’s always better to have a postal address where to retaliate if you want deterrence to work. While foreign intervention of one kind or another is probably inevitable (regardless of whether it is desirable), those countries who would be most likely to intervene are ill-prepared.

Turkey has certainly become more influential in the region, but the United States foreign service probably has more Arabists in its embassy in Cairo than in the entire Turkish foreign policy establishment. The Turks are not yet prepared for their new role in the region, lacking experts and Arabic speakers, which limits their ability to intervene. On their own, Jordan or Turkey cannot give enough support to the opposition to make a difference, and an international coalition appears difficult to cobble together without the opposition being strengthened.

Israeli intelligence does not deserve the reputation it has. Its academia and foreign policy establishment lack real experts, given their Zionist bias, an inability to conduct field work and a tendency to view the Arab world through Orientalist or military prisms. The days when the Israelis could field Arab Jews who were fluent in the language and could pass as locals are long over. Israeli intelligence has suffered a string of humiliations in Lebanon in recent years. Likewise, US intelligence has recently been humiliated in Lebanon – and given its poor performance in Iraq and Afghanistan, it should not intimidate the Syrian regime. So, for the various countries who will want to play a role, there is no easy entry point. [Continue reading…]

See also, the earlier segments of Rosen’s interview: “Daily life in Syria,” “Syrian sectarianism,” “Syria’s protest movement,” and “Syria’s armed opposition.”

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3 thoughts on “Nir Rosen’s predictions for Syria

  1. ana souri

    Mr. Woodward continues to publish op eds from Al Jazeera. These exerpts from an OP ed from Al Akhbar shows how Al Jazeera is the mouthpiece of Qatari rulers who have become puppets of the US.

    “The major find to be made public was an email exchange between anchorwoman Rula Ibrahim and Beirut-based reporter Ali Hashem. The emails seemed to indicate widespread disaffection within the channel, especially over its coverage of the crisis in Syria.

    Ibrahim wrote to her colleague saying that she had “turned against the revolution” in Syria after realizing that the protests would “destroy the country and lead to a civil war.” She went on to deride the opposition Free Syrian Army, which she described as “a branch of al-Qaeda.”

    Ibrahim also complained about the attitudes of various colleagues at the channel’s Doha headquarters, saying some of them “have refused to greet me ever since the outbreak of events in Syria because they hold a grudge against my sect.”

    Al Jazeera staffers were relieved that the email exchange had been leaked, “because it exposed the station’s biased and unprofessional coverage Syria.

    They also confirmed an allegation Ibrahim had reportedly made in one of her emails: That Ahmad Ibrahim, who is in charge of the channel’s Syria coverage, is the brother of Anas al-Abdeh, a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council. He allegedly stopped using his family name to avoid drawing attention to the connection.

    To read the full text;

  2. Paul Woodward

    If you regard everything that appears at Al Jazeera as unreliable, then you should likewise not rely on anything appearing on Al Akhbar.

    Sharmine Narwani, Ben White, Noam Chomsky, Jillian York, and many others have op-eds appearing at both Al Akhbar and Al Jazeera.

    Nir Rosen is one of the best independent journalist operating in the Middle East today. He has spent longer and traveled more widely in Syria in recent months than just about any other foreign reporter. He is courageous and insightful. In Al Akhbar, As’ad AbuKhalil praises Rosen’s reporting. To dismiss his perspective just because it’s being published by Al Jazeera is plain dumb!

  3. delia ruhe

    There are forces at work here determined to deliver the whole of the Middle East to Israel, as promised in that PNAC article, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” — and now would be a good time to do it, they figure, since Obama has proved himself terrified of the Lobby’s ability, backed by its sycophants in Congress, to launch a program to destroy his re-election hopes.

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