Landis and Heydemann on PBS News Hour Discuss Diplomatic and Military Options

Watch Syrian Instability: How Would Rest of World Respond? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Ray Suarez discusses other countries’ diplomatic and military options and the mounting pressure on Assad’s regime with the University of Oklahoma’s Joshua Landis and Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute of Peace.

Many readers have asked me to post the location of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria:
Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria
for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012

The US embassy was closed today. Its many Syrian employees are now looking for jobs. I got to know many of them over the years. They were always professional, welcoming and kind. More and more businesses are being shuttered.

Col. Adnan al-Asaad, the Colonel who claims to lead the Free Syrian Army, says on the BBC that the Syrian National Council are traitors who have done nothing for the Syrian people. He claims that they have given no material or political support to the military effort.

Hillary Clinton warns of ‘brutal civil war’ in Syria, By PATRICK J. MCDONNELL – Los Angeles Times

Mufti of  Lebanon calling for Jihad in Syria.

Syrian Kurdish Leader Claims Western Powers Will Support Kurds – 06/02/2012

ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — Abdulhakim Bashar, the head of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), said he has obtained international guarantees for the rights of Kurds in Syria after the fall of Bashar Assad’s regime.

Bashar told Rudaw that his council has the support of America, Britian and France. His claims were not independently verified.

Bashar said the KNC has had talks with the British, French and American foreign ministries last month.

“Officials at the British foreign ministry said that they would support the demands of the Kurds in Syria and that they would try to organize the KNC like the SNC.” Bashar said.

Bashar added, “We told the British officials that we are concerned that the Arab-dominated SNC (Syria National Council) may ignore our rights in the future, but they assured us that they will pressure any future Syrian government to recognize the rights of the Kurds and Christians.”

Bashar said he also received reassurances from French and US State Department officials that they would support Kurdish rights if Bashar al-Assad’s regime falls. A senior US official said the US would impose sanctions on Syria if Kurdish rights are not recognized.

Bashar said he is negotiations with the SNC to form a united alliance, but the SNC so far has not accepted the Kurdish rights to self-determination in the new Syria.

In birthplace of Syria’s uprising, a fragile military control, By Alice Fordham, February 5, Washington Post

Would Turkey intervene in Syria?
by EMRE USLU in Zaman

Recently, the Syrian regime has increased its operations against the opposition. The death toll has risen to such an unbearable level that the international community wants to step in. Yet, the UN is incapable of passing a resolution because Syria is strategically important for both Iran and Russia, and Russia has the right to veto resolutions before the UN Security Council.

The other option for stopping the bloodshed is NATO. However, there are obstacles before NATO, too. Who would lead the NATO coalition forces is one of the main questions. In Libya, it was France that led the coalition forces, yet when it comes to Syria, Turkey does not want France to play a similar role because Turkey considers Syria its own backyard. Second, delicate balances in Lebanon prevent France from taking bold steps.

Thus, the only feasible options before the international community are a US intervention and Turkey’s intervention with the Arab League. The US is less likely to intervene in 2012 because US politics are mainly being shaped by the upcoming elections, so the Obama administration would likely not open a new front in Syria. The only remaining option in this case is Turkey.

Turkey is against outside intervention in Syria. However, the level of bloodshed in Syria has created anger among the Turkish public towards Syria that may lead the government to reconsider its initial policies.

Even if Turkey changes its position and is willing to intervene in Syria, Turkey would not form a collation with the Arab League to conduct such a military operation. There are two reasons for this. First, the Turkish political elite have a deep distrust of the West, especially since the EU abandoned Cyprus and left Turkey alone in many cases. Hence, Turkey would not intervene in Syria because the Turkish political elite think that such action would backfire and open new doors for other countries to intervene in Turkey’s domestic affairs if the Kurdish question gets out of control. For Turkey, there must be international recognition that international force is needed prior to intervention. It seems that US policy makers are trying to build a coalition that consists of the Arab League and Turkey, but this is not enough for Turkey to intervene.

Second, Turkey has its own fears. Especially Iranian influence over some proxy organizations in Turkey and Bashar al-Assad’s influence on Turkey’s Alevi community make Turkey think twice when it comes to a military intervention in Syria. (*** See note below about Turkey’s Alevi community) Pro-Iranian Turkish journalists, for instance, have threatened Turkey, stating Turkey’s Alevi community is unhappy with Turkey’s policies regarding Syria. There is evidence of this threat as Alevi journalists and intellectuals have been harshly criticizing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s policies. Thus, for domestic reasons, too, Turkey is not likely to intervene.

The only way Turkey would intervene would be if the conflict gets out of control and refuges pour into Turkey, if Turkish public anger reaches a level that the Turkish government has to intervene and if Turkey is allowed to lead NATO forces with the support of the Arab League.

Comments (275)

Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 [6] Show All

251. Halabi said:

Did Assad’s military give warning to civilians in Khalidia, Baba Amr and Inshaat to vacate the areas because they are going to start shelling them? Did they set up refugee camps for them to relocate to and transportation to get them out?

No. The regime said the violence, all the rockets and fire that’s killing dozens of people a day, is from armed gangs. The entire regime is a criminal organization which has supported terrorists abroad and tortured Syrians for decades.

Menhebaks are cheering the death and destruction, which is disgusting. From the first day you blamed the deaths of protesters on armed gangs and called them terrorists. Every day that you continue this position amplifies the hate and moves us further from a solution.

But the truth is we have different views of this solution. Menhebaks want the final solution, constantly calling for the hasm askari and striking with an iron fist. Assad is delivering on your demands. Our sole demand, freedom, is still deferred.

Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

February 8th, 2012, 3:47 pm


252. Tara said:


Bronco, I am in my thirties. It makes me smile when you talk to me like a school child, especially when you use a monotonous emotion in the face of a boiling mixture of anger, rage, and sorrow. As a matter of fact, I am used to entirely the opposite where all sort of people from all sort of social strata take my opinion very seriously. Nevertheless, I don’t mind your style at all..

Anyhow, I will “drop” this particular conversation as you suggested. it is not going anywhere. I guess history when it pins down Homs massacre, it will validate either your opinion or mine… that of course if we believe in history.

I am still working on a reply to a previous post.

Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

February 8th, 2012, 4:02 pm


253. bronco said:

Halabi #254

“Did Assad’s military give warning to civilians in Khalidia, Baba Amr and Inshaat to vacate the areas because they are going to start shelling them?”

These areas have been under the illegal control (‘protection’) of the militias for a while, the regular army had no access to them and no way to evacuate the civilians trapped there unless the militias asked for it.
It is the responsibility of the militias to ask for a truce so they can vacate the civilians to a safer zone.
Did they even tried? Did they ever think about that?

By ignoring the civilian safety and keeping them as hostages and human shields they are acting not as noble revolutionist but as common terrorists.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 14

February 8th, 2012, 4:03 pm


254. bronco said:


“As a matter of fact, I am used to entirely the opposite where all sort of people from all sort of social strata take my opinion very seriously.”

I am glad I had the privilege of challenging that.

Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

February 8th, 2012, 4:10 pm


255. zoo said:

Russia says it offers alternative path to peace in Syria
Some Russian experts argue that the Russian initiative is doomed because key players – mainly the US and the Arab League – are determined to see Assad removed in order to destroy Syria’s alliance with Iran, and they will not accept any outcome that falls short of that result.

“Even if Lavrov and Assad could agree to a democratic transition, we will not see a favorable response from the opposition, and we’ll continue to see the US dismiss any chance of peaceful dialogue working,” says Dmitry Suslov, an expert with the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, an influential, independent Moscow think tank.

“The US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia see in this Syrian mess a chance to break Damascus’s alliance with Iran, and see that as an important precondition to isolating Iran. It’s much bigger than just Syria,” he says.

“This is very much the official Russian view of what’s going on, and that’s why Moscow holds out little hope that its diplomatic initiatives will succeed. The West will tell the opposition not to participate, and the violence will escalate. Ultimately, this is all about Iran,” says Mr. Suslov.

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8

February 8th, 2012, 4:14 pm


256. Tara said:


“I am glad I had the privilege of challenging that.”

Anyone can attempt…successfully or unsuccessfully!  Credit is not due unless we agreed on the success.

Do you not like the name Tara? Should I change it to another name.. say…Reem? or Hatahet?

Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

February 8th, 2012, 4:24 pm


257. Halabi said:


No one is trapped. I haven’t heard anything about people trying to leave Homs and being blocked by the “militias.” If you have evidence of this please post it.

Shelling cities to capture or kill lightly armed “militias” is what a terrorist army does. Collective punishment is not justified.

Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

February 8th, 2012, 4:24 pm


258. ann said:

Egypt’s PM says US threats to cut aid won’t work – 1 hr 22 mins ago

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt refused to back down Wednesday in a dispute with the U.S. over Cairo’s crackdown on nonprofit groups despite Washington’s threats to cut aid, while the military deployed troops to the nation’s streets after a surge in violence and protests against its rule.

Egypt’s official MENA news agency said the army was deploying more troops to reinforce the police, restore security and state “prestige.” The move comes in the wake of a deadly soccer riot last week that sparked days of clashes between the police and protesters. At least 89 people were killed in a week of violence.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

February 8th, 2012, 4:25 pm


259. ann said:

U.S. officials, analysts say Syria intervention unlikely, as Pentagon mulls options – 2 hrs 12 mins ago

Even as top American officials say they have no plans for military intervention in Syria, the Pentagon is reportedly reviewing its options for involvement as the death toll continues to mount in Syria’s country’s ten-month crackdown.

Still, American officials and analysts said talk of any Libya-style military intervention in Syria is highly premature.

“Obama, Rice, Clinton have ruled out military intervention,” former Pentagon Syria and Lebanon analyst David Schenker told Yahoo News Wednesday. Reports that the Pentagon is reviewing Syria options “make it sound like they are doing something. It doesn’t strike me as a serious threat” to use force, he said.

“The Pentagon is constantly reviewing plans, taking plans off the shelf, looking at them, honing them, updating them,” Schenker continued.

“Syria is a lot more complicated,” Schenker said, noting its borders with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Israel, and its stockpile of anti-aircraft weapons.

“It would be a far more complex operation. And you have to take into account the concerns of whether this would complicate matters for Jordan’s King Abdullah,” among other factors, he added.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

February 8th, 2012, 4:31 pm


260. bronco said:

260. Halabi said:
“No one is trapped. I haven’t heard anything about people trying to leave Homs and being blocked by the “militias.”

You obviously have no clue or even imagination of what must be the terror of the civilians in the areas occupied by the militias. Unless there is a truce and they are protected, no one will attempt to move from where he/she is hiding. It is up to the militias to act.
They are not ‘blocked’ by the militias but the militias are not helping them to get out and ignoring them as they prefer to continue their ‘noble’ resistance at the costs of innocent lives.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

February 8th, 2012, 4:43 pm


261. Juergen said:

Aktham Suliman the german correspondent of Al Jazeera made an interview with the german inforadio station.

I dont share his view, but i think its worthwhile to share that not all aljazeera reporters seem to have the same opinion about Syria.

In the interview he said that:

-there are deaths caused by both sides, and no political perspective is put out by the opposition nor the west
-it is true to 50% what the west is saying, but there is also an other 50% of what is not true, the west just shows the side they want to hear, the one which is against Assad
-same applies to the regime, 50% of what they say its a lie
-if the west wants to justify an war, then it is clear why we see all this violence and the killing
-why has the west tried on the backs of the syrians to get a vote in the security council if it was obvious that they would not get it through
-you have to include those countries with influence in syria to solve the problem, its China and Russia
-he hopes that Lavrov came to Syria with an solution which would include European and US views, he hopes that Lavrov does not make the same mistake the west did when they asked for an vote of just their version
-it does not matter if Assad stays or not, all this time we hear that if only Assad would step aside then there would be peace, and that is not true. In reality this country of 25 mio people is at the brink of an civil war.

the interview is in german

Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

February 8th, 2012, 4:50 pm


262. jad said:

Today we learned that terrorists don’t like ‘Education’ and now we are learning that they don’t like SPORT either, they blow up the gymnasium/sport arena in Alarastan:
“مجموعة إرهابية مسلحة تفجر مبنى الصالة الرياضية بمدينة الرستن في ريف حمص دون وقوع ضحايا”

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

February 8th, 2012, 4:58 pm


263. irritated said:

#264 Juergen

That is generous of you to share exceptionally an opinion diametrally opposed to yours… is it because he is German?

Please don’t throw flowers on Al Jazeera yet. Let’s wait to see that correspondant making the same declarations on Al Jazeera TV.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

February 8th, 2012, 5:41 pm


264. Juergen said:


I know that he is Syrian, i dont know if he holds a german passport.

Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

February 8th, 2012, 5:44 pm


265. Darryl said:

194. TARA said:

“Dear Bronco,

You are touching a tender tendon. I am working half a day today. I really want to explore this further after work so see you then.”

I may be late here as you may have already wasted this half day writing circular arguments, but I would like to suggest that you spend this half day or another half day for that matter, reading history and get to know your faith a bit more. I have a few suggestions if you are interested.

Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

February 8th, 2012, 6:22 pm


266. Syrialover said:

192. irritated wrote on the ruthless liar-adviser Miss Jaafari:

“I find nothing unusual in the emails. I guess Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, CNN and BBC if hacked would have even more fascinating ones. I guess this is the normal job of a professional PR.
In any case if Haaretz is the only reference, I would be a bit suspicious”

Two things. One, what’s the BBC and CNN etc got to do with what we are talking about? Jaafaari is another situation and planet altogether. We are talking about her role in the BIG LIE here, the historical denial on a world stage by a dictator, war criminal and probable genocidist, which is that the Syrian regime had not killed any Syrian people and there are no Syrians opposing the government, only foreign infiltrators.

Second, if those sickening emails were all an Israeli forgery, Miss Jaafari would have made vehement denials and the media would have trumpeted them. This revelation has permanently destroyed her credibility and acceptance in the west, and probably her right to live there. Plus helped seal her father’s post-Assad fate.

She now has the stain of the Syrian regime permanently on her face and passport, which will in future make her unwelcome in any civilized country. Again, if she was wrongly linked to those emails why isn’t she using her PR spin skills for front page denials and telling her story on TV to Barbara Walters?

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

February 9th, 2012, 12:27 am


267. Juergen said:

BILD is the leading newspaper in Germany when it comes to sales, its a mix out of News of the world and sun, widely read sometimes a bit nasty. They have a writer who writes open letters to everyone and everything,so this time he choosed to address Asma Al Assad

Dear Asma al-Assad,
“Vogue,” described you as “A Rose in the Desert”, glamorous, young and very chic. You are the wife of the butcher of Syria.
You wear shoes and bags from Christian Louboutin (10 000 euros). You are befriended with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Her husband shoots his own people. Homs is the third largest city of Syria, it is supposed to be a lake of blood, even children were massacred.
I do not understand your love for the butcher. You are born in London, your father is a famous Syrian cardiac surgeon. You have studied French literature and computer science.
You have two degrees . You got your first job at Deutsche Bank. You are the most modern woman I can imagine, multilingual, English, German, French.
I wonder how one can a wise, wonderful woman embrace a murderer. How can you kiss a murderer.
Is love stronger than murder? I get sick by this thought. Eva Braun also kissed Hitler.
F. J. Wagner

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

February 9th, 2012, 1:29 am


268. Tara said:


I get sick by the thought too.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

February 9th, 2012, 6:30 am


269. SC Moderation said:

Jad asked the moderator:

Is the ugly sectarian language accepted now on SC?

We all want Syria Comment free from

Personal attacks against other contributors;

— Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;

Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;

Here are some suggestions for usage from recent comments and from Joshua Landis and Robert Fisk. Please do not use sectarian labels over-broadly in order to provoke angry reactions. Avoid broad and persistent sectarian generalizaions (avoid, please, “your terrorist friends”). If Alawites are to be mentioned, use reasonable language. Do NOT personalize discussion.

OK Joshua Landis: Hafiz was smart enough not to try to cross the religious establishment, as both his brothers frequently did. He understood the delicacy of religion in Syria. Rather than try to convert Sunnis to Shiism, which would have inflamed the Syrian population even more than it was already inflamed by having an Alawite president, he encouraged Alawites to Sunnify and become more main stream. He set the example himself by going to mosque, admonishing leading Alawite shaykhs to renounce publicly any exaggerated devotion to Ali, and to observe the five pillars of Islam. Even if many Alawites understood Hafiz’s religious observance to be motivated by politics, so what? The point is that he was not trying to take Sunnis out of the fold. On the contrary, he sought to make Alawites behave more like Sunnis.

OK Robert Fisk: The destruction of the Alawite-led government in Syria

XXX outlawed, 3alawi forces.

XXX shelling by outlawed Assad Alawi forces on Sunni civilian neighbourhoods.

XXX Alawi soldiers

CAUTION Alawi officers withdraw to the caves

XXX Alawi army loots the neighbourhood

XXX The Alawi army is shelling Homs Sunni neighbourhoods from 5 to 10 km distance!

CAUTION “She was used as a media emissary by the regime to the West because she grew up in London, and as an emissary for the Alawite rulers because she came from a Sunni family.”

CAUTION “The fact is you, like most Alawis will disbelieve what you fear to believe; the stigma of being associated with a community who perpetrated, supported, or acquiesced and benefited from decades of power abuse and crimes against humanity by the Assad-Makhlouf regime!

CAUTION Your Alawis mates monopolize its highest paid jobs and all of its proceeds.

OK I do not represent the Alawis so stop talking to me as if I am their chief.

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

February 9th, 2012, 3:36 pm


270. irritated said:


“F. J. Wagner”

I don’t know who this person is but she needs serious psychological help.
BILD is TABLOID. I congratulate you for your choice of readings.

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

February 9th, 2012, 3:50 pm


271. Antoine said:

107. SANDRO LOEWE said :

Obama doesn’t care shit what happens to Homs, anyway he is convinced by the pro-regime opposition that FSA is infiltrated by Al Qaida and that Homs is crawling with Al Qaida. Trust me, Obama is fully convinced that negotiations can start only after the FSA has been totally eradicated, which means not until the end of this decade atleast.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

February 9th, 2012, 3:57 pm


272. irritated said:

#265 Syria lover

“Two things. One, what’s the BBC and CNN etc got to do with what we are talking about? Jaafaari is another situation and planet altogether. We are talking about her role in the BIG LIE here”,

First I am exactly talking about the BIG LIE too that these medias are carrying that ALL syrians want Bashar out, ALL Syrians hate him, that ALL Syrians love the SNC etc.. etc…

Second please leave Mrs Jaafari manage her own life and career and don’t dump your hysteria on any one disagreeing with YOUR TRUTH

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

February 9th, 2012, 4:00 pm


273. irritated said:


Your favorite reading and the one that you say most germans enjoy is also in English, let your fans on SC enjoy it too.
Latest title:.

[NOTE — please do not personalize discussion ]

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

February 9th, 2012, 4:03 pm


274. zoo said:

In Egypt the American University is accused of being a tool in the hand of the USA to plot against Egypt

Just days before a general strike called by protesters goes into effect, another U.S.-affiliated institution, the American University in Cairo, came under scrutiny and accusation by the military rulers as an instigator of unrest.

A Facebook page affiliated with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces hinted that the university, operating in Egypt since 1919, was the latest tool of the U.S. administration and its security agencies to weaken Egypt. The site is not the official page of the council, but often reflects its views.

AUC students had announced they will be taking part in the rolling general strike starting Saturday. The Facebook page said university students are campaigning for the strike, implementing a foreign plot with Egyptian hands. Most of the university students are upper class Egyptians.

“Is the American University in Cairo one of the tools of the U.S. administration and its different security agencies to work inside the country and take part in the plot to topple Egypt and occupy it by 2015,” the statement said.

Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

February 9th, 2012, 5:43 pm


275. zoo said:

Lavrov expects Turkey to convince the FSA ( not the SNC ?) to enter into negotiations with Bashar Al Assad
Reading between the lines of a pile of rather confusing reports on the Erdoğan-Medvedev conversation and Lavrov’s talk with al-Assad, it becomes obvious that he asked Erdoğan and other Western leaders elsewhere to use their clout to convince both al-Assad and the rebel Free Syrian Army to engage in meaningful and probably proxy negotiations aimed at reaching a compromise resolution along the lines of the Arab League’s November plan.

Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

February 9th, 2012, 5:54 pm


Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 [6] Show All

Post a comment