GENERATING DIALOGUE – IMPACTING POLICY – FIKRA FORUM
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wrongfully underestimated the U.S. policy against intervening in any international conflicts; such a calculation was particularly due to U.S. indecision toward the latest crisis in Egypt[LE1] . [LE2] Assad had previously used chemical weapons on different occasions and the U.S. administration did not react in any way to deter the Syrian regime.
Meanwhile, Tehran and Washington have been trading press statements to kick off direct talks [in the context of the Iranian nuclear program]. The U.S. is likely concerned that any intervention in Syria would kill the chance to start the talks, and Assad took advantage of the timing. As for the rebels, they are achieving noticeable progress around Damascus after receiving sophisticated Saudi weapons.
Assad used chemical weapons to strike the rebels present around Damascus, and also in an attempt to achieve military progress on the ground—taking advantage of the terror generated by the chemical weapons based on his previous calculations.
Among the various reasons for a U.S. [military action] in Syria is that President Barack Obama personally warned Assad against using chemical weapons, [declaring it a “red line”]. Meanwhile, the Damascus regime prevented the [UN] inspectors from accessing the stricken areas [after the most recent chemical attack]. [LE3]
The U.S. will likely intervene to send a message to all countries in possession of such weapons that the act of using them is considered a red line in the international conventions and whoever employs them will be held accountable.
With regards to the magnitude and the nature of the U.S. [military action], this will depend on reports completed by the experts who are currently in Damascus. As for the strategic objective behind the [U.S.] intervention, we are hoping that it would be for the purpose of pushing Assad to accept the Geneva agreement and cede power.
U.S., Russia and Iran
In light of the latest complications that have befallen U.S.-Russia relations and the U.S. president’s refusal to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, this [military action] could be Washington’s chance to tell the Russians that they cannot block the U.S.
As for Iran, it has been involved in the [Syrian] struggle for two years and will not be able to do anything more than what it has already done; especially with [their new president] Hassan Rouhani in power.
*Atef al-Souri is a pseudonym used by the author for security reasons.
[LE1]This is not clear to me…I don’t see the U.S. stance toward Egypt being interventionist? Is he trying to say that latest events in Egypt have changed U.S. policy calculations in the region?
[LE2]Is this necessary? Potentially remove?
[LE3]This is the only part of this part that is unclear. I think he’s trying to say that the regime would have allowed UN inspectors through had the rebels used the chem weapons.