MESOP INSIGHT : A NEW U.S. STRATEGY TOWARDS SYRIA ?
WATCH THE SECRET “SYRIAN OPPOSITION’S TRANSITION PLAN”
Aaron David Miller’s analysis of Syria strategy through the lens of America’s aspirational engagement with Iran. Reuters saw a leaked copy of the Syrian opposition’s political transition plan, which lays out suggested steps toward a handover of power (while muzzling or at least avoiding mention of their demands for the immediate removal President Bashar al Assad).
There was no date set for a Geneva follow up meeting, no constructive engagement to build on. Trust between the regime and the opposition, already hovering around nil, fell further when it surfaced that Syria’s government had put some of the opposition negotiators on a terrorism blacklist, seizing their assets at home.
This in a week where Syria’s death toll topped 140,000 people, by activists counts. An extended humanitarian ceasefire in Homs did little for aid conditions at large; by Friday some 1,000 civilians were still trapped under siege in the Old City, after roughly 1,500 were evacuated, according to Sam Dagher of the Wall Street Journal. His Twitter feed from Syria offered live updates and color from the operation.
Barrel bombs, the Syrian government’s crudely-formed cluster munitions, continued to rain death on Aleppo. With a stated purpose to stop them, Saudi Arabia agreed to send antiaircraft missiles to Syrian rebel fighters (a move that U.S. Senator John McCain said was “about time”). Both Russia and Iran have strategic reasons to keep backing Assad, and both have said they have every intention to do so (as has Hezbollah)