Monday, June 17, 2013

Syria: Showdown time between the West and Putin

High noon at 10 Downing Street
Politicians are becoming more graphic in their descriptions of the warring sides in the Syrian civil war, with the latest spat leading to a shortened meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK and Russia's Putin:
Talks on the crisis in Syria between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin broke up Sunday amid “very serious differences.”
This week’s G8 summit at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, got off to the worst possible start as talks between the two leaders immediately stalled.
Putin refused to stop providing arms to Bashar al-Assad and rebuked Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama for aiding the rebels fighting the Syrian leader.
“You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras,” Putin said at a press conference. “Are these the people you want to support?”
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was equally blunt ahead of the G8 meeting, saying that Putin, Assad’s only big-power ally at the G8 table, was supporting thugs.
Cameron no doubt also had to answer pointed questions from the other attendees of the G8 about claims that the UK bugged phones and computers at an earlier G20 meeting.

With news that Saudi Arabia has now started supplying the Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles, another possible strike by Israel against Syria's anti-aircraft vehicles at the Damascus airport, and President Obama's decision to use the discovery some time ago of small quantities of sarin gas being  used by Syrian forces as a reason for arming the rebels, Syria is now descending into a conflict between Russian- and Iran-sponsored Shiite Syria, and West-sponsored Sunni rebels.

The imposition of a no-fly zone on the Syrian-Jordan border within days, will lead to mission creep and the inevitable increase of the no-fly zone, coupled by strikes within the rest of Syria by Western aircraft.

There will soon be Western missile strikes against command and control centres of the Syrian government, done to protect the no-fly zone, and boots on the ground, done to do the same.

Syria's government is unlikely to survive this new open warfare stage.

And chances of a continuation of strife between warring rebels within Syria are very probable, given the various groups now fighting there. Don't be surprised to see Syria further partitioned in the next few years.

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