Syria is in many ways between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand it is barely managing to suppress the US/Saudi led insurgency. It is the US falling back-on tried and tested methods, as with
Afghanistan (remember the Mujahedeen?), Iraq, and Libya. Using proxies is a US-tradition. That was what the Bay of Pigs was about and why it was a
massacre - the Americans refused their own military support.
On the other hand, it is moribund for lack of immediate and viable options other than trying to defeat the insurgents. There is no other game in town
for Assad and the Syrian government. This means that traditional avenues of choice are limited.
Diplomatically Syria is essentially an outcast, with its only allies coming from outside the Western US-led 'coalition' of powers. This however, is a
critical point: Syria's friends can be increasingly, and are America's competitors for global power. Countries such as Russia, China and Iran view the
stability and friendship of Syria as an important domino in the geopolitical game the US is playing. Syria's only diplomatic hope - which bleeds into
other areas such as military and economic sectors - is that other external actors and states can coalesce into a viable counter-force to the Western
If Assad is to consider what is to be done about the US/UK threats of intervention, then he needs to realise those facts and possibilities. Diplomatic
change tends to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Only regime change and total defeat typically leads to serious and effective diplomatic
change of a scale that Syria needs.
Timelines are critical in any decision-making process as to what Syria's options are. An attack within two days does not leave much scope for creating
a coterie of allies. An attack in two weeks give Assad a slim window of opportunity to arrange his ducks in a line. Those ducks namely, Hezbollah,
Iran, Russia and China. other possible ducklings may well be other members of the BRICS nations: Brazil, India, and South Africa. And remember, the
BRICS nations are vying to be competitors or counterweights to a US-world. In addition, each BRICS member is the leader in it's own region, and thus
can call in favours from their own friends and allies.
Syria has to work the diplomatic lines massively, between now and whenever the attack is to happen. I would set a deadline for diplomatic arraignment
at around about the beginning of September. That gives almost two weeks to get set for war.
Right now we are seeing what is called the "signalling phase" of the conflict. It is during this part of the conflict that signals, by way of
political statement, public demonstrations, media reporting, state propaganda, diplomatic statements, economic treaties, political events, leadership
travel events, meetings, troop mobilisation and movement, hardware movements and hardening etc. are being made.
US and UK (as well as their mid-east regional allies) decision-makers will want to accelerate the move toward war as much as possible as that limits
the signalling phase and possibility of policy vacillation or indecision. Statements by them and their media allies (such as CNN, FoxNews, BBC) are
part of the signalling phase, and as such indicate the slide toward ignoring external signalling. This is good news and bad for Assad who should be
arraigning his own allies into a strong defense. The speed of slide toward an attack may be too fast for Syria to respond to. The ignorance of the
western decision-makers may be caused by "group-think" and lead them into a huge mistake in any hurried attack.
Assad has to play dumb, play weak, play sorry - without accepting culpability of-course (I'd be shocked if Assad used chemical weapons...) - to delay
any possible attack from the US, UK, Turkey, KSA, Jordan etc, etc. He must do this to allow time to hold an international conference of leading powers
opposed to what the US and others are doing. So this "Damascus Conference" should include the leaders (no less will suffice) of Russia, China, Brasil,
India, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa to discuss, negotiate and sign a Mutual Defence Treaty with Syria.
For me that is Syria's only hope, and if the US really wants to keep knocking down geopolitical dominoes, then let them take Syria down at their
peril. But it may already be too late.
edit on 27-8-2013 by Blister because: (no reason given)