Was it really a slip of tongue?
These matters, however, are not as simple as they appear to the common man. Isn’t that strange that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s oops moment made the day for President Barack Obama and changed the entire course of action. Well, many are convinced that the apparent off-the-cuff remarks were nothing but a calculated move to get the ball rolling in a different direction, of course.
According to sources privy to this issue, the entire hullabaloo was to see an acquiescent Assad at Geneva II. That is not to say that a military option had never been in the cards but the motives and the desired results were different from the ones that were trumpeted. Sources say Washington had been in touch with Tehran and proposed to hit 50 Syrian targets instead of a full-blown war. The loss incurred in the wake of those precision attacks would have rendered Assad weak enough to accede to demands stipulated at Geneva II. Toppling of Assad’s regime had never been envisaged.
Tehran was quick in assessing the situation and saw Kerry’s between-the-lines message as new lease on life for Assad. It was mainly due to the efforts of Tehran and Moscow that Assad did not hesitate for a moment in agreeing to a proposal of putting his arsenal of chemical weapons under international supervision. However, the Syrian regime sought only one guarantee that those weapons would not be used against Assad.
Obama’s decision seeking congressional approval was merely a tactic to help Assad buy some time to reach a decision.
At the G-20 conference recently held in St. Petersburg, Obama reportedly discussed some options – for Assad to choose – with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of the options for Assad was either to step down or to destroy his entire arsenal of chemical weapons.
By suggesting this course of action, the Americans on the one hand wanted to avert a possible military action, which is bitterly opposed at home, and to psychologically weaken Assad’s loyalists and supporters. They would construe Assad’s approval to this option as his weakness. Well, good thinking Washington!
Assad’s approval to this option may avert a US military action but will force him to head to Geneva where he will have to accept a bitter condition i.e., he will not run for presidency in the elections scheduled to be held in 2014 thus announcing the gradual end of his political career.
According to credible intelligence information, Washington knows very well that the Syrian army is tired and the regime is showing signs of collapse. Therefore, stripping the regime of its power would give the opposition a bigger role in controlling Syrian territories and a military strike, though limited, would be enough to punish a regime that has used chemical weapons against its own civilians.
On the other hand, the Syrian and Iranian intelligence agencies plan to raise the cost of an American strike from a humanitarian perspective. In the meantime, the diplomatic missions of Iran and Syria have been active in mobilizing the world public opinion against the American administration.
Some Israeli sources claim that the Israeli government had informed Washington that Assad had used chemical weapons against the opposition some 14 times. Washington reportedly told Tel Aviv not to bring this up again. This means that there is an understanding between Damascus and Washington to get rid of the Al-Nusra front and Al-Qaeda. When Assad succeeds in this mission he would be rewarded in Geneva II. Needless to say, Assad will ultimately agree to destroy the chemical weapons.
So, what’s the catch? First, Assad can keep the power of his standing army, and thugs and finally won’t be prosecuted.
But we expect that the Congress would grant Obama a blank check to agree on a military strike to use it whenever he deems fit. This would keep Assad under the American control. Assad in this case would not know when or how the strike would materialize. After getting rid of the chemical weapons, Obama would attack just to appear as someone who made good on his threat.
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