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An Activist Kerry Planning to Take Down Assad

What will Kerry have to offer the man who stands to lose not just his power, but his life, and, even worse, the lives of his thousands of fellow Alawites?
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that he was going to change Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s thinking about just how long he could hope to stay in power, Elise Labott wrote for CNN. Kerry hopes to persuade the man who murdered some 60 thousand of his own people that it’s now time to negotiate with the other side an end to the fighting.

“We need to address the question of President Assad’s calculation currently. I believe there are additional things that can be done to change his current perception,” Kerry told reporters after meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Then he said: “I’ve got a good sense of what I think we might propose.”

For Israel, the best possible scenario—barring, of course, a return to tyrannical stability under Assad’s iron fist—is for the current civil war to continue for the foreseeable future. The IDF has been deft at containing the Syrian border, and the IAF control Syria’s and Lebanon’s skies. An unexpected benefit of the Arab Spring, it turns out, is that Israel’s security is being assured by the enormous internal conflicts that are splitting both the Egyptian and Syrian societies. A split Syria is of no help to the Hizbollah, and a rift-troubled Egypt can do very little for Hamas.

What will Kerry have to offer the man who stands to lose not just his power, but his life, and, even worse, the lives of his thousands of fellow Alawites? The Secretary of State did not elaborate, but said he planned to discuss the ideas during his first official overseas trip to Europe and the Middle east later this month.

The trip will bring Kerry to Israel ahead of President Obama’s March visit.

While the activist secretary of state Obama has picked up is spinning a web of power and intrigue to bring an end to almost two years of a welcome civil war in Syria, strangely enough, only Iran and Russia are actively bolstering the Syrian president.

The head of the Russian government arms export agency, Anatoly Isaikin, says Russia is continuing to sell weapons to Syria because there are no sanctions against such sales and its contracts are legally binding.

According to Labott, Kerry said that part of al-Assad’s calculus of staying in power centers around the financial and political support he enjoys from Russia. Kerry said he was hopeful there “may be an equation where the Russians and the United States could, in fact, find more common ground than we have yet with respect to that.”

In other words, the U.S. will have to bribe the Russians so they’ll abandon their client of four decades. That’s not very likely. Moreover, at least the way the CNN story presents things, Kerry and Obama are more likely to turn an awful situation into a major catastrophe:

Labott reports that last week, during a meeting with Canada’s foreign minister, Kerry said the United States was evaluating new options to reduce the violence.

Warning about the dangers of the “implosion” of the Syrian state with continued violence, Kerry said the Obama administration wanted to see a negotiated solution to the conflict resulting in al-Assad’s departure.

But the most likely scenario is an implosion BECAUSE of Assad’s departure, when the real massacre will begin, as the victorious Sunis will cut the throats of the hated Alawaites—who are barely Muslim.

Kerry noted comments by Syrian opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib, who has said he was willing to talk with the regime about a political solution. What Kerry seems to be plotting here is a one-two maneuver against Assad, forcing him to “talk” which is a nicer way of saying “capitulate.”

One proposal that’s being entertained these days is for Assad and the Alawaites to abandon Damascus and move to the Alawite State.

Alawaite State

When the French occupied Syria in 1920, they recognized the term Alaouites, or “Alawites,” and gave them autonomy. On September 2, 1920, an Alawite State was created in the coastal and mountain country of the Alawite villages. Many Alawite leaders supported the idea of a separate Alawite nation and tried to convert their autonomy into independence.

They could be getting it now. If Assad were allowed to withdraw into the Alawaite state with his remaining army, guaranteed by the U.S. and Russia, then the Sunis could have the rest of the country and peace would reign in the land.

At which point they could turn around and start attacking Israel.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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