June 7, 2013

Flynt Leverett: "Assad is still seen as the best choice available"

Flynt Leverett brings a sense of reality to a discussion about Syria on Al Jazeera. Video is below.

An excerpt from, "America’s Failed Syria Strategy: Flynt Leverett on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story," (GoingToTehran.com, June 7, 2013):
Challenging a call for greater military support for Syrian oppositionists (including a U.S.-led no-fly zone) from former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nancy Soderberg, Flynt asks, “What is the legal basis for the United States to impose a no-fly zone?  What’s the legal basis for it?  The Security Council is not going to approve it.  You will have no legal basis for doing it.  It’s an aggressive war.”  Moreover, Flynt underscores,

There’s no hard evidence [Ambassador Soderberg] can point to, no hard data—no polling data, no other kind of evidence—that the Syrian opposition commands the support of a majority of SyriansThere is objective data—polling data and other evidence—that the Assad government retains the support of significant parts of Syrian societyThere is no reason to believe, other than wishful thinking, that [Assad’s] downfall is inevitable.  In fact, I think he’s winning this struggle.”

Amplifying his analysis of Assad’s popular base, Flynt explains, “[Assad] is still seen as the best choice available—the best plausible choice available—by very significant parts of Syrian society.  And people who support U.S. intervention in this conflict just blow past that reality.”  In an exchange with Soderberg, Flynt notes that it’s not just Alawis and Christians who are “nervous” about what the Assad government’s disappearance would mean for them:  “Sunnis who don’t want to live under al-Qa’ida are nervous, too.”

Video: Inside Story Americas - Sussing the US' plans for Syria.