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February 26, 2013

Assad Pulls Ahead in Syrian War

Putin, Khamenei Are Co-Victors

March 5 has been set as the date for peace talks to open in Moscow between the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime, 

DEBKAfile reveals here exclusively.

Opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib is waiting to meet the Assad regime’s representative, possibly Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, in the Russian capital by the end of February to set up the talks. Bashar Assad has taken his resignation off the agenda and insists on reserving the option to run again for president in 2014. He is backed in this by President Vladimir Putin. And even the Syrian opposition appears to have tacitly bowed to this precondition – an admission that the rebel movement has reached its limit and Assad’s genocidal, no-holds-barred tactics have paid off. With all their acclaimed victories, rebel forces know that their desperate bid to conquer Damascus was repulsed by the Syrian army’s superior fire power and heavy armor.

They were thrown back from the heart of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. And they failed to gain control of Assad’s chemical arsenal. Ferocious fighting failed to bring the big Syrian Air Force bases into rebel hands. Now, most of the fighting opposition to the Assad regime is ready to negotiate terms for a ceasefire as the opening gambit for a political settlement. They face their enemy standing firm as the unvanquished ruler of Syria and commander-in-chief of its armed forces at the cost of Syria 80-100,000 Syrian lives and a ravaged country. In so doing, Assad has cemented the Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah alliance. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s’s sphere of influence now stretches from the Persian Gulf up to the Mediterranean – his reward for the billion dollars worth of aid per month he poured into buttressing Assad. His other ally, Hassan Nasrallah, whose Hizballah operatives fought shoulder to shoulder with Syrian troops, emerges as the strongman of Lebanon. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad’s staunch backer in diplomacy, arms and moral support, congratulates himself for picking the winning side in Syria’s civil war and, moreover, frustrating US and NATO designs to remove the Syrian ruler from power. Those are the winners.

And the losers are the United States, the Gulf emirates and Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey. Barack Obama’s vision of a democratic, liberal “Arab Spring” has collapsed. Al Qaeda is a ubiquitous presence as transitional governments struggle to their feet – or not – in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Israel finds a tighter than ever Syrian-Hizballah-Iranian noose closing around its borders as Tehran’s nuclear weapons program marches on. Turkey gambled heavily on bringing about Assad’s overthrow as the key to its bid for regional power– and missed.

Posted by Ted Belman @ 8:19 pm | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to Assad Pulls Ahead in Syrian War

  1. NormanF says:

    At best its a stalemate.

    Assad has seen his army fractured and he is presiding over a deeply divided and devastated country.

    Not would I call a decisive victory for the regime.

  2. Bear Klein says:

    The conclusion is premature at best if not faulty. How has Assad won ? By not being dead? Has he regained the large parts of Syria he no longer controls? Is this likely to happen. Syria is now a terror riddle non-state with lots of bad guys fighting each other. Syria has gone the way of Lebanon in the 80s (destruction upon destruction). Syria is nightmare for Syrians and its neighbors. For sure at some point the IDF will be fighting on the Golan.

    For a great interview with Dr. Spyer of the Gloria Center (the expert on Syria) who has just come back from his thrid trip to Syria see the Gloria Center

  3. yamit82 says:

    @ NormanF:
    @ Bear Klein:

    Assad is essentially in control of a militia made up of mostly Alawites. Beginning to look a lot like Lebanon in the 80′s

    Don’t see a game breaker as long as Iran Hezbollah and Russia are backing them. He might just outlast his opposition.

    Best scenario for Israel is status quo.

  4. ArnoldHarris says:

    Ditto Yamit.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  5. Chanan Rambaum says:

    @ yamit82:

    Best scenario for Israel is status quo.

    Yes, if Assad falls, the Muslim Brotherhood will take over as in Egypt.

  6. andrew says:

    I wonder whether olmert now feels like an idiot for wanting to give away the Golan?

    I think that the best thing for Israel is a slow burning insurgency which keeps assad pre occupied.

  7. steven l says:

    Not so fast!

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