Comprehensive Paper Released On Syria

Syrian Opposition: Who Are They?
Analysts at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy believe one of the questions dominating the debate over Syria is whether the West has an understanding of the disparate ideologies that “drive the Syrian opposition, their military inadequacies, and their ability to create a unified political structure.”

Jeffrey White, Andrew J. Tabler, and Aaron Y. Zelin have released their findings in a comprehensive paper outlining the history of the recent crisis, options for achieving a “middle way” and, perhaps most importantly, examines who the rebels are.

“The kaleidoscopic nature of the rebel forces makes generalizing about their quality and capabilities very difficult and puts a premium on detailed information about specific units. Combat formations vary widely in numbers, organization, weaponry, and effectiveness. Some appear disciplined, well-armed, responsive to their commanders, and tactically competent. Others appear much less so, especially in terms of armament and tactical skill. The rebels come from all strata of Syrian society: wealthy and poor, urban and rural, secular and religious, tribal and urbanized, educated and uneducated, former military and civilian,” they write.

What Is Driving China’s Policy In Syria?
According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report, China transferred $300 million in arms to Syria between 2007 to 2010, and has been assisting Syria avoid international sanctions. Many American analysts see their actions is evolving from a desire to harm the US, but The Diplomat’s Kendrick Kuo argues differently.

“Instead, China opposes intervention in Syria primarily because of its own sense of insecurity,” Kuo asserts. He says the West “must appreciate its broad sense of vulnerability, and the multifaceted nature of Sino-Middle East relations” and the reality that “Chinese foreign policy is dominated by a feeling of besiegement.”

China is enveloped in a region friendly to the US, while its energy supply is dependent upon U.S.-protected shipping lanes and the continuing stability of security environments in Central Asia and the Middle East. Kuo asks, “With these circumstances, it is no wonder that China feels insecure.”

Policy By Press Conference
Charles Crawford of London’s Telegraph was among many confused by the proposal which grew out of an off-hand comment by Kerry at a press conference.

“Meanwhile any new process of setting up an international monitoring and destruction regime will require painstaking UN and wider negotiation with the Assad regime, thereby giving Assad and his state apparatus a massive boost of renewed confidence and legitimacy. Before long Washington may find itself locked on to implicitly or even explicitly supporting Assad in his civil war as the best chance to get some sort of internationally agreed CW destruction programme delivered in Syria,” he writes.

A team of inspectors in Syria, who were investigating whether chemical weapons were used, encountered the difficulty of working in a war zone when their convoy was attacked.

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