AP: Obama’s staying out of Syria to make Iran happy during nuke talks

posted at 11:21 am on April 3, 2013 by Allahpundit

What better way to show an enemy that nuclear proliferation isn’t in their interest than by … ceding a crucial regional battlefield to them in hopes of getting them to play nice on nukes?

Hello?

President Barack Obama’s reluctance to give military aid to Syrian rebels may be explained, in part, in three words: Iranian nuclear weapons…

“I think that the United States has not taken a more active role in Syria from the beginning because they didn’t want to disturb the possibility, to give them space, to negotiate with Iran,” Javier Solana, the former European Union foreign policy chief, said Monday at a Brookings Institution discussion about this week’s talks. Solana, who was a top negotiator with Tehran in the nuclear program until 2009, added, “They probably knew that getting very engaged against Assad, engaged even militarily, could contribute to a break in the potential negotiations with Tehran.”…

“Since we are now looking more at a pending regime collapse in Damascus that has a strong potential to turn it into a launch pad for transnational jihadism, Washington is more interested in a negotiated settlement, which involves talking to Iran,” said Kamran Bokhari, a Toronto-based expert on Mideast issues for the global intelligence company Stratfor.

At Via Meadia, Walter Russell Mead drops the A-bomb on O:

There are plenty of good reasons to fight shy of involvement in Syria; trying to get on Iran’s good side by letting Assad murder his people with impunity isn’t one of them. It’s a grotesquely immoral sacrifice of the innocent on the altar of a terrible policy idea. Trying to please the mullahs by giving them their way in Syria would be like trying to quiet Adolf Hitler by giving him the Sudetenland. It would be appeasement, and it would be as dishonorable as it is futile.

Here’s the problem: the calculation the mullahs are making is whether or not, when President Obama tells them that there will be war if they don’t give up on their nuke plans, he really Means It. If they think he’s bluffing, if they think he is either unable or unwilling to compel them to comply, there is no reason on earth for them to give way. The mullahs don’t like President Obama, they don’t trust him, and they want to break his power and his policy in the Middle East…

To the Iranians this hands-off Syria policy, combined with the defense cuts, combined with the retreat from engagement with Iraq, combined with the reversal of course and the dash for the exit in Afghanistan, would amount to clear proof that Obama is as Chamberlainesque as they come: attempting to smooth the reality of inexorable decline with empty, pretty treaties.

If the AP report is accurate, says Mead, this is Obama’s Green Revolution failure “on steroids.” The question here, obviously, is whether U.S. intervention in Syria would make Iran more or less likely to keep going with the bomb. If you knock out their top proxy, Assad, which in turn badly weakens their other key proxy, Hezbollah, does that damage their strategic position in the region badly enough that then they’ll have no choice but to make nice on nukes? There’s some reason to think so: WaPo reported in 2006 that Iran reached out to the U.S. with an offer of dialogue, including cooperation on nukes, shortly after the invasion of Iraq. Bush ignored it in the hope/expectation that the regime was ready to collapse, which meant that any engagement from the U.S. might inadvertently rescue the mullahs at the eleventh hour. Syria’s an opportunity in theory to run that play again, arguably under even more favorable circumstances. The regime’s more isolated internationally via sanctions than it was in 2003; eliminating Assad would remove a key Iranian asset rather than a key Iranian enemy in Saddam; and the rise of Sunni Islamists regionally after the Arab Spring might make Iran a little more paranoid about its position. (Or less. Iran’s gotten along just fine with Hamas for years.) But they’re also 10 years further down the road in investing in their nuke program — possibly up to $100 billion by now, with endless opportunity costs in the energy sector on top of that — so there’s no way to give up on at this point without a potentially catastrophic loss of face at home. Plus, what message is sent if the U.S. and EU decide they’ll intervene in Syria but only up to a point (i.e. no boots on the ground)? If, say, a no-fly zone is imposed and Assad holds on, then you have the worst of both worlds — western servicemen in harm’s way and a lesson to Iran that U.S./EU resolve in accomplishing their aims militarily only goes so far.

In fairness to O, he might be holding the prospect of intervention over Iran’s head privately. There are new reports every week seemingly of covert, non-military aid to Syria’s rebels; even if Tehran’s not being threatened explicitly, they must worry on some level that further escalation’s coming if they don’t at least pretend to be interested in nuke negotiations. What I want to know is, has Obama given them a firm deadline? Or is he prepared to be strung along for months more, hoping against hope that Assad collapses sooner rather than later and that that strengthens the west’s hand at the bargaining table?


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Iran just laughs at this Administration…

Khun Joe on April 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Yeah, showing weakness to a country that’s been calling for your death for the past 30+ years is really going to win them over.

Meanwhile, if this report is true, ugh:

Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni, a Jordanian of origin who earlier lived in Damascus, Syria for 17 years, posted a YouTube video last week where he said he was preparing to issue a “legitimate fatwa” making it legal (in the eyes of Islam) for those Muslims fighting to topple secular president Bashar Assad and install Sharia law to “capture and have sex with” all non-Sunni women, specifically naming Assad’s own sect, the Alawites, as well as the Druze and several others, in short, all non-Sunnis and non-Muslims.

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/04/03/islams-latest-fatwa-permitting-rape-of-non-muslim-women/

rbj on April 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM

In fairness to O, …

Ah, dhimmipundit. I’m sure DHS will save a hollowpoint for you when the time comes.

gh on April 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Obama’s boos

tom daschle concerned on April 3, 2013 at 11:33 AM

He’s staying out of Syria for the same reason he didn’t support the Green Revolution of Iran in 2009. He needs Iran’s power and ability to destroy Israel.

rrpjr on April 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Iran just laughs at this Administration…

Khun Joe on April 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Half of America, plus everyone else on the planet just laughs at this Administration. Come to think about it, not that funny. Sigh.

rottenrobbie on April 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

“Appeasement?”

If by that you mean,

3 : pacify, conciliate; especially : to buy off (an aggressor) by concessions usually at the sacrifice of principles

then, yeah. It stems from weakness of character.

Dusty on April 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Iran just laughs at this Administration…

Khun Joe on April 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Between our tears, most of us do also…

right2bright on April 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Neville Barack Hussein Obama

mwbri on April 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Iran reached out to the U.S. with an offer of dialogue, including cooperation on nukes, shortly after the invasion of Iraq. Bush ignored it in the hope/expectation that the regime was ready to collapse,

You’ve been smoking crack again haven’t you Allahpundit…

When Iran’s internal collapse point arrived, Obama was pResident, what did he do? NOTHING. When all Iran needed was a little outside nudge to send the Mullahs packing Obama remained silent. The beginning of the Arab Spring? Remember? Obama is not trying to end the Arab Spring, he’s not trying to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, he is trying to clear the stage for the New Islamic Caliphate. He is facilitating Iranian ambitions.

SWalker on April 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

It’s wise to stay out of Syria because there is no good side. You either have Assid or the rebels, Islamic fundamentalists backed by al Qaeda, which may be even worse.

If Muslims want to practice Islam by killing one another, who are we to stop them?

Let’s stay the hell out of things that don’t concern us.

bw222 on April 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

rbj on April 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM

What nice people they are, huh?

And yet dumbasses like McCain want us to once again stick our noses into yet another ME conflict. You’d think we’d have learned from Afghanistan… twice. You’d think we’d have learned from Egypt. You’d think we’d have learned from Libya. But apparently we did not.

gravityman on April 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

In fairness to O,

Please.

He doesn’t deserve a molecule of fairness. He should be tried for treason. The rat-eared liar tramples the Constitution at every opportunity, bows to our enemies and grins like the Chessire Cat every time he puts the screws to hard working Americans.

fogw on April 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

In fairness to O, he might be holding the prospect of intervention over Iran’s head privately.

.
Tee Hee.
I like jokes.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Submitted previously: He may be staying out to appease Iran, but what does it matter? Staying out is what the US should do. Lots of people are going to die for years to come in Syria no matter which side “wins.”

The real litmus test for Obama is where he stands if things start to go bad in Jordan. If he supports opposition to the current leadership, then I believe Obama is unequivocally acting against the US best interests and actively supporting the Iranians.

Just remember, Jordan is the domino that mustn’t fall under any circumstances. The result is all out war in the mideast.

Aplombed on April 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Yep, keeping Iran happy has always been a winning scheme. Now when did that happen last?

Cindy Munford on April 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM

In fairness to O,

Why? Are you kidding?

rrpjr on April 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM

In fairness to O, he might be holding …

Is it now a requirement of Townhall to use this insipid phrase in every article, AllahPee?

chimney sweep on April 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Just another case of Obama thinking a zillion moves ahead in 11 dimensional chess while we mere mortals are playing checkers.

jerryofva on April 3, 2013 at 11:53 AM

There is no good side in Syria.

Stay out.

There is a good side in the slaughter fields of Sudan though, which is why Democrats never talk about islamic violence in Sudan.

GardenGnome on April 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

In fairness to O,

When do we get to see one of the following phrases for a change:

In fairness to taxpayers…..

In fairness to Americans…..

In fairness to Christians….

In fairness to whites……..

In fairness to males………

Why is “fairness” only applied to the rat-eared devil who is seeking to destroy this nation? But of course, in “fairness” to the rat-eared devil, I would point out that he’s getting a lot of help from the MSM who are helping him do it.

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Its amazing, this guy says he wants a nuclear free world, yet he is going to let a terrorist state become a nuclear power.

Obama is the culmination of Leftist Moral Bankruptcy.

Lance Murdock on April 3, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Why does everyone think Obama is smart or clever and then project their hopes or “what they would do” thinking on to him?
In reality, Obama is still working on his golf and vacation schedule for 2014…

albill on April 3, 2013 at 12:01 PM

It’s amusing how Obama ignores his job and people interpret that as some sort of deliberate foreign policy.

The Rogue Tomato on April 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM

I would hope we stay out of Syria no matter what reason. Supporting the FSA is wrong on so many levels.

jake49 on April 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

It’s amusing how Obama ignores his job and people interpret that as some sort of deliberate foreign policy.

From Barry’s POV, ignorance IS foreign policy.

hawkeye54 on April 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Is it now a requirement of Townhall to use this insipid phrase in every article, AllahPee?

chimney sweep on April 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

It’s all part of the “on the one hand, on the other hand” sop that permeates much of this place and of pseudo-conservatism elsewhere. Some kind of overweening need to “not be like the Left,” or a deeper need to prove to the MSM that you’re a serious journalist not a raving right-winger. The recognition that we’re at war is not there, and evidently not coming. We’re not going to win this way. We’re not even going to hold our own. “Benefit of the doubt” has to be strangled, beaten, shot and buried, but don’t expect that around here.

rrpjr on April 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Obama did nothing again today.

AP/NYT: “Obama continues his strategic patience initiative”

The Rogue Tomato on April 3, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Here’s the other problem, which Obama has created for himself and for the country:

During the Bush administration, he and other Democrats screamed that the US military was “air-raiding villages killing innocent men, women and children; that Iraq was a “war of choice;” that the US was “indifferent” to the sufferings of others, especially, those in the Middle East; that Iraq was a “war for oil;” that the US had to “stop meddling in the affairs of other countries;” etc. We all remember what was said.

One’s position, then or now, as to whether we should have gone into Iraq is irrelevant to the point. We went.

Then, Obama ran for POTUS. We were told “Once the lightbringer is elected, the world will love us.”

In 2007, Obama told us:

“I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated, not only does the country look at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently. If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world, they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country, and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view…

My sister is half-Indonesian. I traveled there all the way through my college years. And so I’m intimately concerned with what happens in these countries, and the cultures and the perspectives that these folks have. And those are powerful tools for us to be able to reach out to the world.”

Then, along came Libya…and what did Obama do?

He may have been dragged into going into Libya by “The Three Valkeries/Witches” (Clinton, Powers and Rice and their “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine) and by France and the UK, but he went. He sent military support. He claimed he did it to prevent mass slaughter and other crimes against humanity. He supplied weapons. He supplied air cover. He bombed Qaddafi targets. He stood by, as a partner with known Al-Qaeda and other Islamist fighters even as they slaughtered Libyans and black Africans, until Qaddafi fell. He talked about our “moral responsibility to others.” He talked about the right of using the might of the American military to stop or prevent humanitarian disasters, potential genocide, and war crimes.

One’s position, then or now, as to whether we should have gotten involved in Libya is irrelevant to the point. We went.

Then, came Syria…

Here we have a duped Obama administration that bought into the “Assad the Reformer” meme and didn’t want the headache that Syria would/will bring…not only with Iran, but with Russia and China. He probably understands that there is the potential for a regional or even world war if things go badly. He also wanted to satisfy Turkey, which could dragged the US to a war if Iran or its proxy, Syria, launches any serious attack merely by invoking Article V of the Nato Treaty. Erdoğan is Obama’s “bestest” friend and adviser. Obama also understood that his new buds in Egypt wanted him to support the rebels, along with many of the surrounding kingdoms. Basically, the “Arab Spring” sprung the old Persian (including Syria and its allies, China and Russia) v the “Arab World” rivalry into action.

Hamlet wrung his hands. What to do? What to do? What to do?

Run weapons through Turkey to the Syrian rebels and with the help of the Qataris, look like he is not going to get militarily involved, which makes Russia and China happy, and play the good cop-bad cop routine with the mullahs, Ahmadinejad, and the rest of the 12′th’ers in the Hojjatieh Mahdatieh Society, which was so nutty that even the Ayatollah Khomeini banned it. Ahmadinejad and some of the mullahs, along with a growing amount of officials in the government and IR, are members.

Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 Syrians died and the Muslim World has taken notice that Obama has done nothing to save them…in their eyes (I’m not arguing for intervention).

So, we see that Obama is in favour of “air-raiding villages killing innocent men, women and children” when it suits him; that Libya was a “war of choice;” that the US has been “indifferent” to the sufferings of others, especially, those in Syria; and that Obama is willing to “meddle in the affairs of other countries” when he want to do so; etc.

Many in the Muslim World understand that Obama is not on their side. They are also beginning to understand something else:

What is the difference between Libya and Syria?

As I pointed out repeatedly at the time, Libya supplies a great deal of oil to France, the UK, and Italy. THAT was the reason that the European countries wanted to go in militarily. Everyone there knew it.

Syria doesn’t have very much, if any, oil. So, while American oil companies never won a single lease in the Iraqi oilfield sales, which was the alleged reason that America attacked Saddam Hussein, according to many on the Left, the fact of the matter is oil was a huge reason, if not the entire reason, for the move on Libya.

Obama sold himself to the Muslim World as “different than Bush” and a man, who because he had lived amongst them, understood them. If anyone is looking for a reason why America’s popularity in the Muslim World is worse now than it was during even the Bush administration, that’s it. He sold himself as one thing and has proven to be another. No one is more bitter than the one that fell for you in the first place.

Libya and Syria have exposed Obama to a lot of the Muslim World in even a way that his indifference to the Green Revolution did not.

Resist We Much on April 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

rope-a-dope…

albill on April 3, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Whatever happened to that crossing the Red Line thingy ?

Just a misunderstanding ?

FlaMurph on April 3, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Muslims in the Middle East have believed for a long time that they have legitimate reasons for hating America (some are probably legit, most are not). But they will hate us to the power of ten for the next thousand years because of the spineless appeasement policies of Barack Obama and his administration.

RebeccaH on April 3, 2013 at 12:51 PM

We need to stay out of Syria. Muslims are killing Muslims, why mess up a good thing?

Dollayo on April 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Either stay out, or burn it down to glass. One or the other.

trigon on April 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Boy this is fun to watch..everyday something new comes out..some new scandal..How much more is it gonna take to start impeachment hearings?

sadsushi on May 13, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Need a supermajority in the (Democrat-held) Senate to do that, and Reid will never let it happen.

Del Dolemonte on May 13, 2013 at 7:50 PM

This is why there has been no impeachment. If a Repub admin, he would have been gone many times over (Bengagzi, IRS targeting, AP eavesdropping, Fast & Furious gun running, … I’m getting finger cramps and there’s more to go! E.g., voter intimidation clear case dropped by DOJ.)

And prezy says the buck stops with him, but it doesn’t (how many speed bumps under his bus so far?)

So this is what they meant by the most transparent admin ever?

Even my fingers feel dirty after just typing about a portion of this admin.

IrishEyes on May 13, 2013 at 8:57 PM