You know how Arabs are. We jump on the conspiracy wagon faster than a falcon jumps on a flying pigeon.
In talking to Syrians, one hears all kinds of theories about why the Obama Administration has not been forthcoming on the Assad threat. Some are mundane and others are quite interesting but whose basis in reality lacks the nuances policy makers usually pursue.
Then, I heard this theory from a Syrian I call Falafel that made all the sense in the world although I will not stand behind it.
President Obama wants to strip Iran of its nuclear ambitions through negotiations (I have my doubts here). Therefore, he has convinced the Israelis that if, by the summer of 2014, he fails to strip Iran of its nuclear program, he will back a large-scale military attack on the Iranian infrastructure using direct US power. The Iranians, unaware of this promise (Even though they know it will happen because they have already charted their next three moves), have asked for full protection for the Assad regime from any US military aggression in return for opening a dialogue. The US, backed by Russia, agreed in return for dismantling the CW program of Assad, which incidentally happens to end in the summer of 2014.
Because an attack against Assad is tied to the US-Iranian negotiations, the NSC has concluded that if negotiations face an impasse, the US will no longer be under obligation to honor its pact with Iran when it comes to attacking either Assad or the Iranian nuclear program. By then, Assad would have been stripped of his CW to make an attack safer and wider in scope. Meanwhile, the collection of intelligence against the atrocities of the Assad regime continue quietly to form the basis for a future attack and the sadistic targeting of pregnant women by shooting them in the uterus by pro-Assad snipers is a treasure as far as the US is concerned backed by the testimony of British doctors.
All is hunky-dory. Falafel said that an agreement was struck with full participation of the Israelis and the Saudis for the basis to negotiate with Iran. The Kingdom, however, chose to pursue its public support of the Syrian people by not addressing the UN this year because they feel morally obligated for signing off on a plan that indirectly provides Assad a Carte Blanche to kill at will. At least, Prince Saud al-Faisal has the moral fortitude not to be silent Falafel tells me.
As far as Israel and Saudi Arabia, a nuclear Iran has priority over the killing of civilians and from that perspective, Falafel may be right. That does not mean Syrians should sit still.
The Israelis are not happy with this solution because they want an immediate action against Iran, but they acquiesced reluctantly because an attack against Iran backed by US military might has a higher chance of success than Israel attacking on its own.
Falafel added that permitting the Jihadists to plant roots in northern Syria provides the US with a superior advantage to decimate them when needed. Their danger is secondary to the on-going negotiations.
Falafel’s theory fits almost perfectly the observations on the ground and the silence on the international stage during these negotiations. No US, or EU official wants to rock the boat by highlighting the killings of civilians in Syria and Secretary Kerry is attempting to corral the Syrian opposition, with his calls for Geneva II, to buy time for the President to conclude his mission impossible. The world has gone dark on Syria until the summer of 2014, so says Falafel.
My sense, if Falafel is correct, is that Iran will drag the negotiations until that point when they may open some irrelevant sites for inspection or be ready to announce a nuclear device is ready. Because Mr. Obama is more disposed to avoiding confrontation, Iran may be betting on simply avoiding a US attack until the US President can no longer be in any position, domestically, to carry out such an attack. Therefore, tells me Falafel, weakening Obama at home becomes an Iranian top priority as of now.
I thought that last observation by Falafel was quite clever. Politically, it may also serve Mr. Obama indirectly.
One hole in this theory centers around the US believing Assad will simply hand over all his CW capabilities. Do not be surprised if they surface again, should negotiations with Iran break down and threats of a US attack loom largely in the background.
For those Syrian analysts trying to make sense of what is going on, beware of Falafel if he is right. You may have to sleep for 8 months straight out of boredom or masochistically follow the Assad atrocities.
Syria and Iran no longer exist for the time being.