Spinning Wheels Are Very Dangerous
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
What is happening or what is not happening in Syria is becoming more and more troublesome by the day. Over 5000 people have been killed since mid-March and now, despite the presence of Arab League monitors on the ground, the killing continues unabated or perhaps even escalating. There is not glimmer of an end in sight. There will be no military intervention neither from Arab countries or from the West, or from the United Nations.
It is clear from how he has led his country during this crisis that President Bashar al-Assad is behaving in the image of his father. He may be the Western trained dentist with the attractive, modern wife but he hardly is acting like the man who will bring Syria into the modern world and make peace with all her neighbors. Rather he seems to be developing into the kind of ruler who could replay what his father Hafez al-Assad did in 1982 when he ordered the army to slaughter the rebels in Hama killing around 20,000 of his own people.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of this current ugly bloodbath is that what looked like a first ever effort by Arabs to intercede and try to control the murdering of their own people by one of their own has totally failed. The Arab League is truly not interested in taking the necessary steps to intervene so they pretend to act as mediators while the killing continues. After the withdrawal from Iraq and the actions taken to remove Kaddafi, the West is in no mood to go into Syria nor is anyone inviting them in very fast. The United Nations sits idly by unable to gather enough support for international action.
Turkey also is already flexing its muscles and its influence while Iraq sadly appears to have begun to unwind as well. All of which makes Israel more nervous.
The Syrians appear likely to fall more and more under the Iranian influence as Iran is probably the one reliable place for it to turn should it require military support. Israel continues to try to avoid a confrontation with Iran; but with Syria becoming more and more under the influence of the Iranians, it only makes Israel more and more anxious; without even addressing the nuclear threat.