WINEP’s Andrew Tabler issues a Mea Culpa on his Syria analysis
Andrew has this testimoney to Congress, below.
When you think about his words, the Iraq War mea culpa’s and reversals all come to mind of course, save that these folks have not quite had the war, yet, that they very much want – and have wanted for so long – although the Obama “inaction” is probably going to help in ending up in that direction with a lot more bloodshed along the way (as the WINEP Neo-LiberalCons have correctly argued).
Note that when Andrew actually gets back NEAR to Syria, his assessments change. But… How could he not have seen the Russian support as an issue? And these WINEP folks et al were all touting the way the regime and the army would crumble. Most clear headed analysts here in the region knew this was NOT going to be the case, but Andrew and the Beltway crowd carried the day in the media at least.
The “oops” issued by Andrew is not good enough – it is precisely this kind of discourse which raised the expectations so unrealistically of the Syrian opposition, corroded much needed efforts to look at other non-aggresive policy options (even ICG threw up its hands last april and said there was “little” the international community could do now that the regime was in a suicide roll) and in general made the whole Syria scene seem as if it would magically resolve itself satisfactorily, as if by the divine laws of history, if we would just push the “house of cards” harder, faster, stronger.
Remember that, even though there are many people in the obama admin’s “Team of rivals” who advocate the disasterous WINEP line, they are at least balanced out to a point of overall inaction. This is not great of course, and will likely lead to an even more violent situation at some point as said above, barring unforseen changes, but it is better for now than the Bush default setting which, if empowered, would have meant more war, force, pressure etc… of course.
If Obama loses, I bet you we will see the Lee Smith, Andrew Tabler, Schenker crowd and others all in key, official, positions – all reshaping the middle east as successfully as their approach did during the Bush years. Disaster Part II.
Here is what he said to Congress:
During Part I of this hearing in December 2011, a representative of the Obama administration characterized Assad as a “dead man walking.” I agreed with that assessment at the time, and I think much of it still holds true: international pressure and sanctions placed upon the Assad regime are having an unprecedented effect on its ability to fund its operations, and evidence shows that hard currency reserves are being rapidly depleted. Unfortunately, however, repeated vetoes by Russia and China of United Nations Security Council action, the overall lack of “defections” from the core of the Assad regime, and the findings of a recent visit I made to southern Turkey and Lebanon have all helped me understand that Assad still has many more political and military resources that he can call upon to continue what is literally a “death march” for months if not years to come. To force Assad to “step aside,” the United States will need to accelerate efforts from the ground up by supporting the opposition “within Syria” in concert with allies forming the “core” of the Friends of the Syrian People group of countries.”