The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Guardian Interview with me on Syria WMDs and the Obama Administrations growing fears

Matthew Weaver at the Guardian interviews me on the Syria-WMD issue and the blog post from yesterday on how Obama STEPPED BACK from the earlier “redline” on the WMDs even moving.

The interview is here in full (20 minutes):


The countdown to a disastrous regional war over Syria can only be stopped if the international community stops boxing Assad regime into a corner and starts to negotiate a political settlement, according to analyst Nicholas Noe.

Speaking to the Guardian he said:

We are at a very dangerous point here, where our options are slowly but surely slipping away. We are getting boxed into a very dangerous and potentially very violent countdown, with the Americans acknowledging that the Assad regime is on the move with WMDs.

If we believe that the Assad regime is as evil as many of the Americans say then it’s logical that the regime in its dying day would use these massively destructive weapons.

Through benign neglect, and allowing some of our allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to accelerate the violence, we have reached the point where there are no more good options except for war.

Pushing the Assad regime against the wall will end in disaster, he warned.

Noe said it was “absurd” to portray the Assad regime as a “paper tiger” that can be bought down by supplying the rebels with a few surface-to-air missiles.

And the reported defection of foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi was a sign that the Assad regime is being winnowed down to a fanatical and dangerous hard-core, Noe said.

He added that reports of Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities were more credible than reports about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the Iraq war. Noe added:

It will end in some very big conflagration in and around Syria. The Obama administration is very sensibly walking back, because it is increasingly concerned that it does not control events on the ground.

The only way to prevent a potentially very fast slide into a devastating conflagration in and around Syria, is to use Russia’s supposedly loosening [support for Assad] but [also] to meet that with a loosening of our own red lines.

We need to go to a political settlement with this regime and with Assad personally. And that means stepping back from all of this stuff which has been increasingly vociferous over the last few months.

A political solution remains the best option even if that means the temporary partition of Syria and allowing the Assad regime to temporarily stay in power, Noe argued.

Asked how the international community should act now, Noe said:

You get behind the Russian initiative, you decrease the level of violence in the immediate term, you offer a political process that does not have Assad going as a first step, and you try to gradually drain the ability and desire of this regime, and some in the opposition, to use violence against their own people.

Noe said this was a morally and politically tough solution but it is the “smartest thing to do” because the alternative is so much worse.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

December 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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