The regime’s proposal is unlikely to lead to talks. The rebels battling the Syrian military have vowed to stop at nothing less than Assad’s downfall and are unlikely to agree to sit down with a leader they accuse of mass atrocities.

Lucas, Ryan.  “Syrian FM: Damascus prepared to talk with rebels.”  The Times of Israel, February 26, 2013.

As the number of suspected attacks grows, US officials said intelligence agencies are seeing signs that Syrian opposition forces may be distancing themselves from the al-Qaeda-linked group there — chipping away at one of the key arguments against giving lethal aid to the rebels.

Klapper, Bradley and Lolita C. Baldor.  “More US officials in favor of arming Syria rebels.”  The Times of Israel, May 2, 2013.

The ministers’ meeting in Brussels exposed deep rifts, with Britain pressing hardest for the union to amend its embargo and allow weapon shipments to forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad and his troops, who have gained ground recently against the rebellion.

Kanter, James.  “European Union Debates Arming Syrian Rebels.”  The New York Times, May 27, 2013.

It’s not too hard seeing what’s going on within the ranks of the rebels within the Syrian theater: events are telling them, more or less, to shape their ranks in their totality toward the contained and moderate to obtain war materiel by way of the west.

Both in Syria and Turkey, McCain and Idris met with assembled leaders of Free Syrian Army units that traveled from around the country to see the U.S. senator. Inside those meetings, rebel leaders called on the United States to step up its support to the Syrian armed opposition and provide them with heavy weapons, a no-fly zone, and airstrikes on the Syrian regime and the forces of Hezbollah, which is increasingly active in Syria.

Rogin, Josh.  “Exclusive: John McCain Slips Across Border Into Syria, Meets With Rebels.”  The Daily Beast, May 27, 2013.

Let’s back up a couple of weeks:

Indeed, while Assad imports long-range missiles from Iran and allows Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Suleimani to build a 150,000-strong sectarian militia to inherit the responsibilities of the Syrian military, Idris is writing open letters to his patron asking for more help. The U.S. response is to ask Idris’s men to kill al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra fighters first, and only then turn their attention back to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Weiss, Michael.  “Oh, You Silly Man: How John Kerry got rolled by Vladimir Putin on a plan to save Syria.”  Foreign Policy, May 9, 2013.

At the end of a round of poker, the cards come up.  Here are Putin’s:

  1. Incumbent strategic relationship with the Assad’s Syria as a defense buffer, client, and trading state;
  2. In Syria’s hands, a recent delivery of surface-to-air and surface-to-ship missiles (take that, Charlie Wilson) discouraging local NATO intervention in Syria;
  3. In Assad’s Syria, a comparatively secular dictatorship pitted against a rebel force laden with “Islamist” elements that have professed and proven hate for Christians, Jews, Israelis, assorted kafir, and so on — a familiar story but in the Syrian context, one offering Obama a sharp choice: continued secular dictatorship, albeit one that is no friend to Israel either even though it has kept a cold de facto peace for decades, or another Brotherhood-styled state?
  4. Finally, Russia remains Russia, a superpower, nuclear armed, and completely disinterested in the development of another Chechnya on its flank, a position congruent with the predominant NATO base and reason for being.

Why Putin will not intercede in the politics of the Assad family, I don’t know; what I may suggest, however, is that as long as Maher Al-Assad has free rein, those Syrian non-aligned and noncombatant families whose members fell victim to his military’s atrocious behavior from the start of hostilities to this day will never ever forgive the Assads the callous spilling of so much innocent blood and the pain they have been given to live with for the misfortune of having been born Syrians beneath their tenure.

Of course, where rebel forces of any kind have done similar things, the stories of their atrocities too will see the light of day, and they too will be shunned in the same way.

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