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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Syrian conflict getting worse






The situation in Syria is very confusing, especially since Russia entered the fray.  

Saudi Arabia is responding to the recent Russian air strikes on Syrian rebels by supplying more lethal weaponry to three rebel groups backed by us, the West.  And somewhere amid all this chaos is Islamic State, the people we initially hoped to destroy, but can't.

The US and Iran both say they are fighting IS but in practice, they have different goals.  The US is supporting rebels trying to oust Assad, while Iran and Russia are trying to defend his regime.

After four bloody years, neither the west or the Gulf Arab states have a strategy to resolve the conflict.

The US and the Kremlin are about to meet to discuss how to avoid accidental clashes as they carry out separate bombing campaigns.

Some believe the worst thing that could happen would be for the West to accept a compromise that allowed Syria's President Assad to remain in power, even for a limited time, but the Sunni Arabs of the region would never accept this, or any arrangement that would allow Iran to dominate Syria.

Most of the Arab states and Turkey have been saying for a long time that Syria's conflict can only end when President Assad is driven from power, but they now realize that Russia has no intention of letting that happen.

In last week's UN General Assembly in New York, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was warned by Arab diplomats that his country's involvement in Syria could create a "Frankenstein monster" that would draw in vast numbers of jihadists intent on liberating Syria from Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon.  

Russia's response was to intensify its airstrikes.

What a mess.