A pivotal fight in Syria. US AWOL per usual

Article Highlights

  • Qusayr is at the heart of fighting for control of routes into Damascus.

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  • What’s the US doing on Syria?

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  • Russia is delivering game-changing weaponry to Assad and stepping up patrols in waters off the Syrian coast.

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The fight now going on in the strategic city of Qusayr has already spilled over into neighboring Lebanon, where fighting between Alawites sympathetic to Bashar al Assad (himself an Alawite) are battling Sunnis who support the rebels in Syria. Three were killed in the last two days. Meanwhile, in Qusayr, dozens have died, another drop in the bucket of the tens of thousands dead in Syria.

Qusayr is at the heart of fighting for control of routes into Damascus – routes that could help the Assad regime turn the tide of war against the rebels. But a key point should not be lost upon those watching the battle for Syria: The rebels had made substantial progress in taking over Homs and the border town of Qusayr, but lost the initiative when reinforcements flowed in from the terror group Hezbollah. Iran and its proxies apparently realize the importance of this war, and have doubled down on regime forces. Meanwhile, the rebels are reportedly low on ammo, and worried about their ability to hold momentum if they lose a key lifeline to the Syrian capital.

What’s the US doing? Other than spying on journalists? Crawling through your taxes looking for ideological splittism from Obamajuche? The president is waiting on a conference sometime next month, another “dividend” from his Russia reset policy. Meanwhile, Russia is delivering game-changing weaponry to Assad and stepping up patrols in waters off the Syrian coast.

Wanna know how America ends up fighting messy conflicts? We do it when we allow a region of substantial strategic interest to us (Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq) to spiral out of control. We do it when there are proxies who could fight and die, allowing us to help guide outcomes rather than become embroiled in battles afar, but we ignore them, or subcontract their management to extremists. Sound familiar? Were you alive in the 1980s and 1990s watching Iraq and Afghanistan? Right. Then you know.

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About the Author



  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


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