U.S. PRIORITIES IN LEBANON  Syria’s Instability Reaches Lebanon

If current trends continue, Lebanese Islamists seem better positioned than Washington’s moderate friends to capitalize on Assad’s ouster and the emergence of a Sunni-led government in Syria. To forestall such Salafist/Islamist gains, the Obama administration should cajole the March 14 coalition to get its house in order now so that it is better able to compete for Sunni hearts and minds as Syria unravels and Lebanon’s elections approach. Saad Hariri has been outside Lebanon for nearly eighteen months, and his absence has led to a Sunni vacuum within the coalition.

[ed note:ran by zionist jews and israhell firsters]  must also back up its strong statements about the security of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. Among other things, this issue is important for Lebanon’s security, since such weapons could be leaked to Hizballah; while perhaps unlikely, they could also fall into the hands of Sunni militants in Syria, who might then transfer them to ideological fellow travelers in Lebanon. Either scenario would heighten the risk of chaos in Lebanon and another conflagration with Israel.

David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.

Is the End Near in Damascus? 

Whatever the case, the regime appears to have only a few weeks left before it collapses. As the end nears, its allies may issue desperate pleas for a UN-brokered ceasefire, but the rebels see absolutely no advantage in that approach and would surely violate any such truce. For its part, longtime ally Russia may abandon the regime and evacuate its citizens. Meanwhile, regime forces will increasingly defect to the rebels, refuse to obey orders, or go rogue, while senior regime officials may defect or flee Damascus as part of an Alawite flight to the coast. The truest sign of the end, though, would be Iranian officials burning files at their embassy in Damascus.

ANDREW J. TABLER   Syria’s neighbors currently accommodate 450,000 registered refugees and hundreds of thousands more unregistered. The 1.5 million internally displaced Syrians face a much more dire situation. During my recent visit to the Atmeh refugee camp straddling the Turkey-Syria border, there was little shelter, less food, and no toilets for the 12,000 occupants.

[ed note;winep agents were hanging out not with refugees at the camps but rather free syrian army rebels at their barracks,see… WINEP ZIONISTS,FSA HANG OUT IN BARRACKS IN TURKEY ZIONISTS AND FSA HANG OUT IN BARRACKS IN TURKEY-VIDEO-ZIONIST WAR MONGERS FROM WINEP

Distinct from but related to the SOC, the SMC was intended to coordinate the funneling of weapons to the country’s more moderate armed groups. Given the opposition’s increasing seizure of regime weaponry, however, the council’s purpose is now less clear, as is its ability to corral groups through the provision of arms. Both the SOC and the SMC are steps in the right direction, but despite their initial plans to cooperate, there is little evidence thus far that they will be able to overcome divisions within the opposition.

Some analysts believe that the Obama administration’s policy on Syria has been a success — the Assad regime is about to collapse without any direct American engagement. Still, the struggle over Syria will not be complete for some time. Given the SOC’s dubious political clout and the armed opposition’s growing prominence, those who are taking the shots against Assad today will be calling the shots once he is gone. In the immediate aftermath of his ouster, Syria might look like it did in 1923, with different sects dominating different areas of the country and major chaos ensuing. Because of its reticence to act, Washington may have lost an opportunity to influence that outcome.

Therefore, one powerful reason to provide military assistance to the rebels is to engage with them, gaining knowledge of and leverage with factions that will be key actors in shaping post-Assad Syria.To be sure, the administration’s willingness to send diplomats and development officials into such a situation seems remote in light of the fallout from the tragic death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. Nevertheless, Washington must engage directly with these armed groups in order to promote U.S. interests in Syria.

Rebel commanders visiting border areas present valuable opportunities to discover which factions are amenable to those interests without venturing into more dangerous areas. Washington should also work directly with moderate civilian and armed groups to channel humanitarian and military assistance and increase U.S. influence. Most important, any outreach must be done overtly rather than covertly, so that the United States can get much-deserved credit for engaging positively in Syria.

[ed notes:there you have it a diehard likudnik israhelli agent urging u.s.(ran by zionist jews) to openly,overtly,rather then COVERTLY,arm rebel groups against Assad…so it gets credit it deserves after hes gone!!!

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