Judging by the carefully worded statement by Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who oversees Australia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council (UNSC) beginning next month, the US has already decided not to take any action against the Syrian government over its apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians recently.
Foreign Minister Carr was reported in The Australian as having called on China and Russia, Syria’s two major allies, to call on Syria to tell them that they are “crossing a red line”. The wording is diplomatically important here. Carr hasn’t said the Syrians had “crossed a red line” but are “crossing a red line”; a subtle but critically important difference.
To say that the Syrians had ‘crossed a red line’ would imply that military action, as per US President Obama’s controversial promise of August 2012, would now be taken. Since Australia, as well as taking over the chair of the UNSC in little over a week’s time, is also one of America’s closest allies, Foreign Minister Carr would not have said anything to the Chinese or the Russians relating to Syria without first having consulted the US administration at the highest levels. It is reasonable to presume, therefore, that the US will not be taking action against Syria if it is found that Syria indeed had used chemical weapons against civilians but was only ‘crossing a red line’ rather than having actually ‘crossed a red line’.
This, in turn, then prompts the question; why are the US so reluctant to intervene in Syria’s civil war?
The answer is simple. It is because no matter who wins the war, the outcome will not be in Israel’s interests. For Israel it’s a matter of ‘heads, they win; tails we lose’. The answer now is for there to be a ceasefire and a negotiated peace. If the two sides slug it out to the end there will be countless more dead and possibly another year or two of war. If the US and their allies intervene then it is very likely that Islamists will dominate any new government after al-Assad is defeated which could then lead to continued fighting between Islamists and secularists as they vie for power. Either way, if the US intervenes, it will be the end of al-Assad – and big problems for Israel with jihadists on their doorstep itching to take back the Golan Heights.
One wonders why, from the West’s point of view, the US and their allies didn’t intervene while there was still an opportunity to do so at a time when the revolt was dominated by secularists before the jihadi fighters joined them and virtually took over the fight.