Give us an hour and we’ll give you the inside information and analysis on Syria’s ongoing conflict.
EA’s partner Political WorldView starts from the April 7 chemical attacks by the Assad regime on Douma, near Damascus, to put that assault and the US-UK-France response with missile strikes into military and political context. That sets up an analysis of what happens next, including the de facto partition of the country, Russia’s choice on whether to distance itself from the regime, US uncertainty, and the next likely stage for bombing and a ground offensive.
Political WorldView’s regulars Adam Quinn and Scott Lucas are joined by University of Birmingham colleague Umer Karim, a specialist in the politics of the Middle East.
1. Yes, it was the Assad regime that carried out chemical attacks on April 7 — here’s how and why.
2. Yes, the US-UK-France response was almost solely to draw a red line against any further attacks with agents stronger than chlorine. They have little significance for the overall conflict.
3. Should there now be protected zones for Syria’s civilians? It may be a vital question, but they will never be implemented across the country — instead, they will be de facto in Turkey’s sphere of influence in the northwest and the US-backed Kurdish area in the north and east.
4. The next likely target of the Assad regime will be opposition areas in southern Syria on the Jordanian border.
And that — barring the unlikely development of the US establishing a military presence along that border — could mean an Israeli confrontation with the regime and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies.
Which raises the question: will Russia continue its cooperation with Israel to avert that scenario, or will it draw closer to the regime and Iran?