As one who has studied the religion and culture of Islam, as well as covering two wars in the Middle East, it appears to me that the current Russian diplomatic offensive in the region could be a win-win situation for all the players – for the time being. In order for this to happen, Congress must support Pres Obama’s threat of military action against the Assad regime. The winners? Assad can remain in power a while longer; Russia maintains its foothold in Syria; the US shows that it is just not a paper tiger; Iran and Hezbollah still have their partner in Syria; the Jihadis have the threat of further chemical weapons attacks lifted; Israel has the threat of Al Qaeda entrenched along its Golan border with Syria removed. But there is another reason why Assad has appeared to agree to give up his chemical weapons, and one that I’ve not seen mentioned:
Perhaps the penny has finally dropped with the beleaguered Syrian president . Possessing chemical and biological weapons is a double-edged sword. Should those weapons fall into the hands of the Jihadis, they would not hesitate to use them against his minority Alawite sect. The Jihadis have no father and no mother when it comes to carrying out mass murder. So, theoretically, they could carry out atrocities with little danger of retaliation. How do you retaliate against an amorphous group of religious fanatics? Only by putting boots on the ground. And it’s clear that this is something that the United States and its allies definitely do not want. But all this is a temporary respite. History teaches us that civil wars are extraordinarily destructive. More bloodshed is on the way.