The American Withdrawal from the Middle East
The American policy in the the Middle East from President Obama is one of "hand's off, let the others take the lead, and we will provide support, if in our interest". The problem is that the policy has become an extreme reluctance to the point that it is really dangerous. The Syrian red-line fiasco called his bluff. There was no red-line. Now, months after the Russian inspired peace talks, Syrian warplanes have pummeled those in Homs with barrel bombs causing over 2000 deaths per week in civilian casualties. Over 110,000 have been killed there, millions displaced, and 30,000 terrorists from various groups now have their own areas of control. With al-Qaeda declaring war on Hezbollah in Lebanon, an Iranian proxy, now Lebanon will be siphoned into the whirlpool mess of the Syrian war. Why? because Hezbollah troops have been fighting in Syria in and around Homs. Israel has shown restraint but now is considering more of an interventionist mode. In effect, al-Qaeda has made America afraid to do anything in Syria. Iranian threats of retaliation should the US be bolder has produced a fear factor in President Obama. Assad flatly refused to accept a transitional government in Damascus in defiance of the advice pressed on him by the Russian president, Putin.
President Obama has proven to be a wimp in this region. This has created a vacuum for others to fill, like Russia. Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. El-Sisi was in Moscow to sign a large transaction for the purchase of Russian arms. According to some estimates it is worth $2 billion; others put the figure as high as $3 billion. Russian missiles and warplanes like the S-300 anti-missile batteries will flow into the Egyptian army’s arsenals, that since the 70's have been primarily American.
Russia's Putin hopes to reestablish Russian dominance and put Egypt in their pocket as an ally once again, as it was in the early 70's. Remember, then, Egypt and Syria were both Soviet proxies and received millions in Russian weapons and training. The three then planned to crush Israel in the multi-front war of 1973, which amazingly, failed, as if God intervened and protected Israel. It was truly a Goliath vs. David epic event.
As America is inept in this region, Saudi Arabia has stepped in more and more, now supplying the rebels with man-portable air and antitank weapons to bring down Syrian aircraft and destroy Syrian tanks. America had refused to provide such weapons in fear that terrorists may get them. The terrorists can buy them. Ironically, these weapons are Chinese and Soviet origin. The weapons are already in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.
America is helping forming the Southern front, mostly comprised of 10,000 rebel fighters not of terrorist origins. These men and leaders have received $3 million in salaries to create a force and fight Assad's 4th Division, which defends the approaches to souther Damascus. The Northern front, where most of the fighting is occurring now, is primarily 20-30,000 of men affiliated with al-Qaeda or others. Hezbollah, about 5000 men, held Assad defend the city as well. The rebel southern front is commanded by Basha Zoubi, who has direct links to Jordanian and American intelligence to help plan for operations.
The Middle East is all bad news and Syria is at its core. This is not the time for America to show weakness.