Monday, September 9, 2013

Obama Using Brookings Proposal for Syria?

The conservative website WND has a new piece speculating that President Obama may be employing a March 2012 Brookings Institution report for its Syria strategy.

The report, Middle East Memo #21,, is titled "Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change."  It was authored by Daniel Byman, Michael Doran, Kenneth Pollack, and Salman Shaikh.

Here is an excerpt from WND:
The memo proposed six strategies the U.S. “should consider to achieve Asad’s overthrow”:
  1. Removing the Assad regime via diplomacy;
  2. Coercing the regime via sanctions and diplomatic isolation;
  3. Arming the Syrian opposition to overthrow the regime;
  4. Engaging in a Libya-like air campaign to help an opposition army gain victory;
  5. Invading Syria with U.S.-led forces and toppling the regime directly; and
  6. Participating in a multilateral, NATO-led effort to oust Assad and rebuild Syria.
The memo stressed that no one strategy was going to be endorsed, although the memo clearly indicates preferences, especially when it comes to evaluating the probability each particular strategy has to achieve the stated policy goal of ousting the Assad regime.
The diplomatic option is discounted as having a low probability of success, because Russia’s protection of the Assad regime makes it unlikely the U.S. could pass a U.N. Security Council resolution in any way critical of Assad.
The effort to coerce the Assad regime by sanctions and diplomatic isolation is also regarded as a strategy with a low probability of success, because it would most likely create a stalemate in Syria between government and rebel forces, which would benefit Iran and Russia.
...In conclusion, the Brookings Institution memo cautioned against inaction: “As a final thought, it is always important to keep in mind that failing to act – even failing to decide – is an action and a decision.”

President Obama's National Security Adviser, Amb. Susan Rice, a former Brookings Institution scholar, is speaking today at the New America Foundation (NAF) on why the US must intervene in Syria.

The Brookings Institution was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.