Obama and Cameron are not buying this. Additional arguments deployed against engagement with Assad are that he cannot be trusted and that helping bolster his position would alienate Sunnis in Iraq and Syria whose support is needed to fight Isis. In the words of Nadim Shehadi, the Chatham House analyst, the Syrian leader has all the credibility of a convicted arsonist offering his services as a firefighter.
Simply imploding the Assad regime to spite Iran would appear to be easy, but has not happened.
Turkey is already providing safe havens for the Free Syrian Army, but apparently has not unleashed it. Western Iraq is aboil with doctrinaire Sunni militants happy to stick it to the Alawite regime, and Qatar has allegedly already laid the groundwork for underemployed Libyan militants to find profitable occupation fighting alongside the opposition in Syria, but utter bloody chaos has yet to erupt.
The fact that Aleppo and Damascus have only been ravaged by two car bombs is perhaps a sign of Wahabbist restraint, and may have been taken by the PRC as a sign that the Gulf Cooperation Council's commitment to overthrowing Assad is not absolute.
Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.…Material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border. Opposition activists who two months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said this week that the flow of weapons — most still bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military — has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood also said it has opened its own supply channel to the rebels, using resources from wealthy private individuals and money from gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Mulham al-Drobi, a member of the Brotherhood’s executive committee.The new supplies reversed months of setbacks for the rebels that forced them to withdraw from their stronghold in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs and many other areas in Idlib and elsewhere.“Large shipments have got through,” another opposition figure said. “Some areas are loaded with weapons.”The effect of the new arms appeared evident in Monday’s clash between opposition and government forces over control of the rebel-held city of Rastan, near Homs. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces who overran a government base had killed 23 Syrian soldiers.
Officials in the region said that Turkey’s main concern is where the United States stands, and whether it and others will support armed protection for a safe zone along the border or back other options that have been discussed.…The Sunni-led gulf states, which would see the fall of Assad as a blow against Shiite Iran, would welcome such assistance, but they would like a more formal approach. One gulf official described the Obama administration’s gradual evolution from an initial refusal to consider any action outside the political realm to a current position falling “between ‘here’s what we need to do’ and ‘we’re doing it.’”
“Various people are hoping that the U.S. will step up its efforts to undermine or confront the Syrian regime,” the gulf official said. “We want them to get rid” of Assad.