Today's Economist has a shockingly honest and accurate account of the demise of the Syrian armed rebels, which is consistent with reports that we have received from inside Syria. According to the Economist, the armed rebels are "starting to wilt," as the result of serious military setbacks in Damascus and Aleppo. The armed rebels have failed to win the "hearts and minds" of the Sunni middle class populations of Aleppo, the largest city in the country, and Damascus, the capital. The rebels made a serious strategic blunder in launching attacks against the two largest cities, and, as the result, suffered crushing defeats in both cities. While they had some prospect of conducting a war of attrition in the countryside, the Economist now reports that, unless the U.S. and other outside powers arm the rebels with anti-aircraft weapons and establish a no-fly zone, the cause is lost. Furthermore, the militarization of the opposition has also weakened the domestic peaceful oppositionists, who were pressing for the Assad government to reform. To add insult to injury, the Economist also noted that, during her recent visit to Ankara, Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton snubbed the Syrian National Council, refusing to meet with any of their representatives. The SNC, the Economist wrote, is on the "verge of irrelevance."
Of course, despite this, Nerobama is pressing ahead with plans for a direct intervention around the thoroughly phony pretext of "loose chem weapons." This has been an issue of pointed dispute between the White House and the JCS.