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Obama's Syria Policy: Ask Putin

4:15 PM, May 30, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
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The fact is that Russia has very little, if any, influence in Syria. Even if Putin wanted to dump Assad in exchange for some Alawite security or military chief, the Alawites can’t possibly afford a fissure in their community right now. As Tony Badran, research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explains, an intramural Alawite conflict between Assad loyalists and pretenders to the throne would make the entire Alawite sect yet more vulnerable to the Sunni-majority rebels.

Moscow is simply playing the spoiler and thereby enjoying the sort of international prestige that it has not been afforded since the end of the Cold War. The Russians are not going to engineer a coup against Assad, or in any way work to resolve the issue, because it is precisely the conflict that has given them influence in Syria—the conflict, that is, and Obama, who for no good reason has handed Moscow the reins. 

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