Will Assad's regime crumble from high level defections?
Christian Whiton on the future of Syria after the defections
- Duration 6:04
- Date Aug 6, 2012
Christian Whiton on the future of Syria after the defections
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-- -- let's bring in Christian white now former senior advisor of the US State Department currently principal DC international advisory joining us from -- LA bureau I've got Christian led to these defections first I mean what would it seems to be something we've seen a lot all of the defections ultimately.
Do not a -- to a large percentage of the inner circle Laura diplomats Syrian diplomats worldwide.
I didn't do all we any closer to what the white -- says is the final crumbling of the Asad regime.
I think we're probably a little closer though it's odd to me the White House thinks that that is the end point of this conflict aside.
-- the country are being deposed really just means a new phase of political conflict and possibly.
Military conflict but it is a pretty big deal -- the prime minister the head of government has decided life will be better as a refugee.
Then as the prime minister and as a senior ranking official in the -- party the bath party.
And -- didn't -- -- in the annual -- only -- Assad might be.
Christian we why don't think we've actually seen him publicly.
Since that bombing we so I would we did see him appointing a new defense minister a couple of weeks ago off today off to the bomb which killed the previous one.
But we didn't we will ensure -- that location was -- -- really seen him since.
Do you believe he's in Damascus still running the government from that all could be -- run off to look tacky on the coast which was a -- a rumor for -- while.
I think generally it's pretty hard to move ahead -- around without someone noticing.
It's not like he typically travels light and we know with the war going on you'd need someone of a security entourage.
Portions particularly -- stating that the prime minister -- job was able to defect and he probably planned it for some time but the notion that a prime minister could sneak out of the country all the way to Jordan.
And not be stopped by security forces not be arrested so anything is possible but with the departure of his head of government you sort of would think that aside.
Is still running things somehow just for a fact that his regime survives today aren't so and so look let's look.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I'd take on face value for instance the white has its claim that the regime is coming so it crumbles one day at some point in the future full of pot.
What do you think happens next in Syria and is there any good that comes out of it from a US point of view.
Well there could be good yeah.
There are lots of elements justice had that and there have been all across Arab Spring.
Some secularist some reform elements but they're also some bad elements the Muslim Brotherhood which has a long history.
In Syria and of course the administration making note recently of al-Qaeda in growing numbers.
In seriously you have the mix the potential for very good or very bad.
Unfortunately I don't think we're doing anything to influence it toward the better elements and it's pretty easy to do.
I mean it ideally we will be providing arms to the more secularist more reformist.
Elements of the rebels and therefore bypassing future events for -- toward them.
But even if we didn't take that step even providing things like communications equipment and training.
Funding other nonlethal goods we could influence that outcome but we don't appear to be and also this is an administration as we've seen from Egypt that doesn't really -- the Muslim Brotherhood that much.
Specific -- -- Walt would you like to see.
The White House do it now that would be that would change the game in the future.
I think within Syria -- we provide arms light arms we're not talking about anything too sophisticated.
But arms and training and funding in cooperation with their two key allies Turkey and Jordan.
And also the allies that have you know punch above -- above their weight if you will.
Throughout Arab Spring the United Arab Emirates and cutter and that combination of allies supporting the elements among the the Syrian rebels who are.
More -- -- closer to Turkey in the Turkish model that's not Islamist that's not the Iranian model it's not the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood model.
And you know by -- things toward them.
You know we talk a lot about elections but elections are just one element of democracy you need all these other institutions democracy is a way of thinking so let's forget about you know aside goes we'll have elections the next week and everything will be fine.
We should be concerned with due to the long term political outcome in Syria I think.
All right and -- do we have enough of a handle on the -- the good guys are right now what should we can we read -- maybe reach out to the prime minister.
Reach out to the general who defected a couple weeks ago and stop building.
-- -- friendships that and also building a real old shadow government is that here we get the point where we can even.
Think about that.
Well we should have in this conflict has been going on for seventeen months in the White House has said -- wanted aside to go so.
You know this is something that the US should have been working on for more than here but again this administration really hasn't paid attention to political outcomes but yes as you say.
You know the former regime elements in one elements they -- respect these people cooperated with the side -- would be.
Not welcomed by the Syrian people but on the other hand the -- -- some technocrats who know the military know the government are probably.
Less inclined toward a Islamist or Muslim Brotherhood run future so yes -- eighty billion dollar a year intelligence community ought to be working with these groups and you presume that the Turks and the Jordanians know a lot about these people.
Because they are right next door I -- it's an important interest for us the future of Syria it's a vital interest to our allies Jordan and Turkey so.
You know we could work with them closer Turkey is -- NATO -- But there's no indication that's happening at the end of the White House probably leaked information about a presidential finding for Covert action.
But there's really no beef behind that report I don't think.
All right Christian lighten principle -- DC international advisory thanks very much as always Christian good to see my friend.
Thank you Jonathan thank you very much --