No US solution to quell chaos in Egypt, Syria: US experts

Washington, Aug 20 : While the political situation unravels in Egypt and a civil war rages in Syria, American analysts believe the US may be out of options to quell the bloodshed.

Spiralling violence has engulfed Cairo and has spread nationwide after the recent military takeover of power from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last week saw more than 800 deaths after Egypt's military steamrolled through a pro-Brotherhood protest. On Monday, alleged Islamist extremists attacked two police vehicles in Sinai, killing more than 25 officers and wounding three.

Despite US President Barack Obama's decision to scrap the upcoming joint US-Egypt military exercises and an announcement to halt economic assistance, American analysts believe that suspending the USD 1.3 billion US military aid was unlikely, Xinhua reported.

Slashing the aid would be of little use, as Egypt's military believes it is engaged in a life and death struggle for the soul of the country, analysts said.

"The stakes are just too stark for them to really take into account US preferences here," Jeffrey Martini, a Middle East analyst with policy research group Rand Corp., told Xinhua.

"For the military, they are trying to create a narrative that they are in a fight to protect the state from terrorism," he said.

In addition, US influence in Egypt is waning, as aid has dropped 10-fold from its Cold War high nearly two decades ago, diminishing Washington's clout in the embattled country, Martini said.

With regard to Syria, the US is yet to deliver on its promise to send weapons to Syrian rebels after the White House in June concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons.

Critics said the development underscores claims that Washington is wary of weapons falling into the hands of militants.

Wayne White, former deputy director of the US state department's Middle East intelligence office, said the most effective rebel groups in Syria are Islamist extremists, and in some cases openly affiliated with the Al Qaeda.

Also limiting Washington's options is the fact that Americans have no taste for overseas conflicts after a brutal war in Iraq and more than a decade in Afghanistan.

George Friedman, chief executive officer of the global intelligence company Stratfor, said US intervention would simply amount to another force entering the fray, and would not stop the bloodshed in war-ravaged Syria.

"The US, with its European allies, does not have the force needed to end Syria's bloodshed," Friedman said in an article on Stratfor's website.

"If it tried, it would merely be held responsible for the bloodshed without achieving any strategic goal. Many things are beyond the military power of the US," he said.

Halting civil war in Syria would mean the use of "overwhelming power", which also leads to overwhelming casualties, he said.

"You cannot transform the political culture of a country from the outside unless you are prepared to devastate it as was done with Germany and Japan."

--IANS (Posted on 20-08-2013)

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