This entry is more round-up than thematic.
First, one of the foremost commenters on Syria is Joshua Landis. I may have linked to it earlier, but he makes a persuasive case that our getting involved militarily is a bad idea. I won't excerpt anything because it's worth a full read.
Nikolas Gvosdev explains why Syria is not Libya, which is another reason not to get involved militarily.
Aaron David Miller outlines the various nations involved with Syria and their divergent interests, especially between Russia and the U.S. This is another reason for the U.S. to not get involved militarily. Given Obama's innate uncourageousness and desire not to alienate too many in his own party, I'm guessing that he won't authorize strikes before the election, and probably not after. It would also be the right call. Michael Tomasky thinks otherwise, specifically that something kinetic will happen in 2013 because of "we have to do something" syndrome. I depart from his CW.
Obama should have said "nyet" to the choppers. This is not the kind of "reset" we should be having with the Russians.
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed Clinton's claims, saying his country's military contracts only concern anti-aircraft defense and that Russia was merely "completing the implementation of contracts that were signed and paid for a long time ago."
Lavrov adds that an arms embargo against Syria would give the poorly-armed rebel forces an unfair advantage.
Now, here's the twist you might not have expected: At the same time as the Obama administration is denouncing Russia for sending MI-17 attack helicopters to Syria, the Obama administration is buying MI-17 attack helicopters from the same Russian arms exporter, Rosboronexport.
Yes, that's right. The Obama administration is paying recalcitrant Russia $375 million for a posse of 21 MI-17's. In turn, the Obama administration will give these Russian MI-17's to Afghan government forces to fight the newest generation of rebels in the harsh terrain of that forsaken land.
If Obama was denouncing you publicly and paying you $375 million while promising more "flexibility" on missile defense in a second term, which message would you believe?
Oh, and one other thing: As part of its relentless suck-up to Russia (scroll down for more), the Obama administration bought the Russian MI-17's on a no-bid contract.
That means that the same Obama administration that keeps demanding Congress do something about creating jobs to help Obama's stagnant economy, ensured that American aircraft manufacturers could not even try for the contract that would provide jobs for American workers to build planes to go to the country where Americans have been fighting and dying for 10 years. Those jobs were exported to Russia, along with 375-million taxpayer dollars.
The U.S. State Department is saying that Russian arms are killing Syrians "on an hourly basis".
Amnesty International is charging that the Syrian army is "systematically killing civilians".
The Economist notes that rebel strength is growing, which means a likely escalation to the conflict.
David Ignatius was in Lebanon and has concerns about the Syrian conflict spilling over into this strife-torn country. The spillover may happen. A beleaguered Assad means less Syrian support for Hezbollah, which is fine by me.