Syria has the misfortune of bad timing. International powers that recently took military action in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan have little stomach for another military conflict, and Western populations are weary of armed conflict. There is a significant US opinion that the US cannot fix the problems of the world. Unlike in Libya, the Europeans are not pressing the US to take action. It is only Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that urge Washington to be more forthcoming. That does not seem to cut it. The problem is Ankara is becoming increasingly impatient. We now have more than 80,000 refugees in our territory. Order in the camps is precarious, and our Syria policy is under heavy domestic political fire. Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terror -- supported by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- is claiming the lives of Turkish citizens on a daily basis. Pressure is building up on the government to act boldly. Turkey is frustrated with the position it now finds itself in. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's plea to seek a solution to the refugee crisis has fallen on deaf ears. Ankara wants more US and/or NATO support against the PKK and Assad.
In the absence of the US coming forward, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey are trying to coordinate a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis. If the plan gains traction the US should not blame anyone for not consulting with it properly. Anyone who has a slight understanding of Middle East politics knows that Syria is a critical country in the Middle Eastern context. Libya was a sideshow in comparison to what change in Syria means for the region. The US needs to respond to Turkish grievances emanating from the Syrian crisis. US allies Turkey and Jordan are increasingly overburdened by the refugee crisis and the concomitant deterioration of the security situation.
Either a regional plan will facilitate a transition or the armed struggle on the ground will force it. For the Syrian opposition to defeat the Syrian army, it will need more sophisticated weapons. Non-lethal communications equipment will not do it. Barring these two options we will watch the carnage and will probably confront an even more complicated situation next year. Also, the US should not be surprised if a public outburst against US inaction develops in Turkey. What Turks see right now is that it is being left alone against Syria, Iran, the PKK and Russia's policy on Syria. Worse, there are some who smell ill intent in all of this.