All-Star Panel: US closer to getting involved in Syria?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 30, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BASHAR ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There has been many arms agreement between us and the Russians for a long time. The Russians are committed to their agreement. All that was agreed with Russia will be implemented and part of it has already been done.

GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: What I really worry about is that Assad will decide that since he has got these systems, he is somehow safer and/or more prone to a miscalculation. So, you know, again, an unfortunate decision.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad with a Hezbollah television interviewer essentially hinting that they had the S-300 missiles from Russia already. Several U.S. officials pushing back saying that delivery hasn't happened. We're back with the panel. It has been described, Charles, as a game changer when and if they get these antiaircraft missiles. The question is what happens when they do because Russia seems determined to get them to him.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If it happens, the Israelis will take them out. The Israelis have to do it. Not because they want to tilt the balance in the civil war, the Israelis have only enemies on all sides. They don't have a dog in that hunt, but the problem is that it is extremely, extremely sophisticated. The range is over 200 miles. Israel is on the doorstep of Syria.

Damascus is about the same distance from Israel as Baltimore and Washington and it has a range of 200 miles. Israel is a country that's about that long, and 8 miles wide at its waist. So it could actually attack Israeli airplanes over Israeli airspace. So, Israel will never allow that kind of weapon to be in the hands either of the Syrians or Hezbollah.

And the Russians who know that, that's why I think the report that it's already been delivered is not true. The Israelis are saying it isn't and the day all of the parts arrive and are assembled. They are going to be knocked out.

BAIER: Yeah, U.S. officials are telling us that they have been watching these armed shipments very closely and they have not arrived as of yet.  This comes though, Kirsten, as the EU has opened up shipments to the other side, the rebels allowing that. Russia is stepping up its support. I mean, it seems like this is escalating. It's already been there, but it's getting even more intense.

KIRSTEN POWERS, THE DAILY BEAST: Yeah, I think, you know, if, in fact, they do end up getting these weapons, it takes somewhere between 3 to 6 months for them to actually be operational. So that does give Israel a little bit of time to react before they are actually operational. And yes, it's escalating, but this is just a bad situation with really not very many good options even if they are arming the rebels, I mean, who are the rebels?

They are a group of people who are very disorganized. Have a lot of infighting. The strongest fighters are Jihadists, you know, Al Qaeda connected jihadists. You have the Christians siding with Assad, so your army people against the Christian population. So it is just a terrible situation which I don't see a clear military solution to.

BAIER: Secretary Kerry was over in Russia. He had what they described as a breakthrough to try to get the peace negotiations underway between the Syrian government and the rebels. Now, it seems clear that the rebels, Tucker, are backing out of this sit down and it does not seem like anything has been accomplished.

TUCKER CARLSON, "FOX AND FRIENDS WEEKEND": No and we know, by the way, whether or not these missiles have been delivered to a Damascus or not. We know the Russians have been supporting the Assad regime, obviously Hezbollah has also, pretty complicated situation. And the problem is the president, our president, has pledged America's reputation on removing Assad. And that may not really be in our control unless we are willing to get deeply involved militarily.

To give you some sense of how confusing this is. There was -- I think you showed it earlier in the show – this sort of pathetic, frankly, photo of Senator John McCain. An honorable man but with people whose identity he really knew nothing about who might turn out to be war criminals. We actually don't know. The people who support the immediate removal of Assad including the president ought to have to explain what happened in Egypt. We ought to have to understand -- what comes next?  Answer that question.

KRAUTHAMMER: But what's happening right now is the tide of battle has shifted dramatically and it shifted in favor of Assad. The Russians have huge shipments of arms. Hezbollah is now in the fight, in the city of Qusayr, which is a strategic town that controls the route between Damascus and the interior. And that's Hezbollah who are the most experienced in the region.

Iranians have troops on the ground as well. This is an Iran, Hezbollah, Russia alliance fighting a foreign war in Syria. And the reason that the American secretary of state was looking for a peace negotiation because it looks as if Assad could prevail with all of that assistance.

BAIER: We'll follow this. It's developing every day. That's it for the panel but stay tuned for the latest fitness craze.

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