Make a Deal With Assad?

So opines Leslie Gelb over at the Daily Beast – also noting that we’d have to do some sort of deal with Iran, while also keeping Saudi Arabia and Turkey on-side. Which is, well, a rather muddleheaded thing to try because, just as one for-instance, Iran and Saudi Arabia are not going to see eye to eye as long as their respective government’s are in power.

Now, as far as rat-bastards go in the Middle East, Assad is certainly not the worst, though he is pretty darned bad. In choosing what to do in that area, any where we turn we’re going to be dealing with nefarious characters. The question is which nefarious characters do we want to deal with, supposing we want a deal?

You see, we don’t actually have to be deeply involved at the moment in the area. To be sure, leaving it to fester in it’s own nastiness will carry the risk that some of the nastiness will be directed our way – vast numbers of people over there live for the day when they can kill lots of Americans. I’m sure ISIS has already got at least some preliminary plans to hit us – though being tied down in head-chopping, slave-dealing and attempted conquest, they probably can’t spare the time for us at the moment. We can pull back right now – and, in fact, under Obama it is probably better that we do so, given his complete incomprehension of the realities of power politics in the global arena. But even a hard-headed realist can make the argument that a U.S. withdrawal is a good course of action for the moment.

That argument goes like this: the American people don’t want to fight over there right now. The various factions fighting for power and influence all have, at best, grave doubts about us and, at worst, bitter enmity. For a variety of reasons, our post-9/11 campaign in the Middle East has failed and our prestige is at rock bottom in the Middle East. Getting our people out of there takes the immediate pressure off us – and by getting out of there, I mean all of us…troops, aid workers, diplomats, etc. If we really feel the desperate need to keep some sort of U.S. presence in a particular Middle Eastern nation (say, in places like Turkey, Jordan, Egypt), then it should be as small as possible. Essentially, don’t leave many American targets for the Islamists to attack. As we have recently proved, we’ve got enough oil and natural gas here at home so that even a complete collapse of oil production in the area can be endured…we’d be up to $5 a gallon gas, but as we recently paid $4 a gallon, we’d survive (and, of course, no one who attains any power over there is really going to cut off the oil spigot completely). As we are no longer involved, the blame for what happens there will less and less accrue to us and if there is an attack on us from the Middle East, the political will for war will swiftly return to the American body politic.

But we’re going to stay, of course, because inertia in politics is like that – we’ve been there, we are there, and so we’re going to keep on being there. And suppose Obama came down with a case of the ‘flu and had to spend a week in bed and during that time someone slipped him a copy of, say, Churchill’s The World Crisis or Hanson’s The Father of Us All and so Obama finally learned a thing or two about how the world works? We then might be able to proceed to a policy of U.S. engagement which isn’t stupid. And in an engagement policy which isn’t stupid, what is the best course of action?

Quite simply, it is to find a power player who can be purchased by us – and that does indicate Assad more than anyone else. His Iranian allies have not been able to restore his fortunes in Syria and he might be in the market for a new friend who can help out. Of course, he’d have to change his tune on a few things. We can’t expect him to do something enormous like make peace with Israel – but there is much he can do.

First off, no longer allow his territory to be a conduit of aid to the Iran-backed Islamists in Lebanon. Also, no longer keep any of his troops in Lebanon, thus freeing up that nation to be at least neutral in the various conflicts in the region…demilitarized, Jihadist sent packing or into the hereafter. Still a Muslim nation making rote denunciations of Israel and the United States, but no longer a subsidiary of Tehran and Islamism.

Secondly, part of Syria is going to have to become autonomous Christian areas…with Christian militias ostensibly under Syrian command, but really existing to keep Islamists out of Christian territory. It isn’t going to be much territory, but it has to be enough for Christians to live on in peace and security…and as they’ll be set up to lack heavy weapons, they’ll never constitute a threat to the existence of the Syrian government. Think of it as being akin to the Kurdish area of Iraq before everything fell apart in that nation.

Third, he’d have to amnesty those parts of the rebels who are not the full on, head-choppy Islamist fanatics…and incorporate them into his army and offer them a genuine seat at the power table in Syria. Not a full democracy – such is not really possible – but with veto power over government proposals which directly effect their lives. This new Syrian army – no longer being just the personal following of the Assad family – could then, with US air and some ground support (mostly special forces types), probably make short work of the biggest problem in Syria – the ISIS goons. Once the are taken care of, Assad gets U.S. aid to rebuild Syria and lines up with us against Iran in the regional balance of power.

Carried out with vigor and a keen eye to realities, such a policy could bring immense security relief to Israel (we might even be able to get Israel to give back a symbolic portion of the Golan: they can’t give it all back for security reasons, of course), free up Lebanon and turn Syria from long-term enemy to at least temporary friend – friend at least during the impending crisis of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and attempting to make Iraq a satrapy of Tehran…and if the deal can also be worked that the Kurdish areas of Syria are joined to those of Iraq in a new Republic of Kurdistan, then we’ve picked up three dominoes in the area and are in a much better position to confront Iran as well as an increasingly hostile Turkey. We’d also be less strategically dependent on Saudi Arabia and so we could start to systemically detach ourselves from the Saudis…until such time as they really feel the pressure from Iran and are willing to, well, not be quite so stoning-people, owning-slaves, flogging-bloggers sorts of people.

Of course, we’ll end up doing neither – we won’t get out, we won’t go in sensibly. So, get prepared for the worst of all worlds in the Middle East.

Making a Deal With Iran

It is hard to say what the real goal here is – it is clear that no matter what Iran does, while Obama is President we won’t go to war to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  Come what may, no amount of non-military pressure on Iran will succeed in convincing the Iranian government to give up their nuclear ambitions.  Given this, why make a deal, at all?  What is it that impels Obama and Kerry to seek a deal?

By making any sort of deal, all we do is increase Iranian legitimacy in the eyes of the world, alienate Israel and lower our prestige among both friends and enemies – the world will see that, in the event, we daren’t attack Iran…that we are, in some sense, afraid of them.  The Gulf States will either make the best deal they can with Iran, while Saudi Arabia and Turkey obtain nuclear weapons of their own to counter the Iranian force.  Can it be that Obama and Kerry, ignorant academics that they are, simply believe that a deal is better than a non-deal?  That the results don’t matter so much as the process, itself?

And here’s the bad news – an Iranian nuclear force is an existential threat to the life of Israel…just how long will the Israeli government hold off from saving themselves from extermination?

Prayer Works

From Fox News:

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was originally sentenced to death in his native country for his Christian faith, was acquitted of apostasy charges and released from custody.

Nadarkhani, 32, was imprisoned for three years and waiting execution for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. His charges were lowered to evangelizing to Muslims, which carried a three-year sentence. He was released with time served, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington-based watchdog group that had been campaigning for the pastor’s release.

“Today our sources in Iran reported that Pastor Youcef was acquitted of apostasy and released from prison. After languishing in prison for almost three years, he has been reunited with his family,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of ACLJ said in a statement to FoxNews.com…

Iran executed 600 people in 2011 and had 143 children on death row – under Sharia law, girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 15 are considered fully liable for their actions.  Iran is also a place where you can be stoned to death.  To nutshell it, “draconian” doesn’t begin to describe Iran’s judicial system.  And here was a man who renounced the Muslim heresy and was sentenced to death for it…and who suddenly gets his “crime” changed from apostasy to evangelizing and is hit with “time served”.  I don’t believe in mercy existing in Iran’s judicial system – something entirely outside of the barbarian brains running that show caused this to happen.

Anyone can say what they want, but I believe the prayers of millions were heard.

Syria: How Global Power Works

Like this; from the New York Times:

With evidence that powerful new weapons are flowing to both the Syrian government and opposition fighters, the bloody uprising in Syria has thrust the Obama administration into an increasingly difficult position as the conflict shows signs of mutating into a full-fledged civil war.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday that the United States believed that Russia was shipping attack helicopters to Syria that President Bashar al-Assad could use to escalate his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. Her comments reflected rising frustration with Russia, which has continued to supply weapons to its major Middle Eastern ally despite an international outcry over the government’s brutal crackdown…

Meanwhile, the report goes on to note that the rebels are being armed by the Turks with assistance from other Muslim powers.  Here’s what is actually going on:

No one outside of the precincts of the West gives a hoot about the sufferings of the Syrian people.  We here in the United States are disgusted with the mayhem and slaughter but people who are not like us don’t care – they only look at the mayhem and slaughter and think, “can I gain any advantage out of it?”.  No amount of moralizing by Obama and Clinton or anyone in the West will make the least impression upon the Turks, Russians, Iranian,  Saudis or anyone else who is so far involved in the war in Syria.  In fact, they’ll probably view such statements as a sign of weakness – figuring that if we really had a pair we’d intervene so we can grab what advantage we want out of the situation.  Holding back and lecturing all concerned is, in the view of such people, the act of cowards.

Russia and Iran want to maintain their Syrian ally.  Iran because it allows Iran to keep up pressure in Israel while also allowing Iran to project power in to the center of the middle east.  Russia because Syria is on Turkey’s southern flank and puts the Turks between two fires if any Russo-Turkish conflict arises…plus it sticks a finger in our eye and Putin (utter fool that he is) thinks that Russia’s proper role is to oppose the United States (the truth is that Russia can only survive in alliance with the United States, but Putin is just too blinded by his Great Russian nationalism to see this).  In service of this goal the Iranians have shipped thugs to Syria for the purpose of massacring Syrians who oppose the Assad regime (probably the very same thugs the Iranians use to massacre Iranians who oppose the Mullah’s regime in Teheran…so, they’re likely experienced killers who no how to choke off a rebellion).  Russia won’t send troops but is clearly sending arms – and in spite of bland words to the contrary, is sending arms which are useful in fighting the increasingly competent Syrian rebels.

Turkey would love to turn Syria in to a satellite State – the Turks, after all, were the imperial overlords of Syria for more than four centuries and while we here in the United States might not know it, the Turks understand that controlling Damascus is just as important as controlling Baghdad if you want to dominate the middle east (this is why Iran continues to press their power in Iraq along with trying to sustain their ally in Syria).  The Turks also have a very long history of enmity with the Russians (there have been, I think, 9 Russo-Turkish wars over the centuries) and so would love to reduce Russian influence in the area.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other States in the area have a vested interest in curbing Iranian influence – and taking out Iran’s key ally in Damascus is worth a lot in Saudi eyes.

Our problem is that we have as President and Secretary of State two people who appear to have zero knowledge of how the world works.  Obama and Clinton seem to think that there is, somewhere, a genuine desire in Syria and in the other players to end the bloodshed.  There isn’t.  There is a desire to win.  Assad wants to win.  The rebels want to win.  Iran wants to win.  Russia wants to win.  Turkey wants to win.  Saudi Arabia wants to win.  All of them won’t win, of course – but they are all fighting for victory as they see it.  We, under Obama and Clinton, don’t want to win – we don’t even know what we want other than an end to the violence; an admirable desire, but violence can be ended in good or bad ways.  Obama and Clinton are ensuring that when the violence ends there is sure to be one nation which won’t have won:  the United States.

Proper American policy in this matter is not to get involved in Syria – we have no dog in that hunt, unless we could grab Damascus and keep it.  That would involve a major military offensive too fraught with risks right now to be envisioned.  So, nothing to do in Syria – but we do have a strong interest in completely ending Syria’s (and, thus, Iran’s) role in Lebanon.  Syria’s armed forces are, naturally, being concentrated on the rebels.  I’ll bet their forces in Lebanon are thin on the ground:  the opportunity is for us eject them completely – ending Syrian domination and at the same time vastly undercutting the ability of the Iran-backed terrorist groups to operate there.  It is a certainty that Lebanon’s Christian population wouldn’t be adverse to a change in Lebanon’s status – certainly in the southern regions of the country, which we are most concerned about as it borders Israel.  A bit of thought and effort and some coordination with Israel and the thing could be done…by the time Syria is able to respond, it would be too late.

Will we do this?  Not a chance – Obama doesn’t even see it.  I doubt that anyone in his Administration does.  So, we’ll get more liberal hand-wringing while the Russian and Iranians battle it out with the Turks and Saudis and the winner of that not only gets Syria, but Lebanon thrown in to the bargain.  Just monumental stupidity brought about by rank ignorance on the part of our leadership.

 

Iran’s Nuclear Facility Unsafe?

Interesting bit of news from Strategy Page:

…Russians who worked at Bushehr complained of sloppy work by Iranians and a nuclear power facility that is fundamentally unsafe. Perhaps because of this, the government recently announced that 4,000 civilians living near the Bushehr plant would be relocated, at a cost of $10 million…

If the Russians are considering it unsafe, then one has to wonder just how bad it is…the guys who built Chernobyl are scared.  Just great.  Not only is Iran only building the bloody things so they can eventually get nuclear weapons, but they are building them badly, probably much too rushed and we have the risk of a major nuclear accident to add to the risk that those lunatics might get nuclear weapons.

This is the price of not acting decisively.  Iran’s nuclear facilities should have been destroyed years ago…long before any nuclear fuel could get to a nuclear plant which may be unsafe.  It is time for us to stop acting like fools – regimes like that which governs Iran are not legitimate.  They don’t have the right to issue a parking ticket, let alone build nuclear.  It is up to decent people to decide how far such a regime can go…and as soon as it became clear that Iran was bent on nukes, we should have taken the steps to halt the program, even if it meant war.

Now we’re kind of stuck.  We’ve got a President who doesn’t even realize the risks and we’ve got Iran an ace away from having nuclear weapons which can target all of the middle east.  It is just going to get worse and worse because we did not act with firmness an in accordance with American convictions about what constitutes legitimate government.  Just burns me up that the merest application of morality to the Iranian situation would have produced the correct decision…we didn’t and now we’re going to catch it hot.

Columbia Students to Dine With Iranian Tyrant

From CBS News:

A group of Columbia University students are expected to have dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad next week in Midtown.

According to the Columbia Spectator, the school’s newspaper, as many as 15 members of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association were invited.

CIRCA vice president of academics, Tim Chan, told the paper the Sept. 21 meeting is still tentative and none of the members expressed any reservations about breaking bread with the controversial Iranian leader…

Gotta love MSM reporting…”controversial Iranian leader”.  Yeah, like Genghis Khan was just “controversial” rather than, more accurately, a “pestilence”.

But, that aside, here we have a prime example of the lack of education which goes on in our schools – no one with any knowledge of the world would bother to sit down with Ahmadinejad who, by word and action, has long ago proved he brings no truth or wisdom to the public square.  Ahmadinejad is someone to be fended off until such time as he can be removed from power or destroyed.  He is not someone fit for dinner dates…but here come the elite of the elite of Columbia University acting worse than the veriest simpleton out there…having dinner with a dictator.  What’s next?  Lunch with a famed rapist?

HAT TIPAlan Stock