Tag Archives: Syria

Thinking About Syria

Does anyone in any position of responsibility realize that for the Alawites lead by Assad, this is a matter of life and death?  That if they don’t win the civil war, they are in for a round of murder and pillage at the hands of their enemies?  While they are Muslims, they are considered to be a sort of heretical Islam by the dominant Sunni Muslims and for centuries before Syria fell under French rule post-WWI, they were oppressed by their fellow Muslims.  To be sure, they have used cruelty and chicanery to gain and maintain mastery as a minority Ruling Class in Syria, but now the fat is in the fire – the Alawites are not expecting mercy and brotherhood from the other side if they lose, so they’ll fight on until destroyed or they have secured their own homes and families.  Lobbing a few missiles at them will not make them stop doing whatever they think proves necessary to, at minimum, maintain their control over predominantly Alawite ares of Syria.  Only an army more powerful than they can do the trick…and if you’re wondering why this minority of 12% of Syria’s population has maintained control for decades and has an even chance of winning the Civil War look no further than the fact that the Alawites retained for themselves the best weapons…and constituted a majority of the total Syrian armed forces pre-Civil War.

I bring this up because no one seems to be thinking along these lines – that people with their backs to the wall are not likely to be easily swayed.  We’re treating them as if they are concerned about the whole of Syria and its welfare.  In some theoretical sense, this might be true – but in the concrete, the Alawite soldiers are fighting for lives of their wives and children.  These people will not go down easily.  Of course, they are not the only minority group in Syria.  In fact, Syria is a grab-bag of minority groups.  Sure, its overwhelmingly Muslim – but there are nearly as many Christians as there are Alawites (and the Christians probably do favor the Alawites because, point blank, the more secular-minded Alawites have tended to live and let live with the Christians…meanwhile, the rebels are increasingly infected with Islamism, and so Christians are increasingly brutalized); Islam in Syria is broken up in to quite a lot of different sects.

Syria isn’t really a nation as we think of it – its just another one of those colonial left-overs.  Ruled for centuries by the Turks, taken over by the French post-WWI, the people there never thought of themselves as “Syrians” in the sense that we think of ourselves as “Americans”…people with a common history, a shared set of basic values and a willingness to sink sectarian differences for the good of the larger community.  Essentially, the Alawites have provided what the Ottomans provided until 1918 and the French until 1946 – a group of people who keep down everyone else, until just lately, when for a variety of reasons a rebellion broke out (not in any case the first), at a time when non-Syrian forces were willing to back the rebels (and not us, good people – quite a lot of Gulf State Muslim money has poured in to the rebels).  And don’t think the rebels are keen on establishing a republic in which all Syrians live in brotherhood.  There might be a few such trotted out to meet with a junketing Senator McCain, but most of them are primarily interested in securing their own particular interests…and, if things work out, grabbing the sort of power the Alawites have held on to since the 1970’s.  I almost hate to point this out, but the only thing which can be found in common among most Syrians is probably a loathing of Israel…but even that has been set aside so that they can kill each other in a mad scramble for power.

Crucial to any expectations of results is to understand the reality of things.  Syria is not just “Syria”.  Its a lot of different things and the people battling there with extreme cruelty have clear ideas of what they want.  If we don’t have a clear idea of what we want and how it relates to the reality on the ground in Syria, then whatever we do will fail.  This does not at all preclude a diplomatic solution to the problem, by the way – in fact, it opens up wide vistas of diplomatic action, if we will understand the facts and figure out what it is we want.

Furthermore, we do have the power to impose a solution – our weight thrown on to any particular side will allow that side to emerge victorious.  If, that is, we make it clear that if we decide to come in on a side that we’ll come all the way in with whatever level of force would prove necessary.  Half measure won’t do; lobbing a few missiles is absurd.  If we want to have any particular result in Syria, then we have to will the means as well as envision the ends.  We could, perhaps, use our overwhelming power to convince all sides that it is time to sit down and talk – to set up some sort of federal or cantonal system of government which will allow each major element its own absolute sphere, surrendering only enough power to the central government as is necessary to make Syria a functional, national unit.  Carrots for everyone – and a threat of the Big Stick for anyone who decides that they’d rather keep fighting instead of negotiating a settlement…and, yes, this does mean that in certain circumstances we throw our weight behind Assad’s Alawites (if not behind Assad, who probably could be eased out by Alawites convinced that we’ll ensure their lives and property against revenge).

But if we are not willing to envision an end and unwilling to provide the means to achieve the end, then it is best we stay out.  At this stage of the game, staying out is probably the best course of action – mostly because Obama has botched it so badly to this point. It is not because people are getting isolationist that intervention in Syria is unpopular, but because Obama has proven himself a fool and no one wants to dive in to a murky situation without some idea of what we hope to accomplish, what it might cost and how long it will take.  But good things can be done with American power – wisdom is not to be found in launching endless wars, nor in the twin follies of pacifism and isolationism.  Clear headed, rational thinking informed by the actual facts can get us out of this mess – and help the people of Syria, in to the bargain.  My prayer is that some how, some way even Obama will start to see things clearly and a reasonable, humane policy will emerge.

UPDATE:  I’ve pondered it some more and here’s a follow-on comment I left elsewhere:

…(we have) all the ingredients which cool headed diplomacy can make much hay with.  If we understood diplomacy (ie, if we didn’t have Obama and team in charge) we would long-ago have said that our interest is peace in Syria and to that end we will exert pressure on all sides to engage in talks to reform the government of Syria to secure absolutely minority rights.  Once that announcement is made, support can be rounded up in the world for the effort and support built at home for a forward policy – while backstairs negotiations let all and sundry know that we are determined upon a peace settlement to be imposed on the warring sides with the carrot being US and international help to rebuild and the stick being US force being thrown against whichever sides proves most resistant to compromise (in other words, we’re telling them that we’ll even fight on Assad’s side, if he proves most willing to compromise).  Once the preliminary work is done, we call a conference of all the interested parties to reach an agreement to embargo all arms and impose sanctions on the warring factions…Russia, China and Iran would strongly object to this (and thus no such thing could be done through the UN…which is why we’d ignore the UN and go for genuine diplomacy), and we’d lay down the marker:  we’re going to do this and we’re willing to fight…and if Russia, China and Iran want to fight us in order to maintain their particular clients in Syria, then let’s have at it.  They would back down in front of that as no one in the world wants to go to actual war with the United States of America.  Once a cease-fire agreement is hammered out it is presented to the Syrian factions and they are given 36 hours to comply or face sustained military action by the United States until they do agree.  More than likely, all but the Islamist fanatics would agree, and they could be swiftly exterminated.  We can then mid-wife in Syria a Cantonal form of government allowing each group to keep its own while cooperating to sustain the larger entity of Syria.

At any rate, that’s what I would do.

The Answer to the Syrian Question is “Lebanon”

First off, Russia has released a report claiming that Syrian rebels used poison gas on March 19th. Whether or not the report is true, it does cast doubt on the Administration’s “Assad rat bastard against Freedom Fighters” narrative.  The Russian report, if proved correct, just adds one more bit of evidence that the rebels in Syria are just as nasty and inhuman as the Assad forces.  And this, in turn, makes it less and less wise for us to intervene in Syria.  But, there is a course of action the United States can take during this crisis which will help us, help our allies, weaken our enemies and leave us in a better position no matter who wins the Syrian Civil War – and that is to concentrate our efforts on Lebanon.

What is important is not necessarily what is in the newspapers.  In fact, what is making the headlines is as often as not the last thing we should be paying attention to.  This is because most reporters and editors are ignorant of things like history, strategy, military issues and such.  They are in the news business not to keep the citizenry informed, but to make bags of money and get rich and famous.  This Onion parody of why the MSM reported on Miley Cyrus actually explains the motivation of the  news business correctly.  Read it for the truth – and for the laughs, as its quite funny (language warning).  While reports showing the horrors of war and dead bodies will get people to tune it (especially if their are explosions!), what you’re seeing there isn’t what is at issue…it is the result of an issue.  The issue going on in the Muslim world right now is who gets to be in charge…all the battling and civil war and revolution and repression is all about who gets to be top dog.  Our leaders might think this, that or the other thing but the people there causing the trouble simply want power and are willing to go to horrific, anti-human lengths to obtain it.

Given this, we can be certain that whomever ruthlessly climbs to the top over a mountain of corpses probably won’t be a paragon of virtue.  In other words, whomever wins will be an enemy – actual or in prospect – of all we hold dear.  We can’t intervene on either side because both sides are simply after the same thing – ruthless, absolute power in order to perpetuate themselves (though, truth be told, the least dangerous outcome for us is an Assad victory…he doesn’t appear to have dreams of a global caliphate, as do many of the rebels).  So, our task then is to ensure that at the end of the bloody war, we and our allies are in the best possible position.  To me, this makes me turn to Lebanon.

Lebanon was wracked by civil war for years and then, essentially, came under Syrian and proxy-Iranian rule (the Iranian proxies are Hezbollah).  While this has made for peace in the sense of nobody immediately shooting each other, it has made for a lot of oppression as neither the Syrians nor Hezbollah are interested in the rights and desires of the people of Lebanon.  With Syria now locked in a death match and Iran expending energy keeping her ally Assad in power, the time is ripe for us to try and leverage Syria and Hezbollah (Iran) out of Lebanon.  The people there probably don’t like Syrian/Hezbollah rule, even if they don’t particularly like us, either.  There’s not much Syria can do if we decided to apply a little political pressure backed by covert military pressure to help the Lebanese push out the Syrians and then turn on Hezbollah. If we can get Syria/Hezbollah out of Lebanon then at the end of the Syrian Civil War we’ll have a weaker Syria, a weaker Iran, a free Lebanon and a more secure Israel – and if our efforts fail, we’ll be no worse off than we are now and we won’t have gotten ourselves involved in a Syrian Civil War which can do no good for us.

I don’t at all expect Obama to do anything like this.  He’s even more ignorant than a news reporter.  But I thought it worthwhile to demonstrate that there is an alternate policy for us to support – and thus put to rest the concept that some how or another because Obama screwed up and Assad is a bastard that we have to get directly involved.  The world doesn’t work like a machine – its run by human beings and thus can be quite confusing and the real issue can be off to the side while everyone is looking at the shiny object.  A true sense of our power and what our interests are clears things up a lot – pity that hardly anyone in a position of authority has any idea of either thing.

It is Time for a Conservative Anti-War Movement

As the Ruling Class circles the wagons around Obama and determines upon war in Syria to pull Obama’s bacon out of the fire, the question becomes: what can we do?  My answer:  start an anti-war movement.

To be sure, the anti-war movement in the United States has heretofore been the province of leftists – and very often the most kooky of leftists.  The left’s anti-war activity has tended towards being anti-American in effect – and more commonly anti-GOP, because we see how invisible it is now that a liberal Democrat is proposing war.  But just because leftists kooks have been anti-war that doesn’t mean that being anti-war is wrong, provided your being anti-war for sensible reasons.

War is a terrible, cruel and nasty business and should be avoided if at all possible.  Some times it is, however, necessary.  War will come when it comes – and there may even come times when it is necessary for us to start the war.  But what we have here in Syria is a war that isn’t coming to us and which we have no need to start.  The United States is not threatened.  US allies are not threatened.  The two sides in the Syrian civil war are equally bad – think of it like the Spanish civil war of the 1930’s where communists and fascists battled it out.  What possible good would US intervention have done back then – we’d have either midwifed a communist or fascist dictatorship.  In Syria, we can back Assad’s hideous regime, or back the al-Qaeda-like rebels.  No good.

The problem we have today started a long time ago – when Truman criminally hurled us in to the Korean War without obtaining Congressional approval.  That is when the war-making powers of Congress first began to atrophy.  These days, we have plenty of people – including some who are not at all dumb – saying that the President has authority to launch military action in Syria based upon his powers as Commander in Chief.  That is an absurd reading of the Constitution – but it is entirely in line with practice over the past 63 years.  A conservative anti-war movement must have as its goal the reform of this pernicious doctrine – we must return war-declaring power to the Congress.

While getting 100,000 people in to DC by Monday next might short-circuit this war in Syria, I doubt much that such a crowd can be gathered on such short notice.  Looking for the longer term, we should be seeking a law which will specifically prohibit the expenditure of defense funds on offensive actions not authorized by Congress (it is the power of the purse which gives Congress its actual power).  No money can be drawn from the Treasury without Congressional authorization, so all military expenditures would be covered by a law which says that the money can’t be used for offensive operations until Congress declares war (and it is preferred that it be an actual declaration of war – not an authorization to use force). This would still allow the President to use military force to defend – to defend the United States and our allies.  But it would not allow the Syrian strike (nor would it have allowed the Libyan war…and for you liberals out there if you want a piece of this, it would have prevented Panama in 1989 and Grenada in 1983) unless Obama obtains a declaration of war against Syria, first.

This all fits in with the broader, conservative desire to reform government by re-limiting its powers as intended by the Founders.  Only a limited government is a free government – and if we don’t stop this sort of thing, we will find ourselves living in an unfree nation very shortly.

Obama Tosses Syria Ball to Congress – Congress Should Vote it Down

Obama found out this last week that just setting a foreign policy isn’t the same as carrying it out.  Obama long ago said that use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a “red line” – and then he did precisely nothing to garner domestic and international support for a course of action should Syria cross that red line.  When it became alleged that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons (something I’m not at all convinced about – though, of course, the rat bastards who govern Syria are fully capable of such savagery), Obama found himself all alone.  After blustering a bit about how we can go it alone and he doesn’t need Congressional authorization, Obama backed down – and passed the buck to Congress.

On the left this is being lauded as a brilliant move – it puts the onus, so it is claimed, on Congress.  The idea is that Congress must authorize action – thus getting Obama off the hook for taking an ill-advised action – or bear the blame for refusing to act while Syria’s government murders children with poison gas (amazing how our liberals will still say its all “for the children” while they continue to back abortion which kills millions of children).  In the liberal mind, either way this works out for Obama – we’ll either get the military action and Obama is a hero, or the Congress will look like heartless bastards, and the Democrats will put full blame on the GOP for being the leading heartless bastards. I don’t see it that way.

What Obama is asking for is permission to pointlessly lob a few missiles at sites which will be long-since cleared out of valuable targets by the time we act.  Such strikes will not alter the course of the Syrian civil war, they will not stop the Syrian government from using chemical weapons and, indeed, will probably encourage further use (nothing encourages aggressors more than a weak response to aggression) and such strikes will do nothing to convince the world that America is a power to be feared.  I’d rather take the alleged heat for being a heartless bastard for not acting than bear the odium of participating in a perfectly useless action.  The Congressional GOP should vote this down.

If we vote for anything it should be an act which instructs the President to seek an international coalition for dealing with the Syrian crisis with a mind towards thwarting Iranian and al-Qaeda aims in Syria.  In short, pass a resolution which calls for a rational foreign policy.  In this resolution should be a general authority to use force in defense of the United States and our allies.  Throw the ball right back in Obama’s court – he’s the one who made this foreign policy failure, and he should be stuck with trying to clean it up.

UPDATE:  The case for war is made here - astonishingly at First Things, usually a place where first-rate thinking is displayed.  You can read it, if you like, but the nutshell is that we’d better get a-killing Syrians lest President Obama be shown to be completely ineffectual.  Heretofore, I had always rated The War of Jenkin’s Ear to be the most misbegotten war in human history, but this would displace it:  we’re to go to war to make the world safe for poltroonery.  Because Obama is afraid to lead and at his wit’s end (its a short walk, under the best of circumstances), we’re to send our best and bravest out to kill Syrians in an effort which is to be geared merely to avoid global mockery of Obama.

Sorry, ain’t buying – a great power can survive idiots being in charge, but we can’t survive going to war to cover up for an idiot.

Should We Go to War in Syria?

As the Obama Administration lets on that it is planning US military action against Syria and our forces move in to position we do have to ask, is such a war necessary?

First and foremost, is there any vital US interest at state in Syria?  To a certain extent, yes.  Syria’s government has long been allied with Iran and has fostered the terrorist group Hezbollah.  Destroying the Syrian regime, though, would only be useful if the potential successor regime would no longer be allied with Iran or any other US enemy and/or if such a regime would cease supporting terrorism…given the grab-bag collection of Islamists who make up the bulk of the Syrian opposition, it is almost certain that if they gain power they will continue to support terrorism and if not allied with Iran, would ally with some other enemy country, or countries.  Indeed, a successor regime run by the Islamist opposition might even re-ignite Syria’s war with Israel (which has never officially ended).

Secondly, is there a moral demand that we act – some times a nation must go to war even without a vital, national interest at stake simply because there is a vital, moral issue at stake.  Given the very nasty brutality of the Syrian regime, there is a moral case to be made for war.  Though if we were to move on this, it would smack a bit of hypocrisy because the Syrian government isn’t doing anything it hasn’t been doing for decades, accompanied by a resounding silence on our part.  Additionally, the Islamist opposition to the Syrian regime has been engaging in routine brutality of its own – especially, it appears, against Syria’s Christian minority.  Given their nature, we can expect an Islamist regime to crack down even harder on Christians, and on any Muslims who don’t live up to the Islamist ideal.  Morally, there is no problem with targeting the Syrian regime, but the result of knocking off the Syrian regime is almost certain to be a regime even more horrific.

Overall, the result of a successful military operation against the Syrian regime appears to be something worse than we have now.  That Assad is a brute and his regime inhuman is beyond doubt, but given the nature of the opposition, a successor regime would be at least as bad and, perhaps, more destabilizing to the overall region.  A tenet of the Just War Doctrine is that the war must not cause a worse situation than currently exists – given the  strong arguments against a good result (ie, getting something better than we have now), an argument can be made that a war against Syria does not meet the Just War criteria.

I tend to come down on that side – in Syria, we can’t make a result better than the current state of affairs and our efforts will, indeed, very likely make a worse result.  We should, therefor, stay out of Syria.  Our goal in this mess should be, instead, to work against overall enemy forces – which include both the Syrian regime and those fighting it.  Right now, with Syria wracked by civil war, proper American policy should be to leverage Syria completely out of Lebanon and by so doing also get Hezbollah out.  We cannot fix the whole world, but we can take advantage of this situation to help fix a small part of it – Lebanon has been a stomping ground for Syrian imperialists and Islamist terrorists for decades.  It has become a standing threat to Israel and the non-Islamist population of Lebanon suffers grave injustice from the Syrians and the terrorist groups.  Getting Syria and the terrorists out of Lebanon won’t usher in global peace, but it will help out the Lebanese and the Israelis as well as strengthening the overall US position in the area.  We should be doing what we can – directly and indirectly, to clear out Lebanon while sealing off, as far as possible, the Syrian civil war.  Once a winner emerges, then steps can be taken depending upon the circumstances.

What’s Next for Syria?

There have been many reports recently that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels – and this action supposedly crossed Obama’s “red line”, which should have triggered a US response.  But, no response.  Why?  This article in the New York Times gives a pretty solid reason:

As Islamists increasingly fill the ranks of Syrian rebels, President Bashar al-Assad is waging an energized campaign to persuade the United States that it is on the wrong side of the civil war. Some government supporters and officials believe they are already coaxing — or at least frightening — the West into holding back stronger support for the opposition.

Confident they can sell their message, government officials have eased their reluctance to allow foreign reporters into Syria, paraded prisoners they described as extremist fighters and relied unofficially on a Syrian-American businessman to help tap into American fears of groups like Al Qaeda.

“We are partners in fighting terrorism,” Syria’s prime minister, Wael Nader al-Halqi, said.

Omran al-Zoubi, the information minister, said: “It’s a war for civilization, identity and culture. Syria, if you want, is the last real secular state in the Arab world.”…

Which statement is pretty close to the truth – but doesn’t change the fact that Assad’s regime has been an unrelieved series of rat-bastard actions since the days when his dad was in charge.  While I doubt recent claims of chemical weapons use, it is pretty sure that the Syrian regime has used poison gas in the past against rebels.  Additionally, while the Assad regime is officially secular it has been long allied with Islamist Iran and has provided vital support to Islamist Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Even as an allegedly secular State, Syria has been helping our Islamist enemies – in addition to being implacably opposed to the existence of the State of Israel.  There is, in short, not much for us to love there.  Of course, the rebels do appear dominated by Islamists, so if they do manage to topple the Assad regime, it also won’t work to our advantage.

And so I’ve always said we should stay out – no matter who wins in Syria, we lose.  But what we should have been doing is using Syria’s civil war as a means to pry Hezbollah out of Lebanon.  Right now, no one in Syria has much time or resources to be supporting Hezbollah – a concerted effort against Hezbollah will now ultimately bear fruit because all actions against them will weaken their power, which cannot be easily rebuilt without active Syrian support.  Partnering with Israel and those elements in Lebanon (which are substantial) which would prefer to see an end to the quasi-State run by Hezbollah in Lebanon, we could have secured genuine Lebanese independence – so that no matter who wins the Syrian civil war, Syria’s position in Lebanon is permanently destroyed.

But, we did nothing of the kind –  because Obama doesn’t see enemies over in the Muslim world, just alienated friends (alienated by us, of course).  Obama – and all his foreign policy team – probably never even thought about how to exploit the Syrian civil war to our strategic advantage.  We’ve dithered and blustered and threatened and half-armed the rebels – and we may yet be dragged in to direct participation in the war and the subsequent cost of pacification and rebuilding.  But we won’t secure a pro -US regime in Syria and we may well end up midwifing a new, virulently anti-US regime which also controls Lebanon.

Its a miserable situation and because our leaders are ignorant of the realities of the Middle East, it will likely just get worse.

Intervention in Syria?

According to the headline number in the Washington Post/ABC poll, the American people say “no”:

In general, 73 percent say the U.S. military should not get involved in the conflict.

But the bad news is in the details:

But almost exactly as many say they’d support U.S. military involvement if Syria were to lose control of its chemical weapons, as do 63 percent if the Assad regime used these banned weapons against its own people – an action that Barack Obama has warned would “cross a red line.”

Now, I agree with the 69% who, later in the poll, say that if the Assad regime were to attack an ally, we should intervene – but for me the word “ally” in that area of the world only means “Israel”.  You’ve got to be the most obtuse sort of State Department pinhead to actually see Turkey as an ally these days – they aren’t quite as far gone down the route of Islamism as Egypt, but they’re heading there quickly.

For the duration of the Obama Administration you are going to find me to be the most dovish of people – because Obama is a foreign and military policy idiot and I simply don’t trust him to run either thing…and as during wars blood gets shed, I’m even more wary of Obama as Commander in Chief than I am as him being director of our foreign policy.  Short of absolutely surrendering our national honor, I want peace at any price at least until January 20th, 2017.

But this poll shows that if Assad does what he may well do – ie, go nuts –  then Obama has a ready-made public support for military action.  At a time when our military is already strained and we’re absolutely bankrupt.  What we’re likely to get, if Assad does go nuts, is a half-assed intervention along the lines of the mess we’ve made out of Libya…at a time when the non-Islamists of Syria are already mistrustful of us because of our dithering with the UN over the Syrian Civil War…and, of course, at a time when the Islamists of Syria are moving from victory to victory and likely to take over as soon as the barbarians can settle which particular batch of savages will get to be in charge.  There is no good we can do in Syria other than providing some medical and food aid to alleviate some of the worst of the suffering – and even that should be done by third parties we supply so that we don’t have to put Americans (ie, “targets”) in to the area.

Obama’s foreign and military policies have made the United States weaker than at any time since 1940 – and all we can really do is hope the fool doesn’t lead us in to a major war before he gets out of office.  And even then the damage he’s done and doing might make war inevitable once he’s out of office.

Stay out of Syria.  Get out of Afghanistan.  Bring the boys and girls back home and let’s hunker down for the remaineder of the Error of Obama.  (As an aside to you pinhead liberals out there – if Obama does order intervention then you’re not going to see me out there holding anti-war demonstrations and slandering Obama about the conduct of the war – I’m not, in short, going to be like you:  when the guns go off and our boys and girls are in harms way, then Obama is my Commander in Chief and I back him 100% in the pursuit of victory…I just hope the dolt can deliver it; or that the military can carry it off in spite of him).

Be Cautious About Syrian Civil War Stories

From the BBC:

…The BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says it remains far from clear what took place at Tremseh.

The government says its armed forces mounted a special operation after tip-offs from local people about large numbers of armed rebels operating from hideouts there…

…Our correspondent says that, in contrast to the massacre at Houla two months ago, the opposition has not yet produced videos or a detailed lists of names of civilians killed.

He says that activist and human rights groups have named a handful of civilians they say died in the bombardment of the village, but the few video postings they have produced, showing the bodies of young men, are consistent with the government line that many rebel fighters were killed…

This, of course, doesn’t in any way, shape or form rehabilitate the Assad regime – we know that through the reigns of both father and son, that regime has been nothing but a load of corrupt, cruel, rat bastards.  But what we have learned of the rebels can give no one any thought that their replacing the Assad regime would bring in light and reason.  Here is what the Syrian rebels are like:

Shocking images have emerged which show the aftermath of Christian churches ransacked by NATO-backed Syrian rebels, illustrating once again how western powers are supporting Muslim extremists in their bid to achieve regime change in the middle east.

A photograph provided to us by a Christian woman in Homs, scene of some of the bloodiest clashes of the conflict, shows a member of the Free Syrian Army posing with a looted Catholic cross in one hand and a gun in the other while wearing a priest’s robe…

I’ve heard stories that whole villages of Christians were forced to flee from the rebels.  It must be kept in mind that the rebels are Islamist.  They will use women and children as shields.  They will deliberately set things up so that when regime forces attack, non-combatants will be killed.  They will, to put it bluntly, be cruel as well as cowardly and that the only thing thing whey want to change is who is in charge of looting while also adding a layer of sharia barbarism to the nation.

There is nothing we can do in Syria unless we wanted to invade and kill every single person in possession of a weapon.  Then you could be fairly certain you were killing all the people who are causing the trouble.  But as we are not prepared to do something like that, our course of action is to stay away – with perhaps providing some assistance to the Christians who are able and willing to flee.  Other than that, US policy should be directed towards taking advantage of the Assad regime’s difficulties and leveraging the Syrians out of Lebanon.  That would do more for US and Israeli security than pretending that the rebels are other than rats and helping them to replace the current rats in charge.

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.


US May Get Huffy About Syria’s Regime

From Bloomberg:

The Obama administration may call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down soon, a U.S. official said as the State Department said the Syrian government has detained more than 30,000 people, some in cages.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she wants to see more pressure on Assad to step down from Europe, India and China, including the sanctioning of Syria’s oil and gas industry, speaking in an interview with CBS News yesterday…

And if that doesn’t work we may even send a strongly worded protest.  But calmer heads in the Obama Administration are worried that such a hard line stance might cause Little Assad to go slow on his reforming zeal.  There is much worrisome talk that in a fit of anger President Obama may even decide to make himself perfectly clear about Syria.

What a freaking joke of a foreign policy team…start a half-war in Libya to “defend civilians” while we carefully think over whether or not we should even mention Assad’s massacre of civilians in Syria.  Do you hear the laughter from our enemies?  The curl of contempt on their lips as they consider our President?  Does anyone out there think that any enemy of the United States is worried about what we might do when they attack?

We’ll be a generation repairing the damage Obama and Co have done to America’s reputation around the world…and part of the price we’ll have to pay will be in blood.  This is the result of allowing ourselves to be hoodwinked by slick campaigning…we were fooled in 2008 and we’d better un-fool ourselves in 2012.