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.