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Monday, June 24, 2013

Syria: The devil we know or the devil we don't

Michael Totten argues that the United States really has only two options in Syria.
The only logical option for the US of those Gemayel lays out is the second—support change. Figuring out how to proceed isn’t rocket science.
Here are two ways:
The first is to go all in and back the moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army right now. Give them guns, training, air support, or some combination. It’s risky, of course, and there are trade-offs. Hezbollah and Iran might escalate. Some American aid would almost certainly end up in the hands of bad actors who will later use it against us and our friends no matter how careful we are. It’s not obvious who’s who in the field right now. But the advantage of such a forthright move is that the anti-Assad phase of the war will wrap up more quickly. Syria will spend less time functioning as a terrorist magnet, and Jabhat al-Nusra will have less time to gain traction and become a formidable post-Assad force.
The second option is to wait for Assad to fall and then back the Free Syrian Army. Everyone in Syria knows the moderate elements of the anti-Assad opposition will clash with the Islamists when the government falls. At that time it will be easy to separate the Islamists from everyone else because the Islamists will be fighting everyone else.
If we go with the second option, Jabhat al-Nusra is not at all likely to take over Syria. The entire country—the Alawites, the Christians, the Druze, the Kurds, the liberal Sunnis, the moderate Sunnis, the nationalist Sunnis, the mainstream conservative Sunnis, and the tribes in the hinterlands—will be against them. And if the West backs all of those factions, that’s it. It’s all over for Jabhat al-Nusra. They’ll be able to blow things up and wreak havoc, for sure, but they will not rule.
And the United States can gain back some of the soft power and moral authority we’re losing right now in the region. Those angry with us for our de facto support of Assad and for our de facto support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will see the United States on their side for a change.
“Assad will fall,” says Jean-Pierre Katrib, a Beirut-based university lecturer and human rights activist. “This is the course of history. Even the Soviet Union, with all its robust organization and rigid infrastructure, only lasted for seven decades. No oppressive regime can forever resist the tide of history which has been moving toward greater freedom and representation. That may sound too philosophical or naïve, but that’s how I see it. Post-Assad Syria won’t be democratic, however. That will take time. It’s going to be messy.”
Well, yeah. But what if Assad wins? 

By the way, Totten also agrees that the US missed the boat by not backing the Free Syrian Army before it was taken over by the Islamists.

Read the whole thing.

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At 2:56 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Michael Totten is an optimist... or something like that. If we had helped the Free Syrian Army two years ago, what indication in history (e.g., Iran in the '70s) that the cannibal Al Qaeda wouldn't have taken over anyway.

BTW, the first time I've heard anybody ask this question on the air... On Aaron Klein's NYC radio show from yesterday, he asks whether it was/is even legal to be running guns to Al Qaeda, our (US) enemies. That's what I keep asking. Flex cuffs... they deployed them for Enron, which was a drop in the bucket compared to the tsunami being done by these Obama/Hillary2016 people, apparently with support of people whose world will be destroyed by their actions. People supporting the arming up of Al Qaeda and their parent org Muslim Bros really need to watch the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center videos again. That's their goal.


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