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Thursday, August 29, 2013

A proxy war?

Elliott Abrams has an interesting take on the possibility that the United States will attack Syria.
But there are 100,000 or more dead, and that is ignored if our strikes focus narrowly on the chemical-weapons infrastructure. Most were killed by bullets or artillery; are we content to watch another 100,000 killed the same way? One need not be a supporter of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine to wonder if mass killing in this strategically important region should elicit zero response from the United States while a use of chemical weapons that kills 1,000 people elicits a military intervention.
But what about our strategic interests? If our strikes are limited to Assad’s chemical-weapons assets, we leave his war machine intact — including the air power that is one of his main advantages. We make it no less likely that our enemies — Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Assad — will win this proxy war and greatly strengthen their position in the Middle East — preserving Iran’s only ally in the region, which affords them ports in the Mediterranean and a border with Israel (via Hezbollah in Lebanon).
What bothers me about this - and some of you probably figured it out from the title - is the reference to a proxy war.  I can't stand Obama either but even he wouldn't pick al-Qaeda as a proxy. Does al-Qaeda (and the other six Syrian rebel factions that are Islamist) represent the United States' interests?

This could have been a proxy war, but Obama blew that opportunity two years ago. Now, it appears that the United States' interest is that they kill each other off, but using bullets rather than chemical weapons.
I’ve been in Israel this week, and found universal the sense that America is receding in the region — and seeking to recede. I know from previous travel, and many conversations with Arab leaders, that our Arab friends in the Gulf share this view. A couple dozen cruise missiles landing on chemical-weapons warehouses will not change that perception, and indeed will raise questions about our odd priorities on both the humanitarian and strategic levels.
No question about that. But what should the goals of those cruise missiles and of any further action that the United States takes be? Surely they should not be to replace Assad with al-Qaeda.

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At 9:16 AM, Blogger Nomadic100 said...

Carl, Obama never met a Sunni Islamist he didn't love. That includes Al Qaeda.


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