Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
I generally don’t write about the same country multiple times in a week but was forced to make an exception in the case of Syria since it looks like the US bombing campaign is about to begin in earnest.
Despite reporting from heavy breathing sources that the US will go it alone in this campaign, I am confident Washington can get any needed air support from France and certain Persian Gulf nations (such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar).
More importantly, the US’ effort could be bolstered by financial support from these nations. Furthermore, our “sacrifice” will be remembered when these three very rich nations decide to purchase more military equipment.
These factors combined with continuing our alliance with Persian Gulf nations on a number of initiatives including countering Iran – and possibly Iraq – make this initiative a no-brainer from the US perspective.
By the way, I am fairly confident that these are the primary reasons why France has decided to join this campaign because God knows Paris doesn’t have the money to fund anything substantive. Indeed, it may turn out their support comes from words rather than actions.
The reason for my making this point is to show that the cost argument being made by those who oppose US intervention in Syria is a non-starter. Indeed, this campaign may be a cost benefit in the long-run for the US and its companies.
Having said that, even a capitalist like me believes that intervention in Syria is a bad idea for a number of reasons. I have noted some in a previous post but won’t let that stop me for saying it again.
Hopefully, the NSA will give this information to our president who will be so impressed with my logic that he will immediately implement my recommendations and forgive my taxes for the rest of my life.
Anyway, getting back on track, why is intervention in Syria a bad idea? I have listed nine of the numerous reasons below.
1. A bombing campaign will bring Iran back in the picture just when the country is getting on the “right” path.
2. It will further upset Russia who is already seething at our clandestine support to the rebels – a large number of whom are fundamentalist Islamists.
3. Any bombing campaign will be ineffective unless it is followed or accompanied by ground troops or weapons support and that doesn’t seem to be in the picture.
4. A bombing campaign will force Assad to throw caution to the winds and he will lash out at anyone and everyone including refugees thereby further pulling Turkey and Lebanon into this conflict.
5. The Middle East, which is already reeling under a major conflict in Egypt, could literally buckle thereby throwing a recovering global economy into a tailspin.
6. It’s unclear if Assad actually gave the order for the chemical attack. It may have been someone in his inner circle – something supported both by the recently released US intelligence reports and news of turbulence in Assad’s inner circle. This means that Washington doesn’t have a specific legitimate personal target for the campaign and, even if the bombing campaign works, there is no one who can unite the country after him.
7. The rebels are in this conflict to build an Islamist country as evidenced by their recent actions against non-Muslims. Even if certain rebel factions oppose their partners’ intentions, the Islamists are better funded and equipped (thanks to their Persian Gulf sponsors) and will over-run the more moderate elements without batting an eyelid.
8. The US has no credibility in the Middle East as literally every government it has supported in the past decades is/was either undemocratic or immensely unpopular. Going against Assad – who, despite his actions enjoys support among moderate Arabs – will further erode this credibility.
9. Finally, this campaign will unite the US with Al-Qaeda against a moderate Arab political leader. How is that for a mind-bender?
These are just some of the reasons why the United States should not – either unilaterally or multilaterally – get involved in Syria.
On the other hand, Washington (and the civilized world for that matter) cannot let the conflict in Syria go on without end.
Therefore, the only logical solution for the international community is to allow Assad and his supporters to go into exile. This will allow for a smooth transition, end the bloodshed, impede the ambitions of the Islamists, counter any reaction from Russia and Iran, and not destabilize the global economy.
Indeed, there is precedence for his action, most recently in Yemen.
However, for this step to be taken, western powers will have to swallow their pride and placate their supporters.
Unfortunately, while they may be able to topple governments, overcoming their egos may be a bridge too far for the global superpowers.