Thursday, 5 September 2013

Scattered thoughts about complicating facts re Syria.

1. President Obama's rhetoric sometimes exceeds practical wisdom. His statement that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a "red line" is an example.  It was a fairly arbitrary "line" given the massive slaughters in Syria sans chemical weapons.

2.  His back-tracking in saying that the red line has been set by "the world" is disingenuous.

3. I cannot fathom whether Obama's referral to the U.S. Congress re the possible American attack on various targets in Syria is smart, or cynical.

If it is smart it will (a) smoke out Republican hypocrisy, and (b) create a valuable precedent for future Presidents.

If it is cynical it will reveal a President who does not have full confidence in his own wisdom and authority.

4. The President's action has certainly loosed a "fox in the henhouses" of both Republicans (who use any and all means to give Obama a bloody nose) and Democrats (who wrestle with their liberal consciences)..

5. The Russians have their own interests at heart in their continued support of Syrian President Assad. Russia's interests are in a stable Syrian regime which will not disturb their huge trade with Syria, and will preserve the only Russian Naval base in the Mediterranean.

6. The Russian government, given its experience with Muslim rebels in Chechnya, is nervous about Sunni opposition to  Assad in Syria.

7. Some of what is happening in Syria (and Egypt) has to do with a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

8. Ethnic Kurds in Syria - 9%  of the population (mostly heterodox Sunnis?) long for an independent Kurdistan, linking their folks in Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

9. Religious minorities in Syria  such as Christians (10% of the population) and Alawites (heterodox Shia?) have been grateful for the Assad regime which has assured them of a certain amount of security in the face of the Sunni majority (provided that they did not rock Assad's boat)

10. The opposition to Assad is disunited.  It includes  Al Qaeda adherents who wish Syria to become an unequivocal Islamist State, and the Free Syrian Army which (maybe) favours a more or less secular Syria.

11. Senator McCain and NY Times columnist Tom Friedman think that America should support the Free Syrian Army. All well and good (tongue in cheek) but the FSA would not only have to defeat Assad, it would also have to take on the Kurds and the Al Qaeda contingent.  More and more bloodshed eh?

12. Israel has benefited from a more or less stable Syria under Assad's leadership - with a de-facto if not a de-jure peace.

13. Turkey and Jordan  (and to some extent Iraq) are being stretched to the max by the presence of at least two million Syrian refugees.


All this and much more. It's friggin' complicated eh?


What might America do, but will not do?

1. Give maximum financial and logistical aid to Turkey, Jordan and Iraq for their humanitarian hospitality to Syrian refugees

2. Resist any "clinical" military action against the Assad regime. Such an intervention will result in the deaths of many innocent Syrians, and will strengthen Assad's hand.

3.  Understand that raining missiles on Syria will do no damn good.

4. Work for an international peace conference for Syria which will include the Russians, the Iranians (gasp), the Saudis, the Qataris, the Turks et al


That's all from your friendly Syrian expert JMP (lol)

And I may be wrong!

1 comment:

  1. Well it's just like you to jump to a conclusion without any attempt to think the situation through, or am I confusing you with D.C.!! (from anonymous)