Friday, September 21, 2012

Barry Rubin: The Syrian Tragedy: Is the Proposed Cure Worse Than the Status Quo?.

Barry Rubin asks the question The Syrian Tragedy: Is the Proposed Cure Worse Than the Status Quo?.

At issue is the proposal to deal with the horrendous slaughter of Syrians by the Assad regime. The most obvious answer, especially in light of Western actions in the case of Libya, is to intervene and aid the rebellion against Assad.

But there is a problem with this obvious, humanitarian, strategy:
The Obama Administration is backing (Islamist) Turkey as the distributor of weapons supplied by (opportunistically pro-Islamist) Qatar. Turkey and Qatar want to give the Muslim Brotherhood a monopoly over receiving weapons even though most of the rebels are non- and even anti-Islamist. As this happens, the Obama Administration is thus working directly to install a revolutionary Islamist regime in Syria that will disrupt the region, help shred, U.S. interests, and battle with Israel for decades to come. A number of Republican senators see no problem with this strategy.
Considering the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and Jihadist elements within the various insurrection groups -- the risks of these extremist groups being successful and taking over may make it better to freeze Western intervention.

Barry Rubin writes that it is a painful suggestion to make for 2 reasons
  • The Syrians have suffered so much it is understandable that one should help end this civil war as soon as possible and get rid of the current anti-American and pro-Iran dictatorship.

  • It would be easy to have a good policy toward Syria: funneling help to the non- or anti-Islamist rebel forces. Yet the United States has not made this distinction under Obama and neither the mass media nor the politicians even seem to be aware of this issue. Its help often goes to radical anti-American who want to impose another dictatorship on Syria. The Turks want a Muslim Brotherhood government; the Qataris do, too. The Saudis want to get rid of the current regime and replace it with a Sunni, anti-Iran one. With proper U.S. leadership and coordination the Saudis might play a constructive role but given Obama’s policy they will mainly just support Sunni Islamists as they did in Iraq.
Read the whole thing.

The question is whether the US is up to the task of taking on such an assignment and doing it properly.

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