Sunday, May 12, 2013

US Intervention In Syria: Is Past Performance A Guarantee of Future Results?

Barry Rubin writes that If You Think America Should Go to War in Syria You Haven't Been Paying Attention:
I am amazed at the current U.S. debate over Syria. Those urging intervention may be driven by humanitarian good intentions, to end the fighting and ease suffering. But whatever they are proposing--no-fly zones, safe havens, direct supply of weapons to rebels, etc—have they actually considered how four highly visible, recent precedents turned out?
The 4 examples Rubin analyzes of US intervention in the Middle East are:
  • Afghanistan
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Libya
Take a look at those four countries and ask yourself: based on the results, are any of them a clear-cut validation for US intervention?

Barry Rubin does not think so either -- four times the US has intervened and four times the results have been mixed at best.

And yet:
Now there come demands for an escalated U.S. intervention in Syria, as if none of these precedents need to be considered. Yes, the advocates of involvement usually don’t seek direct military action. True, they are upset at the death of 70,000 people, with the number certain to rise higher. This is not a partisan issue. The Obama government's policy helped create this mess by helping to build up an Islamist leadership in Syria--misled by the Turkish regime. But the Obama Administration's current apparent reluctance to escalate involvement is a good idea, though perhaps motivated by the wrong reasons.
An FSA fighter
An FSA fighter engaged in a shootout in Aleppo, from November 2012.
Credit: Wiki Commons

Rubin lists a variety of reasons to reconsider the idea of US intervention in Syria -- here are 3:
  • Does the US want to go to the trouble to fight in Syria just to install another radical Islamist -- and anti-American -- regime in Syria?

  • How will Americans react when they find out that US aid and weapons are used to murder Alawites and Christians, or carry out other Islamist schemes?

  • Can the US really expect gratitude or cooperation from revolutionary Islamists for US assistance in winning the Syrian civil war?
The question remains how the US can seriously consider committing troops to a war in Syria -- whether the Obama administration is qualified to make a decision to intervene in Syria, let alone implement it successfully.

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