Daniel Pipes: Stay out of the Syrian Morass
Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy has helpfully summarized in The New Republic reasons why a Syrian civil war poses dangers to U.S. interests: The Assad regime could lose control of its chemical and biological arsenal; it could renew the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgency against Ankara; regionalize the conflict by pushing its Palestinian population across the Jordanian, Lebanese, and Israeli borders; and fight the Sunnis of Lebanon, reigniting the Lebanese civil war. Sunnis jihadi warriors, in response, could turn Syria into the global nexus of violent Islamist terrorism — one bordering NATO and Israel. Finally, he worries that a protracted conflict gives Islamists greater opportunities than does one that ends quickly.
To which I reply: Yes, the weapons of mass destruction could go rogue but I worry more about their ending up in the hands of an Islamist successor government. A renewed PKK insurgency against the hostile government ruling Turkey, or increased Sunni-Alawi tensions in that country, hardly rank as major Western concerns. Expelling Palestinians would barely destabilize Jordan or Israel. Lebanon is already a balkanized mess; and, as opposed to the 1976-91 period, internal fighting underway there only marginally affects Western interests. The global jihad effort has limited resources; the location may be less than ideal, but what better than for it to fight the Pasdaran (Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps) to the death in Syria?
Also, overthrowing the Assad regime does not mean the sudden end of Syria's civil war. More likely, Assad's fall will lead to Alawi and other Iranian-backed elements resisting the new government. Moreover, as Gary Gambill points out, Western military involvement could embolden opposition to the new government and prolong the fighting. Finally (as earlier was the case in Iraq), protracted conflict in Syria offers some geopolitical advantages:
- It lessens the chances of Damascus from starting a war with Israel or re-occupying Lebanon.
- It increases the chances that Iranians, living under the thumb of the mullahs who are Assad's key ally, will draw inspiration from the Syrian uprising and likewise rebel against their rulers.
- It inspires greater Sunni Arab anger at Tehran, especially as the Islamic Republic of Iran has been providing arms, finance, and technology to help repress Syrians.
- It relieves the pressure on non-Muslims: indicative of the new thinking, Jordanian Salafi leader Abou Mohamad Tahawi recently stated that "The Alawite and Shiite coalition is currently the biggest threat to Sunnis, even more than the Israelis."
- It foments Middle Eastern rage at Moscow and Beijing for supporting the Assad regime.
Western interests suggest staying out of the Syrian morass.
FP: Readers of this blog should be familiar with my frequent claims that the West lacks strategic thinking and cunning which, if it had, would have informed it that it is not in its interest to get involved in intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts. Pipes demonstrates what strategic thinking is and why intervening in the Syria civil war is most likely to hurt its interests. Particularly since the West has systematically lost each and every intervention in the ME since WW2.
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Istanbul to convene a new worldwide forum of countries to share info and help integrate efforts to fight terrorism -- but Israel wasn't invited.
In her opening remarks at the June 7 forum, Clinton framed the terrorism challenge as a common world cause and emphasized the need to build up civilian institutions, coordinate anti-terror efforts, and establish a unified, long-term strategy for fighting terrorist groups' ideology and their sources of funding.
"We view this forum as a key vehicle for galvanizing action on these fronts and for driving a comprehensive, strategic approach to counterterrorism," Clinton said, standing alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotoglu. The United States and Turkey are the co-chairs of the initiative, known as the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Although Clinton mentioned that terrorism is a challenge in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Maghreb, Turkey, and Europe, she didn't mention Israel or any of the groups that support terrorist attacks against Israeli interests, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
The founding members are Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The State Department's explanation wasn't enough to satisfy critics of the administration, who point out that Israel is an ally and has more experience with terrorism and counterterrorism than, say Japan, or Switzerland.
"Obviously the U.S. is looking to adhere to the wishes of Turkey and the Turks have made it very clear they don't want the Israelis there," said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "But since this is a U.S.-sponsored event, hosted in Turkey, the U.S. should not be listening to anybody about who they should or should not invite."
FP: Now, tell me that the US has not realigned itself with Arabs/Islam and cannot be considered as a reliable ally by Israel?
First, the situation is much worse than just rejecting the ally that has most suffered from terrorism and has most expertise on counter-terrorism than all the other invited put together, but the very country who was responsible for the rejection has permitted and supported a flotilla full of terrorists against Israel, practically cut relations with it, targets a lot of international hostility at it and wants to puts on trial top IDF commanders for defending Israel from terror.
Just looky here:
Israel Matzav: Did Erdogan double cross Netanyahu?
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have double crossed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, resulting in Israel being unprepared for the arrival of the terror flotilla led by the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave Israel the impression through third parties that he would keep the Mavi Marmara from setting sail in May 2010, the Prime Minister's Office was quoted as saying in the State Comptroller's report released Wednesday.
"The Prime Minister worked intensively through diplomatic channels, principally with the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, to stop the flotilla," the state comptroller's report quoted the PMO as saying. "The efforts led to a high feasibility that the Turkish flotilla would be prevented."
The PMO told the state comptroller that Erdogan, contrary to the impression he created, refrained from stopping the flotilla, and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was only briefed about that a week before the flotilla set sail.
And second, this is another validation of the pathetic decline of the US, allowing itself to be dictated by Turkey.
On the weakness of the US check out what Miller writes in his article on Syria listed below about Putin and Jennifer Rubin: Obama outfoxed by Putin. Then consider this:
David Goldman: Forget Syria — Neutralize Iran
There is a strong analogy between today’s civil war in Syria and the 1936-1939 civil war in Spain, as my PJ Media colleague Barry Rubin argued recently. The analogy may be even stronger than he suggests. Spain became a proxy war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and the West had no interest in the victory of either side. Syria is a proxy war between Sunnis and Shi’ites, and (to quote then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s delicious line) we want them both to win. The difference between Spain in 1936 and Syria in 2012, to be sure, is that the West had no means to discourage the Russians and the Germans, the strongest military powers on the European continent. All the contenders in the Syrian cock-pit are tenth-rate powers next to the United States. The correct response to Syria is to neutralize Iran. By “neutralize,” I mean a campaign of air attacks and ground sabotage to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program and some other offensive capabilities.
It is unseemly and stupid for Washington to remonstrate with the Russians for playing the spoiler in Syria, for example by providing the Assad regime with attack helicopters. The way to deal with this dog is to beat up the dog’s owner, namely Tehran. Washington’s pathetic display of solicitude towards a terrorist regime that uses negotiations to buy time for nuclear weapons development aggravates every other problem in the region, Syria above all.
The greatest strategic risk to the West in the Syrian conflict is the possibility that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards might intervene with the blessing of the beleaguered Assad regime and get control of the country’s chemical weapons stockpile, reportedly the world’s largest. That would change the strategic equation in the Middle East: Iran would have a WMD second-strike capability against Israel. That, as I wrote in this space March 30, is a central Israeli concern and a supporting motivation for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
If the US were able and willing to do this competently and effectively, there would have not been any outfoxing. Unfortunately, for all practical purposes, the West is no more.
Particularly now that it absorbed this:
If the entire planet isn't throwing the galaxy's stankiest collective side-eye at Hungary right now, we've got some fucked-up priorities. It seems that in the midst of ongoing ethnic violence and anti-Semitic tensions, and in the lead-up to local elections, an unnamed Hungarian far-right parliament minister hired a diagnostic research company to certify that he is 100% free of all Jewish and Roma heritage. And right-wing nutjobs are puuuuumped!!! Human rights advocates, ethical chemists, and normal-thinking human beings everywhere, not so much.
Looks like Europe is going back right to the point of the German crisis with all the forces crawling back out from under rocks where they hid since then. This is apropos:
The Jewish Press: Europe: Then and Now
AARON DAVID MILLER: Everything in Syria Is Going to Plan