Assad and Syria
An article in the Boston Globe dated yesterday expresses the Russian view that all of Syria must be “liberated” before there can be any move toward removing Assad from power. Regime change seems to have become a western knee-jerk reaction to dictators without much thought as to what, if anything, is to replace the hated present regime. Assad is definitely not a “nice” man. He’s directly responsible for the deaths of thousands and the destruction of some of his own country’s cities. He could have avoided much of the bloodshed by talking with the protesters back in 2011, but he chose to shoot them instead. The battles that followed have led to terrible destruction of once beautiful cities. We’ve all seen the photos many times over, and well as the pitiful ones of children caught in the battle.
Brutal though he may be, his is the only government there is in Syria since we can’t really claim that the so-called Caliphate in Raqqa is anything like a recognizable government, unless, of course, the West is looking to make sure they seize power over the whole country. The theory that there are “moderate” islamists that deserve support seems to be just that, a theory. While there may be individuals who embrace some western ideas, they have undoubtedly left by now, or are busy fighting over bits of territory among themselves.
From Josh Landis’ Syria Comment:
The sad truth is that those hoping for a quick resolution to this crisis are likely to be disappointed. Contrary to expectations, the US is unlikely to enter into war with Russia over Syria. The moral argument for intervention cannot out-weigh the immense risks that the US military would be taking were it to engage in a direct and costly war with Russia. Despite the hawkish rhetoric of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, chances are that once in the White House, she will come to the same conclusion about using American military force as President Obama. Real world constraints reduce the chance that US will deploy force in Syria. The Syrian opposition and their backers will be forced to rethink their current path.
Most policy makers involved in the Syria crisis insist that “there is only a political solution to the Syria crisis.” The unstated problem with this argument is timing. Can a political solution be arrived at before a clear military winner emerges on the battlefield? Mustn’t one side realize that it has no choice but to accept a settlement before both sides will come to the table? The answer to this question is clear. No political solution can take place before a clear winner emerges on the battlefield. The longer this process is delayed, the longer the crisis will drag on, and the greater will be the death count.
Based on our sad experience in Iraq, I find these arguments persuasive. Everyone who thinks should read Ehsani’s entire post, even though it’s unlikely now that we’ll try what failed so miserably in Iraq in Syria. For once, the Russians seem to be right.
There’s another interesting piece from Aaron David Miller at the Wall Street Journal Blogs well worth a careful read.