Sunday, September 15, 2013

Syria Must Be Split In Two

The red line was crossed in Syria, but few people have yet to talk about the most likely and only real solution which is to break the nation into two parts. If Assad remains in power those who have suffered and been displaced will never forgive him and live under his rule. A change in ruling factions is also not a viable solution in that it would probably unleash a wave of killings, and reprisals. Remember the Shiite-related Alawites rightly fear an Al Qaeda led triumph as the worst possible outcome, they would make the mass killing of Alawites their first priority. The secular leaders of the Syrian rebels, clustered in the exile group known as the Syrian National Council, also must worry about the extremist threat they themselves would face if the Assad government fell.

Many opinions and options exist as to taking action in Syria, thoughts range from, doing nothing to the opinion that intervention is long overdue. Secretary of State John Kerry recently called what is happening in Syria a "moral obscenity".  We must also factor is Iran and speculation about the message inaction sends to those in power, this elephant in the room cannot be ignored. During the election on August 20th, 2012 Obama running as a anti-war president drew a red line in the sand concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria, this is now coming back to haunt him. Recently at the G20 conference in Russia he back peddled claiming it wasn't his red line, this cost him credibility and made America appear weak.

The pictures being broadcast across television screens throughout the world of city streets bombed and blown to smithereens, dead women and little children killed by a chemical weapon attack shows Syria to be a country far from different from what we were facing when we decided to go into Iraq. Syria is not a stable country with a bad leader, it is a humanitarian disaster. The best solution will ultimately be to push towards a breakup of Syria with Assad or one of his people in control of the Alawite area in exchange for freeing the remanding part of the country to rule itself.

This is a very fluid situation. Word has come out in recent days that America is beginning to arm the rebels and now the water has been muddied by what appears to have been a off handed comment made by John Kerry during a news conference. Russian President Putin quickly picked up and ran with the idea that if Assad gave up his chemical weapons America would back off. In a masterful piece in the New York Times the shrew Mr. Putin elevated himself to the level of peace maker. Putin has now been moved into the running as a candidate for a Nobel peace prize. He did this while poking a stick into the eye of Obama and questioning America's claim that they defended the world against evil.

News out of Syria continues to provide more evidence that chemical weapons have been used. Expect things to heat up as the rebels begin to see more weapons flowing into their hands. This is all occurring just as Iran turns up the heat and warns the United States to stay out of the conflict. With Americans tired of war and frustrated after years of spending a fortune with little to show for our efforts we are facing a debate as to which is the "best worst choice" in how to proceed. The media has been fast to point out the complexity of the situation and how muddy the politics will be going forward, no easy answer or silver bullet exist for the problem plaguing Syria and the whole region.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that a no-fly zone in Syria could cost about $1 billion a month, and that the risks "include the loss of U.S. aircraft, which would require us to insert personnel recovery forces. It may also fail to reduce the violence or shift the momentum because the regime relies overwhelmingly on surface fired weapons such as mortars, artillery, and missiles." He went on to warn: it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power and that we must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime's institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.

Many people feel that the time for intervention is long gone. The rebels seem to have lost a lot of ground, the momentum has shifted back to Assad.  To make things worse the press has spent the week telling the American people that its simply impossible to do anything about Egypt, but that launching a war in Syria is absolutely necessary and nobody seems to have even sensed the contradiction. By the logic in Washington, the failure of the insurgency is the reason for intervention. As far as getting more involved or not opinions are all over the place, but polls show that most Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to military force or involvement. Below is a sampling of just a few of the comments I ran across;


        *Given earlier reports about the Syrian rebels using chemical weapons, I wouldn't be surprised if there proved to be more to this story than meets the eye. Remember when the US invaded Iraq under the pretext of Saddam Hussein possessing WMDs? Let's err on the side of non-intervention this time around.

         *The Washington Post editorial board is very misguided in calling for a US war against Syria. The US is still sorting out the mess that is Egypt, has managed to get the Israelis and Palestinians talking again, and so the last thing the US needs is to jump into a really nasty situation in Syria. As Don Rumsfeld famously said about Iraq: "There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also things we don't know we don't know."

        *The killing in Syria could end tomorrow if the rebels simply put their weapons down and faded back into the citizenry from where they came. They need to realize they bit off more than they could chew. Why should it be our problem? The Syrian people are clearly not united against Assad, and if Assad was acceptable to us all these years, there's no reason he should be unacceptable to us now.

        *American Presidents are no longer concerned about children being massacred, they only want the Fed to print more money to keep the economy from reality.

         *Who is going to look out for the children of Syria? Not Obamerica, shame on you.

        *Many people would be screaming that Obama violated the Constitution by usurping Congresses' power to declare war if we went in. They don't like Obama. We get it.

         *I am not the type of person you are who is happy to hide behind red tape when children are being massacred. Keep children safe and then deal with Congress. Only LibDemos like you hide behind the skirt when it suits you. You don't get it, the children got it - happy now.

         *The images of dead children coming out of Syria are enormously disturbing, and a person would have to be cold and dead inside not to be moved by them and want to do something proactive to prevent future attacks leading to more dead children. I wish I could un-see a lot of those images. However, US intervention in Syria does not guarantee that we will somehow prevent the death of children in Syria.

         *That is why if it is shown that Assad did use Chemical weapons the United States should launch a one night bombing raid (using cruse missiles and stealth bombers) targeting every chemical weapons depot we know of. Then stop, no fly zone, no taking out his air defenses just target the chemical weapons.The next day you inform the Syrian gov. that if they ever use their chemical weapons again you will order a similar attack against their air force. Zero need for a protracted war or campaign.

          *The national security crowd in the US want a US war in Syria very badly. They don't care about the consequences now anymore than they did when they launched the Iraq war years ago. Babies are at Stake! We have to act. And as with the NSA, what the population thinks doesn't really count.

         *No Fly Zone" means an all-out air war against the Syrian Government. That is what it turned out to mean when one was established in Libya. Its another case where the words imply one thing but mean something else.

         *Whats going on in Syria is tectonic plates realigning, not a little revolution between the evil Darth Assad and good Rebel Alliance. Syria was and is a failed state. It was poorly constructed by French and British diplomats, its a mess of peoples and politics that don't work well together and this civil war has been a long time coming. The best thing for the United States to do is stay the f__k out!


As I write this reports are coming in that the U.S. and Russia have agreed on a framework for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles. The U.S. says Syria has as many as 45 chemical weapons sites, under the agreement, the initial on-site inspections would be completed by November and Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure would be dismantled by the first half of 2014. While this is a promising development full of opportunity it is also fraught with danger and it's success is not carved in stone. It also does not halt the war and allow Syria to begin to heal.

The crux of the problem is how it end the violence and allow refugees and the rest of Syria to go about rebuilding their lives. Life in a refugee camp will have a long-term negitive effect on these people and especially on the children. The people in this part of the world are a hardy bunch seasoned by hundreds of years of war, but millions living in tents and bombed out buildings is saddening and heart breaking. Again I return to the message at the beginning of this post, few people have yet to talk about the most likely and only real solution, that is to break Syria into two parts.

Footnote; Obama's attempt to weasel out of drawing a red line in the sand at the recent G20 meeting reminded me of President Clinton claiming that a statement he made was not a lie. Clinton said "it all depends on your definition of is." For more on Syria plese read my earlier post;


  1. So much of the world's geopolitical ills can be laid at the feet of the early 20th century colonial powers who drew lines in the sand based on geographic features rather than basing the division of vast areas of the Middle East on long-standing cultural bases. That fact explains so many of the world's current ills.

  2. Cultural or Religious or probably both. Can different cultures not exist together? Or different religions? Let's not blame Colonial Powers, YOU are again meddling in their business as we did one hundred years ago. They need to be TOLERANT of OTHERS. The only way it works in life.