There is no Winner in Syria
By: Craig Chamberlain
There are instances in international politics that are a catch-22. These are situations where there are no good options, and no one really comes out a winner. Right now the world is looking at such a situation in Syria. It should be an easy problem, we have a murderous regime headed by a ruthless dictator, they have murdered thousands of their own people in their quest to stay in power, and the Assad dynasty is one of the most ruthless in the world. It should be easy but its not. Despite the undeniable brutality of the Alawite oligarchy Syria has the full backing of the Iranians, the Russians, and the Chinese(who never saw an uprising they didn’t want massacred). But the question isn’t about the interests of the Chinese or the Russians, it’s about our interests. Where do we stand in the Syrian mess?
There is no rational, strategic, or moral, defense of the Assad regime. The Baathists have been in power in Syria since the 1940′s and have ruled by cruelty and brute force ever since. They have waged two wars on Israel, occupied Lebanon, assassinated their Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, support Hezbollah, and massacred their own people whenever their power is challenged. Hafaz Al Assad slaughtered up to 20,000 of his own people in Hama in 1982, and this current uprising has cost at least 7,000 Syrians their lives. By any account this is not a regime that anyone should support. This Iranian client state is a supporter of Terrorism and should be regarded as a criminal government.
There are interests in removing the Syrian regime from power. It weakens the Iranians, it weakens Hezbollah, and Hamas, and to put it mildly it gets some real monsters out of power. But, and their is always a but, it’s not so simple. This is not like our invasion of Iraq where aside from toppling a brutal dictatorship we could have some say on who got into power. We celebrated when Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power, and now the Muslim Brotherhood, and the even more extreme Salafist groups are in charge. So much for Democracy along the Nile. We aided and abetted the Libyan rebels in their overthrow of the disgusting Qaddafi. We were rewarded by having the new Libyan regime instituting Sharia law and declaring Tripoli open for terrorist business.
It’s the same thing in Syria. This “Arab Spring” is nothing but an Islamist revolution. As morally repugnant as the Assad regime is we have no guarantees that anything that replaces them would be any less violent, less supportive of terrorism, and more peaceful towards its people and neighbors. Just as in Egypt and Libya the rebels would have us believe that this is a movement by young, secular, liberal youths who only want freedom, westernization, and peace.
If we fall for that it’s a case of fool me once shame on you, fool me again shame on me. In every instance of the Arab spring these regimes have been replaced by regimes that implement Sharia law, and espouse an anti American Islamic supremacy. Syria will be no different. The real movers and shakers behind the uprising in Syria is our old friend the Muslim Brotherhood. Do we allow the Assad regime to stand, and leave an anti American regime in place, or do we as some in Washington want, aid the rebels and bring another anti American regime to power.
There isn’t a good choice here. No matter who wins we lose. Keep the Baathists in power or Bring the Brotherhood to power. Washington should resist the urge to get involved. While the killing in Syria is a humanitarian tragedy there is no interest involved for the United States. If we think we can work with the Brotherhood, that they will be in some way grateful for our assistance we are sorely mistaken. We are the Great Satan, and no matter how nice we attempt to be to the Muslim world we are always going to be very unpopular.
Neutrality is our only real option. Getting involved gets us nothing, except a lot of money poorly spent. Assad is our enemy, but so is the Brotherhood, which contrary to the administrations stupid statements is neither democratic or secular.There are no good guys fighting in the streets of Damascus, just hired killers fighting it out over which brand of totalitarianism will govern the country. We have interests in the Middle East, and we should defend them. But Syria is not in our interest no matter who wins out in the end.