Contributors

Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Photo Seen 'Round The World


Friday, September 05, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Until There Is Plurality...

The political world is all in a tizzy today as Hillary Clinton described the president's decision not to support the Syrian rebels early on as a "failure." Let's set aside the fact that her motivations were purely political and likely planned far ahead of time by both her and the White House. What I'm wondering today is this: what action would have been better and why?

The issue here is the massive growth of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in both Syria and Iraq. Many of the president's critics seem to think we could have prevented this from occurring. How, exactly? We tried taking over Iraq and staying there for years and that didn't work. We've been nation building in Afghanistan for nearly 13 years and that hasn't worked. In Libya, we helped the rebels get rid of Gaddafi and that didn't work.

And who exactly we were supposed to arm in Syria? The rebels weren't even soldiers and were made up of doctors, lawyers and ordinary citizens. They wouldn't be able to fight against the power of a state run military. Further, the various factions in Syria (as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya) all hate each other and are mostly enemies of the United States, the one exception being the Kurds in Northern Iraq whom we are now arming and assisting with an air campaign.

In looking at all of this information, a pattern emerges. These turbulent countries are filled with people who don't like each other. Juxtapose this simple fact with the two Arab Spring countries that haven't had any of these issues-Kurdistan and Tunisia. These two countries contain citizens that do like each other and thus, have a desire for plurality. They are also two nations that have zero involvement from the United States which likely also contributes to their sunny disposition.

Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are never going to be stable countries until there is a desire for plurality in each nation. No sole power on earth (especially the United States) can force that on people. We can, of course, protect the innocent and our interests as we are right now in Iraq but until we get the buy in from the world community, there is nothing to be done.

Blaming President Obama for all these problems and calling his policies a failure is ludicrous.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Syrian Nightmare

A recent article in the Times shows just how bad the situation is in Syria.

The government bombards neighborhoods with explosive barrels, missiles, heavy artillery and, the United States says, chemical weapons, then it sends in its allies in Hezbollah and other militias to wage street warfare. It jails and tortures peaceful activists, and uses starvation as a weapon, blockading opposition areas where trapped children shrivel and die. 

The opposition is now functionally dominated by foreign-led jihadists who commit their own abuses in the name of their extremist ideology, just last week shooting a 7-year-old boy for what they claimed was apostasy. And some of those fighters, too, have targeted civilians and used siege tactics.

I can barely imagine how awful the situation is there for any average citizen that stayed behind. We were very smart not to get involved and I suppose it's just going to continue until so many people are dead that there isn't any country left.

This terrible thought led me to wonder what kind of a country will be left for Assad or someone else to govern. Who would want to rule such a place?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Making The Case

I thought the president made a compelling case tonight in why strikes against Syria might be necessary. Since it appears that Assad is caving, we might not have to act after all. My big takeaway from the speech is how this president is adamant about protecting children. Whether it's domestic policies aimed at curbing gun violence or protecting Syrian children from future chemical weapons attacks, he is firmly on the side of the children.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming days. Will Syria give up their chemical weapons and put them under UN control?

Change Up

It looks like there is a distinct possibility that a strike against Syria may be delayed or even not happen at all. A conversation between the president and Vladimir Putin at last week's G20 meeting sparked a Russian overture to the Syrians to allow their chemical weapons to be placed under UN control or possibly destroyed all together. Taken with a grain of salt, this is good news.

Assuming they allow such a thing to happen, this would head off an attack by the US and might actually start the country back towards stability once again. If the UN is allowed in for this purpose, it might be able to spread its influence around the country and be able to be our eyes and ears on the ground in Syria. We can monitor what Assad is up to and gauge our response accordingly.

This also gets Congress off the hook from having to make a very tough vote. Now they can back to the business of being silly about the budget, health care, and immigration.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Back In Session

Congress comes back this week from summer vacation with a veritable schmidt load of items on their agenda. First up is whether or not to strike Syria. As of right now, support looks pretty thin in the House. Shocking, that the House GOP would use any means to fuck over the president. My oh my how the hawks have become doves...

Of course, the president is getting much support on the left either so his address to the nation better be a home run tomorrow night otherwise he won't get the vote. Contrary to the media hysterics, if he loses the vote, this will not be the end of his presidency. Congress did not support FDR during the 1930s regarding Hitler's march across Europe. Congress did not support President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Anyone remember who those people were?

The budget is probably the next item on the list to tackle and we are already hearing signs of playing chicken again with the debt limit. It seems we will have a large group of people that don't understand that it's money we have already spent. Worse, far too many still haven't grasped the concept of the difference between individual debt and government debt. I'm sure we'll be hearing the anti-spending old ladies out in full force over the next few weeks.

Immigration is likely to take a back seat which is really a drag as reform could solve many of our other economic problems. I was impressed with Marco Rubio and his fellow Senators for coming up with a great bill to address this issue. Unfortunately, it has now come to the short wave radio listening Civil War reinactors in the House so that means it's going nowhere.

Oh, and doesn't the ACA roll out on October 1?

This is going to be one exciting fall!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Syria Explanation

The president did a great job yesterday explaining why we need to attack Syria and why it's not really his ass on the line. Check out the video below. My only gripe with it is he used the word "unpack" in reference to an idea which is bullshit seminar speak.


   

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Only One

It appears that I am the only one who thinks that the president asking Congress for permission to bomb Syria makes him stronger, not weaker. That's true even if Congress turns him down.

Consider what would happen if that was the scenario as it was in the UK. Congress, not the president, would be blamed if we allowed the use of chemical weapons to go without an appropriate response. This would be a similar situation to World War II where President Roosevelt lobbied hard to get the United States involved in the war only to be rebuffed continually by Congress and their isolationist ways.

Granted, Bashar Asssad is no Adolph Hitler but ignoring his actions would have massive repercussions in the region. Iran would feel emboldened as would the various terrorists networks that both they and Syria support. In short, it's far too late to do nothing.

And the president knows this. But he wants to do this the right way and that's why Congress needs to be in the decision making process. They need to see the evidence over the next week (as will the world) of Sarin gas use in Syria. Once this happens, much of the hand wringing and fretting that we see in the "liberal" media is going to go away.

Honestly, I think Assad's days are numbered.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The End Game

With the United States on the verge of bombing Syria after it has been discovered that the Assad government used chemical weapons against the rebels, I have to wonder...what is the end game in Syria?

No doubt the use of such weapons is thoroughly disgusting on just about every level but it shouldn't be news that President Assad is a despicable man. Equally as awful are the rebels who like to videotape people's hearts being cut out and eaten by resistance soldiers. These are the people we want to help out?

I suppose I understand the concept of a surgical strike the sends a message but it won't accomplish anything. The civil war there will continue and it's going to be a giant cluster fuck just as it is in Egypt with various groups vying violently for power. In the final analysis, there is very little we can to stabilize Syria let alone the region.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Direct Military Aid to Syrian Rebels

I don't know if this is a good idea at all. I realize the president is feeling pressure from all points across the political spectrum to do something but do we really know who these guys are? There are various reports that claim that they Syrian rebels have been infiltrated by Al Qaeda. We've done this dance before in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and early 1980s and that didn't turn out so well.

And speaking of Russia, the fact that they are now sending missiles to aid the Assad government is perhaps more troubling. So, now Putin is arming the Syrian government and we are arming the rebels. Does anyone else think this situation is likely going to massively blow up at any moment.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Whither Syria...

President Obama has some tough choices to consider over the next few days as he considers whether or not Syria has crossed the red line of chemical weapons use. Assuming they have used them on the rebels (and that's a big "if," at this point), is it really our business to get involved in another country's civil war? The Assad regime is terrible for its people and awful for the world. They are a state sponsor of violent extremism and have a penchant for targeting Israel, one of our closest allies in the world. So, there's no doubt we'd all be better off if he was gone.

But what would be put in his place? We've seen that slippery slope with the Arab Spring in Egypt. The rebels that are fighting in Syria right now are jihadi extremists who very well could impose a theocracy complete with Sharia law in place of the Assad government. Clearly, this would be worse and likely destabilizing to the region. Israel would be at even greater risk. We also have to consider Russia's stake in all of this as they are a staunch ally of Syria.

If I were the president, I would tread cautiously and, if it is confirmed that chemical weapons were used, any action that is taken should be done so with a broad consensus starting with the Arab League. While this decision is being made, we need solid intelligence on what the Syrian rebels plan to do if they assume power. Are they going to be part of the world community and participate in open elections and democracy? Or will they be worse than Bashar Assad?