Monday, February 6, 2012

Syrian Civil War

It is time to call this what it is a full on civil war.  The Free Syrian Army (FSA) while small has been able to inflict significant casualties on Syrian Security forces.  This last weekend the FSA was able to kill several dozen Syrian security forces troops however Syria has launched a full scale artillery assault on Homs much like Hafez Assads did to Hama 30 years ago.  The world response has been to basically write a series of sternly written letters.  The U.S. finally closed our embassy today, however lots of good things have to be said about the our Ambassador Mr. Ford Syria who has been assaulted and under threat for supporting the Syrian resistance. 

Over the weekend the Russians (who are trying to sell the Syrians airplanes) and the Chinese who get their oil from Iran blocked a U.N. resolution on Syria.  The Arab League's observation team also failed to accomplish anything but see hundreds of protesters killed.  The world's reaction in Libya was a great deal different to what is happening in Syria this is probably happening for a couple of reasons.  Syria is not low hanging fruit militarily like the Libyan armed forces were.  Syria actually has a reasonably competent military.  Secondly Syria has some pretty nasty allies, Iran and Hezbollah which both have said they would launch retaliatory attacks should Syria be attacked by anyone.  Iran is already assisting the Syrians in a support role with intelligence gathering and possible Basji militiamen acting in a kinetic manner. 

I would encourage our Arab allies to support the FSA in a manner similar to what Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah do with terrorists in Iraq and Syria.  Supporting an insurgent movement with arms, training, and intelligence is not out of our or the Arabs capability.  An unstable Middle East while not great on gas prices is not a bad geopolitical proposition and here is why.  If these countries who are our enemies or fast becoming them like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Pakistan are busy fighting amongst themselves it makes them less capable in spreading their message elsewhere.  Yes this is a very Machiavellian thing to say but that is the way of the world.  The FSA and Syrian resistance as a whole has a major Sunni influence.  If the Sunnis were to kick the Alawites out of power chances are they would also divorce themselves from their relationship with Iran.  They would be able to do this as the Sunni countries would be able to provide the support to Syria that Iran currently does.  This would in turn remove Syria as a major backer of Hezbollah who rely on Syria to get Iranian weapons and training. 

I feel for the people of Syria as it is again the civilians who get caught in the middle but sadly there is no easy way to handle the Assad government especially when now that they have the permission of the Russians and Chinese to act in anyway they like seem determined to destroy the rebellion.

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