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Pat Buchanan
1 Aug 2014
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On to Tehran -- or Is It Damascus?

Comment

Our War Party has been temporarily diverted from its clamor for war on Iran by the insurrection against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Estimates of the dead since the Syrian uprising began a year ago approach 6,000. And responsibility for the carnage is being laid at the feet of the president who succeeded his dictator-father Hafez al-Assad, who ruled from 1971 until his death in 2000.

Unlike Egypt's Hosni Mubarak who buckled, broke and departed after three weeks of protests, Bashar is not going quietly.

And, predictably, with the death toll rising, those champions of world democratic revolution — John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham — have begun beating the drums for U.S. aid to a "Free Syrian Army."

Last week, the three senators jointly declared:

"In Libya, the threat of imminent atrocities in Benghazi mobilized the world to act. Such atrocities are now a reality in Homs and other cities all across Syria. ... We must consider ... providing opposition groups inside Syria, both political and military, with better means to ... defend themselves, and to fight back against Assad's forces."

"The end of Assad's rule would ... be a moral and humanitarian victory for the Syrian people" and "a strategic defeat for the Iranian regime."

Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, Neocon Central, is also pushing the Iranian angle.

"Syria is the soft underbelly of Iran, Tehran's most important ally, conduit for arms and cash to terrorists. ... A unique confluence of American moral purpose and America's strategic interest argue for intervention in Syria. ... It's time to start arming the Free Syrian Army."

What are the arguments against U.S. intervention?

First, there is no vital U.S. interest in who rules Syria. If we could live with Hafez al-Assad for decades — Bush 1 enlisted him as an ally in Desert Storm — and his son for a dozen years, what threat does Bashar's rule pose to the United States?

Answer: none.

Second, while McCain & Co. insist that "the bloodshed must be stopped and we should rule out no option that could help save lives," arming the rebels would cause a geometric increase in dead and wounded.

Should America start funneling arms to the rebels, Assad will realize that, like Moammar Gadhafi, he is in a fight to the death.

In 1982, his father, to crush a rebellion centered in the city of Hama, rolled up his artillery and leveled the town, killing an estimated 20,000.

This is what we are risking if we start arming the rebels.

Syria is not Libya. Assad's arsenal of missiles, tanks, planes and guns is far superior. He has a 270,000-man army and thousands of security police.

And with a tiny Shia Alawite sect dominant in Syria, and the rebellion rooted in a Sunni Muslim majority, Assad and his loyalists know that if they go down, they go to the wall.

"Christians to Beirut and Alawites to the wall," was an early slogan of the resistance.

And after seeing the atrocities visited upon the Christians in Iraq when Saddam went down, and on Copts when Mubarak went down, do we want to depose another secular dictator — only to empower another regime of Islamic fundamentalists?

In Libya, the British and French led us in. Those NATO allies want no part of a Syrian civil war.

In Libya, a third of the country was rebel-held territory. With a single coastal road leading from Gadhafi's command post in Tripoli to Benghazi, NATO planes could easily interdict convoys trying to reach the rebel base.

In Syria, the rebels have no "liberated" territory.

The U.N. Security Council authorized a no-fly zone over Libya. But Russia, burned by what NATO did in Libya, stands ready to veto a no-fly zone over Syria. U.S. military aid to the rebels could bring Russian military aid to its client regime in Damascus.

U.S. intervention could also trigger a proxy war and a regional war. Assad's ally, Hezbollah, is already battling Syrian rebels in Lebanon. Sunnis in Iraq's Anbar province are shipping guns to their fellow Sunnis in Syria.

And if Assad falls, who rises?

Would a triumphant Muslim Brotherhood in Damascus keep the peace on the Golan Heights, as the Assads did for 40 years?

According to U.S. sources, al-Qaida was behind the four suicide bombings that killed scores of Syrian soldiers and officials in Damascus and Aleppo. Osama bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has called on Sunnis from all neighboring countries to join the war against Assad's "pernicious, cancerous regime."

If the ouster of Assad is good for al-Qaida, can it also be good for America?

As for the Free Syrian Army to whom U.S. military aid would go, it is divided with itself, and one ranking colonel has described the Syrian National Council, with whom we have been working, as "traitors."

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya — none has turned out as was predicted when we plunged in. And other than neoconservative ideology, what makes us think intervening in Syria will?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

6 Comments | Post Comment
I don't usually agree with you, but Amen to your question in last paragraph! President Obama in my opinion, is responding to the crisis in Iran and Syria in the best ways possible considering the news we receive is only the top of the iceberg. President Obama and our Defense Department are privy to info and have great foresight and hindsight. I'm learning to never underestimate our President. He is a humanitarian and he walks softly but carries a big stick. Never will I get over watching him make jokes at the press event then announcing w/in the same 24 hrs the SEALS military op that killed Sadaam. Our President is smart and he's patient. I trust him to do what is best for America and to advance the cause for freedom in this country and elsewhere. I thank God that I live in this country and my heart and prayers go out to those who suffer both here and at home. But let those who are friends and neighbors of these Muslims in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan, the entire Middle East and Africa, let their own friends and neighbors intervene. Russia, China, India, those are the super powers of that region. Let it be their problem, not ours. They like to use the argument of Israel but Israel has Nuclear weapons and everyone knows it. Our job should not be to stabilize the region. Again, let Russia, China, or India do it.
Now if you could only convince three of the four bloodthirsty GOP nominees and their supporters of your argument, we may actually all let out a collective sigh of relief and get back to intervening in the problems citizens and non-citizens alike face right here at home.
Comment: #1
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:34 PM
By the way, that wasn't a denounciation of Muslims, though it may read like that. It's just an acceptance that the extreme factions and religious zealots the Islamic fundamentalist of the Muslim faith are who and what determines the politics of the region and the freedoms of the people. If Christians are living there, I would suggest they get out. This
missionary mentality of spreading the word of Jesus Christ can be accomplished with a couple of minutes on the Internet or Twitter. Time for Christians to come home to a country that actually welcomes them both here and abroad.
We shouldn't be cajoled into war or military intervention just because someone who lives here has relatives in Syria or Iran. It's heartbreaking individual families are suffering and they want us to 'do something', but we can't and shouldn't.
Comment: #2
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:50 PM
Your comment regarding the ability of missionary work to take place in other countries without a missionary inside that country astounds me. For starters, the general population of most countries is not as privileged as the population of the United States. This means that many people may not have access to twitter and the internet. The goal of missionaries is to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every person in every country. And those who do have access to the internet will not have the type of relationship with someone on twitter as they would have with someone in person. An easy example of this is this post. I doubt you value my opinion nearly as much online as you would if you knew me personally and i was telling this to your face. And you said, "a couple of minutes on twitter.'" Missionaries' main objective is to share the gospel of Jesus with others, but they also desire to help those people with different needs in their lives. However, i am not saying that the United States should intervene in Syria.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Byron Strong
Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:07 PM
Re: demecra zydeem
Your comment regarding the ability of missionary work to take place in other countries without a missionary inside that country astounds me. For starters, the general population of most countries is not as privileged as the population of the United States. This means that many people may not have access to twitter and the internet. The goal of missionaries is to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every person in every country. And those who do have access to the internet will not have the type of relationship with someone on twitter as they would have with someone in person. An easy example of this is this post. I doubt you value my opinion nearly as much online as you would if you knew me personally and i was telling this to your face. And you said, "a couple of minutes on twitter.'" Missionaries' main objective is to share the gospel of Jesus with others, but they also desire to help those people with different needs in their lives. However, i am not saying that the United States should intervene in Syria.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Byron Strong
Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:27 PM
We have given our industrial base to China and now soo our industrial base will be connected to the same communist state. To those who want to go to these countries to preach about Jesus, do so at your own risk. Most of these countries still have a mind set of thoses hundreds of years ago. The risk became larger when they started getting advance weapons, anything but a rock, and computers.
So being we made policies that let our industries venture in to the communist way of life, we are where we are.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Capps
Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:14 AM
Its so very sad to see videos of dead and injured children on the news. However, the unintended consquences of the proactive foreign policies maybe even more unconstructive than the federal governments domestic policy. Americans should help if they can but the mindset of sitting on ones couch and continuously saying "the government should do something about this or that" will eventually cause our country to resemble syria.
Comment: #6
Posted by: SCOTT
Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:04 PM
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