I’m not a Middle East expert. As a Jew, I pay attention, took Jewish Studies classes in college and tried to know the basics.
I’m going to start this with a caveat. I hope some of what I am about to say is wrong and I’m completely off base.
Anyone with a heart can only be outraged at the latest massacre. I was watching CNN and thought of the retired CIA agent Robert Baer who was commenting.
Syria has been in a crisis for over a year. There are many who are calling for other nations to intervene. It’s tempting, considering what happened, but before that happens step back for a moment and consider an invasion of Syria.
Let me do this with some of the different players in Syria and the rest of the world.
I’ll start with President Assad and his family. They are from a minority group related to the Shiites called Alawites. The Alawites are roughly ten percent of Syria’s population. In the past, most were poor peasants.
Let me present this to you. Say President Assad and his family are removed. The Alawites control the military, intelligence services, and civil service. How willing do you think they will be to give all this up? What are the chances of an Alawite fight to the death? Do you end up having a genocide? Do you kill all Alawite adults you think can fight? Just asking. Are they going to go gentle into that good night?
The Assad’s and Alawites, because they are a Shiite friend have another very good friend. In a place called Tehran.
Look at a map. What’s between Iran and Syria? (Hint, the United States just pulled troops away from it). If you answered Iraq, you are correct. It’s one thousand miles from Tehran to Damascus by road. It is 108 miles from the Iraqi/Iranian border to Baghdad. (Thank you, Google Maps). The majority of Iraq’s population is Shiite. What’s to stop Iran for taking advantage of this, make trouble in an already unstable Iraq and get involved in Syria? The jury is still out on whether the invasion of Iraq by George W. Bush was a mistake. As F.D.R. might have said; “Saddam Hussein was a jerk, but until his invasion of Kuwait, he was our jerk.” That’s another story, though.
China and Russia. Not surprised they oppose any intervention, but there is a pragmatism there. They do not want to give minority groups in their respective countries any ideas. Imagine the Tibetans saying “They back changes in Syria, but not for us?”
The United States: We just pulled out of Iraq and we still have troops in Afghanistan. We are in an election year, the last twelve years have played havoc with the economy, do folks really think the United States is up to another foreign intervention? Remember Beirut in 1983, which leads me to…
Lebanon. What makes you think they wont get involved in the party, with all their factions?
Other Arab/Islamic states. Will they get involved with humanitarian aid or send troops?
Israel: I forgot where I saw this, but someone suggested Israel sending humanitarian aid. In this case, Israel is in trouble, no matter what they do. If they offer humanitarian aid, will it be seen as the beginnings of an invasion? Will it be taken as an insult? Hard to tell.
France-Hey, Syria was a French colony, they ought to take some responsibility.
Two years from now, June 28, 1914, will be the 100th Anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. I agree, Syria may have all sorts of nasty weapons that need to be accounted for, but before folks react emotionally to the massacres, think twice, even three times about intervening.
Again, I hope I am wrong.