United States intervention in Syria has no positive outcome
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 00:08
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Middle-Eastern dictator, with an established history of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, poses an imminent threat not only to his own people, but to the citizens of neighboring countries and international interests. As the unipolar power of Earth and self-styled “World Police,” it is America’s job, nay, moral obligation to wade Tomahawk-Missiles first into a sectarian civil war, within which we have no allies, and destroy the Syrian government; we know America has no other option than to commit to this conflict because US Intelligence is pretty sure the “red line” established by the president has been crossed, even though no solid evidence supports such an accusation.
For a man who has spent the majority of his presidency dodging accountability by blaming America’s continued woes on the previous administration, President Barack Obama sure loves to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a rousing speech on the “moral obscenity” of using chemical weapons and the “cynical attempt” on behalf of Syrian authorities to cover-up their “cowardly crime.” What really shines through all the moral platitudes and alliteration in Kerry’s speech was the pervasive doubt that has plagued the enforcement of Obama’s chemically charged “red line,” and truly the whole civil war, from the beginning. Rather than getting tied up in the burgeoning unknowns of this conflict, I will demonstrate why America should stay out of the Syrian civil war by going over what we do know.
While the exact size of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is unknown, estimates tally the number at around 100,000 fighters all ranging from various backgrounds. The FSA is lead by former Syrian Army General Salim Idriss who is also the most likely candidate for leadership of whatever state forms in the wake of a rebel victory; the Syrian National Council is recognized by the United States as the legitimate successor to Assad, but the vast majority of Syrians have far less faith in the council’s ability to effectively govern and are wary of the organization’s ties to the Syrian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus, it is far and away more likely that any new regime formed in the wake of Assad will more closely resemble Egypt’s military authoritarian rule than a democracy.
Most of the FSA’s members are followers of Islam’s Sunni group, and have long suffered under the rule of Assad’s minority Alawite, one of the Shiite sects of Islam, government. That being said, a significant portion of Alawite Syrians have taken up arms with the FSA, in spite of the relatively large likelihood that Alawites will face fierce reprisals in the event of Assad’s collapse. Syria’s Kurdish minority has also risen up against Assad, but where most of the FSA fights for regime change, the Kurdish forces are far more interested in carving out captured territories in the Northeast for a future autonomous Kurdish state. With Hezbollah’s recent entry into the conflict on the side of Assad, and the resulting crippling losses for the FSA, the outlook for a total victory is increasingly grim, and what we now know of Syria will likely be split into three or four smaller states.
The only rebel faction that continues to taste any semblance of victory is Jabhat al-Nusra, the jihadist terrorist organization with direct links to al-Qaeda. With a force of around 6,000 insurgents, al-Nusra has been laying siege to Assad’s seat of power, Damascus, and have resorted to all manner of horrific tactics including massacring whole coastal villages of Alawites, bombarding civilian centers in Damascus with rockets, and even attacking troops belonging to the FSA. Most notably, al-Nusra captured a toxic chemicals plant outside of Aleppo on Dec. 8, 2012 and on April 29, 2013 they are suspected by the UN to have deployed a chemical weapon in Saraqib.
Now contrast what we know about their past operations with the facts of last week’s Ghouta massacre: the chemical agents were delivered by crude rockets on a civilian center just outside of Damascus, with the UN chemical weapons investigators mere miles from the catastrophe. What would Assad have to gain from provoking the West into attacking him by endangering loyalists, especially while he was already winning the war? None of the outcomes of this conflict are beneficial to the U.S., and if America is not cautious, it runs the risk of entering the war on the side of those the “red line” was meant to punish.