Why Intervene In Syria Now?

February 13, 2012

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Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...

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Why Syria, why now?

All of last week the various news sources have been banging away at President Obama about his failure to intervene in the violent uprising in Syria.  The regime of Syrian president al-Assad has no defense for slaughtering their own people.  This has been going on for quite a while, so the question is why now?

The Egyptian Example

When the Egyptians rose up against tyranny, the world stood by and let the Egyptians sort out their problems.  This has work well, with no foreign interests mucking up the works.  What ever solution they choose, be it a western style democratic republic or a religious autocracy or another tyranny, is will be their choice.  Many political analysts have criticized this lack of intervention.  They each have their own solution to the problem.  Most of these solutions are clothed in the ideal that they are for the good of the Egyptian people, but with little effort, these solutions are exposed as meeting the agenda of the proposer.

The Libyan Example

In Libya, the Europeans and the United States joined in to supply weapons and provide air support including bombing raids.  There was no perceivable reduction in blood shed compared to Egypt.  In fact, based on population, it could be argued that the blood shed was worse with outside intervention.  As the situation in Libya stands now, it appears that the chosen group has prevailed.  As people who are accused of supporting the old Gaddafi regime are executed, the world will have to figure out if they like the group that they supported.

The Syrian Example

Syria is now in the throws of a civil war.  There have been horrible incidents of blood shed and other atrocities.  There have been calls for the Arab League (a body that Syria is a member) to enforce their rules for the protection of civilian populations from attack.  The League has done little except monitor and document the violations of the basic responsibilities of leadership by the Syrian Government.  The United Nations has been called upon to intervene.  Determining the winners and losers in civil wars is not the prerogative of the UN.  And then there is the drum beat for American intervention.

Taken in context of the other uprisings in the Arab world, intervention by any outside entity would be a mistake.  Adding in the conflicts that America is currently engaged in and the reduction of our military readiness as proposed by the Secretary of Defense, American intervention can only be seen as ridiculous.  If the United States is to act as the police force of the world, the defense budget will have to double not be cut in half.

And then there is Iran

Another topic that has filled the airways is the suggestion that Israel may attack the nuclear facilities of Iran.  There have been many reports about how bad that would be and how America should stop the Israelis.  The main reason is because there may be retaliation by Iran within the boarders of the United States.  There are so many interesting spins in that logic.  First of all, if you back away from the bully because of what he might do, then he has already won and you should just give him your lunch money.  Secondly, the press and the experts have apparently forgotten that Israel and Iran are at war.  They have been since 1967 when Iran declared war on Israel.  No peace treaty or even talks have taken place.  If a state of war exists, what right does the United States have to tell Israel how to prosecute that war?  It is on par with the United States telling England not to bomb Berlin during WWII because there were German operatives in America who could do bad things.

For thirty years, Iran has been trying to get a nuclear bomb.  During those years there have been various efforts to prevent that development by the world community.  When they promised to stop, the sanctions were lifted.  When they threw out the UN inspectors, there were loud complaints.  When they let the inspectors back in and claimed they had made great progress, but only for civilian energy use, the world sighed in relief that they had stopped working on a bomb.  Now, the Iranians are building secure, deep bunkers to build bombs.  The Israelis are rightfully concerned since the current Iranian government has stated that their primary goal is the elimination of Israel.  The rest of the world can laugh that off as rhetoric, but the Israelis have to think about there own preservation.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Squeaky
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 12:31:44

    I liked this one today Martin. Thought provoking and many questions that we all need to think through. Iran is a total mess and I can’t Syria being good if we do get involved either. There are so many implications to whatever our leaders decide to do.

    I don’t have the answers for them, but I will pray for them.


  2. zarberg
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 14:47:20

    If we had spent all the money on the Iraq war on finding and developing an alternitive fuel source, would we even need that part of the world? As far as a religious culture goes, Islam is a fairly young one, and if you compare it to Christianity time-wise, they’re still not quite out of their dark ages. The prevailing question becomes then, do we allow them to move past what we see as sexist and violent ideals to “grow up” on their own, or do we try to force-feed our culture on them?

    The threat of a full-scale war involving Isreal is certainly different now than it was in the 60’s-80’s when we had the two sides of NATO and Warsaw Pact facing off and those wars were more or less proxys and testing grounds and the “combatants” often had to heal under the leash of their US/USSR masters. While Russia may openly disagree on the security council, they don’t have boats and planes of ammunition and “advisors” ready to ship off to Syria or Egypt or Jordan like they did in ’67 and ’73.


  3. Martin Kelly
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 08:26:06

    Zarberg, good point on the culter in the middle east being in there “dark ages”. The problem even if we do get to energy independence (and i don’t think we – government – needs to spend, we just need to loosen the regulations on those alternative fuels so they can compete with oil, but that is a different discussion), is that dark ages fuel an exportation of violance. The Europeans exported the crusades, which were an inexcusable slaughter of inocent people on both sides (most of the soldiers were impressed into service). The current sintuation of terrorism is almost an exact duplicate of that situration. Young men with no social standing are being sent off by old men under the guise of religious righteousness to kill non-believers. It is really sad how history repeats itself.


  4. kosmo
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 08:47:21

    I think it’s also important to separate the extremists from the normal people. I haven’t interacted with a large number of Muslims over the years, but the ones I have met have been pretty much the same as the Christians who make up the majority of my social circle.

    One summer during college, I got put into some temporary housing during May. Since most students who attend summer school skip the May sessions, they use this time to do maintenance. The few people who are on campus get put into graduate housing for a month. My roommate was president of the Palestinian student association on campus. This is more of a social club than an activist club, and the guy was definitely not an extremist. He was a normal college student – worrying about exams and spending time hanging out with his girlfriend (who was Christian).

    Several years ago, we had a Muslim woman on my team at work. When she was eventually non-renewed as a result of some consolidations being doing at a higher level, it upset everyone on the team (Christians, Jews, and Hindus). She did good work and got along with everyone.


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