The Road to Damascus

by Paul Siciliano


If it was only so easy!

Syria's President, Bashar Assad, has allegedly crossed the red line that the Obama Administration arbitrarily created by using chemical weapons which have killed possibly 150 individuals.  Apparently, those 150 are more important than the approximately 95,000 that have died in Syria's civil war because it is being used as the justification for the Obama Administration to arm and to train (??) Syrian rebels who are starting to lose against the Assad regime.   For now, talk is only of supplying weapons, but there is talk of a no fly zone especially close to the Jordanian border.  Who knows from there?

I am not in support of arming any rebels in Syria.  We really do not know who we are arming and all it will do will prolong the civil war.  Further, we are inching ourselves closer to a proxy war as the Assad Regime is supported by Iran (including it's proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah) and Russia.

This is not Libya (which I was not in favor of intervention either).  Assad enjoys greater support that Qaddafi, which is re-enforced by the sectarian divisions within Syria.  Syria would be more like Iraq but for more complex and dangerous.   

I understand there is a humanitarian crisis in Syria - it is a civil war.  Ours was the bloodiest war in our history.  But, what national interest is being served if we are able to tip the scales in favor of some group of rebels that we can hope would form a more favorable government.  That's a lot of wishful thinking.   

The greatest interest is for Israel and Jordan, and that is what I suspect explains this slight intervention.  And, it also appears that Assad may win, which is an outcome I guess are not content.  I can only hope that all we do is supply arms and just let the civil war play out. 

It is a cold hard fact - but nation-states need to work these internal issues out on their own and there will be a lot of bumps and bloodshed in the meantime.  Look at the history of Western Civilization.  Nations did not become stable democracies over night.  Not even the United States, which suffered a civil war.  (France's first revolution was in 1789, and it never really became a stable democracy until 1871 after the devastating loss in the Franco-Prussian War.  Germany's first revolution can be traced to 1848, and did not become a stable democracy until 1945 after its devastating loss in World War II.) 

I don't think American citizens and policy makers really view these struggles in the long term as they should be.  They expect a quick resolution, but that is not going to happen.  We just cannot will stable democratic states.