Monday, 24 June 2013

"The Price of Loyalty in Syria"

Jehad Nga for The New York Times
I thought I'd posted this article by Robert Worth earlier, which I think I got to via New York Times alerts on Islam.
It's a fabulous article, long-ish, but repays careful reading.
The comments are interesting too, especially the "Readers Picks".  It's interesting; both Left and Right seem to have come to the same conclusion: that the US should stay out of the fray.  Yet Obama's going in with more weaponry to an opposition parts of which are truly barbaric.  The internet is rife with videos of beheadings, beatings, stoning of women, random shootings, bodies tossed casually into holes... like animals; or dragged along the streets.
There seem to be two arguments in favour of intervention: (1) Assad is a brutal dictator and needs to be removed; and (2) that there's a proxy war going on here between the US/West and Iran/Hezb'Allah/Russia.  On the first, the opposition is hardly going to be an improvement; indeed likely to be worse, with all its brutal Al Qaeda elements. We now recall those times, before the uprisings, when Syria was a pleasant peaceful land.  Basher time.  How many Syrians -- on all sides -- would wish for a return of those halcyon days!
And on the second point, the proxy war: so what?  Let them have it...  There's no oil at stake, after all, and in any case the US is about to be weaned off Middle East Oil, by fracking... [or methane hydrates].
This is a gross oversimplification, to be sure.  But there seems to be nothing to be gained -- even for Syrians -- by the US' intervention, as it may just prolong the agony.
It seems to me that Obama has been suckered it -- being tipped over the edge by Bill Cliton's mocking of him, saying he'd be seen as feeble and weak if he didn't.  But Syria's not Rwanda, which was weighing on Clinton's mind: his failure to intervene and stop the massacres.  And if that's the case, if Obama did feel forced into it, then shame on him.  Syria's is a multi-faceted, multi-sectarian battle, and for that very reason it ought be left to sort its own problems out.