Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stay out of Syria!

Blackfive has an excellent post entitled simply, "THERE IS NO US NATIONAL SECURITY INTEREST IN A SYRIAN INTERVENTION." Which is exactly right. As I have mentioned before, the Syrian rebels are not Jeffersonian wanna-bes and the Syrian rebellion is not about freedom. Walter Russell Mead cuts to the heart of the matter about The Real News From Syria:
[R]adical and Salafist sheikhs and organizations in the Gulf are getting into the weapons delivery act. For many jihadis, the fight against Assad is first and foremost a struggle against Alawite “heretics”, and the goal is to build a radical Islamic state on the ruins of Ba’athist, secular Syria.
If the rebels win, expect a bloodbath of non-Sunnis, especially the Alawites and Christians. Now over to Blackfive:
Now the backstory, so you at least understand why this presents a possibility of NATO, and thus the US, being pulled into such an intervention (possibly willingly, I’ll get to that later).  It comes from Andrew McCarty at PJ Media:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a Sunni Islamic supremacist with longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Sunni supremacist organization. The Brotherhood isleading the mujahideen (called the “opposition” or the “rebels” by the mainstream media) that seeks to oust the Assad regime in Syria — dominated by the Alawites, a minority Shiite sect. Unsurprisingly, then, Turkey’s government has taken a very active role in abetting the Brotherhood’s operations against the Syrian regime, which have also been joined by al-Qaeda and other Sunni militants. 
On Friday, a Turkish air force jet entered Syrian air space, and Assad regime forces shot it down. Turkey claims the jet “mistakenly” cruised over Syria, and that, by the time it was taken down, it was in international air space over the Mediterranean. One need carry no brief for Assad to conclude that, given the interventionist drum-beat for no-fly zones and direct military and logistical aid to the “opposition,” Syria rationally took the presence of a Turkish military aircraft in its air space as a provocation. Turkey insists it was not “spying” — that this was just an accident to which Syria overreacted. That would be a good argument if the regime were not under siege and if the Syrian and Turkish governments had not been exchanging hostile words (mostly, threats from Erdogan) for months. That, of course, is not the case.
Confused?  Well don’t be.  This is just another chapter in the eternal war between the Sunnis and Shiites and between the religious and secular.
But the movement of forces on the ground or in the air are not the real point. This is:
Point: This is not a NATO or US fight.  This is something that we should stay as far from as we can.  
Politics, however, will be integral to any decision made at this point, at least in the US. Domestic electoral politics.  What scares me is the possibility the Obama administration may conclude it is a good idea politically to use NATO to “change the subject” and make Obama a “war time President” hoping the advantages of that situation will make the difference in November.  And it wouldn’t be a unilateral decision, but instead receive bi-partisan support as Sen. McCain and other GOP members have been outspoken in their desire to intervene. 
Call me paranoid but I find nothing in my analysis that’s at all infeasible or improbable.  In fact, having watched this administration at work, I consider it to be a completely possible scenario.
Fortunately, NATO is toothless and broke. But Blackfive is right: this is completely plausible. However, I would rate it as unlikely for the following two reasons.

1. The NATO nations, except Canada (!), are broke. With the very possible imminent collapse of the Euro, NATO nations have every incentive to avoid expeditionary expenditures. I this reason alone obviates the possibility of Chapter 5 being successfully invoked by Turkey.

2. Angela Merkel and most of the rest of NATO's heads of state are more than aware of the basic facts of the Sunni/al-Qaeda grab for power in Syria, and are not going to bring down Assad to bring up the Islamists. They are also well aware that the bloody aftermath in Libya is not even an opening act for that would follow in Syria if the "resistance" topples Assad. NATO's countries are also much closer, literally and figuratively, to Russia; the weight of the Russian Bear's opposition will press much more heavily on Eur-NATO than us.

I would add that NATO's Euro nations have almost no strategic "throw" to bring effective forces against Assad. At the minimum they would have to rail through Turkey while also forming naval forces off Syria (where only two Russian cruisers would form a no-cross line that not one Eur-NATO head of state would dare cross).

As bloody and tyrannical as Assad is, it will not be an improvement to see Assad replaced by Sunnis in Syria. We must stay out of Syria, militarily. (This is all more the reason for the United States to quit NATO's military pact.)  

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