Where have we heard the use or potential use of chemical weapons as a pretext for military intervention before? Oh, that’s right, it was the central plank of the “case” for the Coalition of the Willing and their invasion of Iraq. Of course, it wasn’t for oil considering that Chinese firms are the biggest beneficiaries of Iraqi oilfields these days, but it incurred a tremendous cost of life, limb and property in order to create a power vacuum in the Middle East filled by Iranian backed gangs on the Shiite side and Gulf backed gangs on the Sunni side.
There is no reason why the West should support the rebels in Syria. All of the humanitarian concerns are nonsensical. If humanitarian intervention was ever justified, where is the intervention in the Congo? Where was the effective intervention in Southern Sudan? Where was the effective intervention in the Balkans as opposed to “staying neutral” while massacres took place under the watch of the mythical blue berets of the United Nations?
The Middle East is a really screwed up place – and removing the regime of Bashar al-Assad and letting sectarian violence destroy Syria isn’t a success story anyone capable of thinking clearly could endorse.
Assad is essentially the lesser of multiple evils here. In a proxy war between Iran, which supports Hezbollah and the Assad regime, and the United States, which supports the rebels of various stripes, further Western military involvement is not a good thing.
You know how some naive people got worked up about the Arab Spring and the myth of democracy being able to function in the Middle East? Well, now there is an Islamist government in Egypt run by the Muslim Brotherhood. They’re not moderate at all – they were founded to promote Islamic states and they have succeeded after a lot of carnage.
Remember the intervention in Libya that took down big bad Gaddafi and his pilfering offspring? Well, the US soon realised that the Libyan military’s warehouses had been looted. They had been covertly buying up weapons from Libya and shipping them into Syria when the Benghazi consulate was attacked and the US ambassador murdered last year.
The weapons that flowed from Gaddafi’s military into various rebel groups also flowed into the hands of the local al-Queda franchise. They destablilised Mali and then hijacked an oil refinery in Algeria after the French invaded and stopped Mali from turning into an Islamist hell on earth.
Now, Assad supported al-Queda and other groups in Iraq. They’ve relabelled themselves and completely hijacked the non-Islamic part of the Syrian rebellion. We should acknowledge that if the US is supporting the rebels, they are essentially supporting their enemies in order to topple someone (Assad) who is an enemy but not a problem except for “looking weak” and needing to distract the world from the NSA leakers revelations.
It is clear that the only country who has thought through the implications of the collapse of Assad’s government is Russia. They face their own problems with Islamist groups in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. Another Islamic state is not in their interests. A dictatorship they can do business with is better than an entity where their own homegrown terrorists can go and train.
We have to remember here that there are two different worlds in the US government. There is the Pentagon world and the Foggy Bottom world. The Pentagon world is allied with defence, energy, Israel, the military and the Republican party. The Foggy Bottom (State Department) world is aligned with NGOs, the UN, the Democratic party and Palestine.
We can see that an Obama administration, blurring the lines between the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom worlds with its drone strikes and pre-emptive special forces operations that involve smuggling arms to the rebels already is an entirely new arrangement.
The reinstatement of Susan Rice as National Security Advisor – when she has no national security experience whatsoever – in the aftermath of the Benghazi scandal, shows that political hackery trumps actual experience.
There is no need for the US to support the rebels in Syria. They already have patrons in Saudi Arabia / Qatar for the Sunnis. The Alawites, of which Assad is, are a minority who would be the victims of genocide if the Assad regime collapses. Supporting the rebels is supporting a genocide that would exceed the Assad family’s internal suppression victims over the past few decades.
Using the pretext of chemical weapons use against rebels to support them over the Assad regime is a sign of ignorance. Although dictatorships are inherently unstable, when they come under pressure, if they successfully use military force to suppress the dissent without external influence that is preferable to some nebulous doctrine of humanitarian intervention which has been proven in just my lifetime to be a selective use of force against a target that wins votes and popularity in the wake of a scandal.