Well, gosh, we’re gonna start bombing Syria in order to help the “moderate” Free Syrian Army topple not only Assad but ISIS too.
Only problem is the FSA is the weakest of the three and is a mishmash of types of people, not nearly all of whom can be considered “good guys.”
President Obama has talked about helping moderate Syrians for about three years now and done nothing. If he wanted to shape Syria, he’s a dollar short and about a thousand days late. While he dithered, we got ISIS. And now we got a problem, and that’s what we have to focus on.
In a New York Times interview just one month ago, Obama spoke derisively about the very people who he now says are the future Saviors of Syria:
With “respect to Syria,” said the president, the notion that arming the rebels would have made a difference has “always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”
Even now, the president said, the administration has difficulty finding, training and arming a sufficient cadre of secular Syrian rebels: “There’s not as much capacity as you would hope.”
Well, now, all of a sudden, it’s in the cards. And you wonder why Obama has no credibility left.
I mean, not you.
Anyway, does anyone really think that once the Free Syrian Army takes charge they’ll do anything but round up every last Alawite – Bashar Assad’s clan – and pump bullets into their heads, all to the tune of Allahu Akbar?
This conflict has gone on too long for there to be any kind of moderates left. There are scores to settle, and only the most brutal will rise to the top.
If we have an interest in Syria, and we do, it’s to wipe out our enemy, ISIS. What else goes on there at this point, whether Bashar Assad runs the place or one of the “Free Syrians,” is not our business. If we have to be Assad’s air force in wiping out ISIS, then we should do it. We need to focus on our goals, not anyone else’s.
Syria is a tragedy beyond repair. Arguably, extending the war by helping weak rebels will result in more deaths, not fewer.
At this point, Obama needs to focus on preventing American deaths by killing ISIS, not get distracted by nation building.
Of course, such focus – involving recourse to the old notion of realpolitik – is beyond Obama’s capability when it comes to foreign policy. Raising money, destroying Republicans, and getting out of sand traps, yes, he can do it all ruthlessly. If only he understood that foreign affairs requires the same, and even greater, single-mindedness.
Here’s a report about our new friends in Syria.