Through their reactive kneejerk policies over the last few years, policies that conform both to their inherent nature and parochial interests, Russia, Iran, the Assad regime, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all other Middle Eastern regimes managed to create a situation in Syria where the United States had no choice but to intervene to midwife a process that will eventually secure the interests of most of these regimes, most of which will survive the current mayhem with little or no change.
This column was ranked one of the five best columns for Monday August 25 by thewire.com.
It’s time for him to do the right thing by arming moderate rebels, imposing a no-fly zone and expanding military action beyond Iraq
Barack Obama is embarking on a global course correction, if not an outright reversal: the policy of “don’t do stupid stuff” – the non-interventionism so praised by the Farid Zakarias and Tom Friedmans of the world – is getting forced out, albeit in the typical Obama fashion of admitting nothing and never going fast or far enough.
And here we go again: Building up a case for drone strikes, and for going back to doing business with Assad. I am not implying that the reports are false. On the contrary they are as true as those reports of Assad’s complicity in the chemical weapons attack and all the massacres perpetrated by his loyalist militias from the onset of this genocide to this very moment. But issuing an order for a drone attack is much easier for this administration than committing to a policy that can make a real difference on the ground. It creates the impression of doing something, while your main focus is to actually avoid entanglement. I am yet to hear a cogent argument showing how one can actually make a difference on the ground without being “entangled,” at least for a certain period of time, and for all the headaches that come with entanglement. Drone strikes against “certain rebels” while avoiding strikes against the Assad regime, even after they crossed all red lines, the one drawn by Obama and those delineated by international law, will only serve to make matters worse in Syria. Rebels are doing their best to combat extremists with no support from the U.S. But Assad has to go in order to really curtail spread of violence beyond borders of the country and the region.
Thanks to inaction by the Obama Administration and other Western leaders, Al-Qaeda now has made a pulpit and an operational base for herself in the Holy Land of Syria. Sunni Jihadis will listen and will flock to her, just as Shia Jihadis are listening to Nasrallah and are flocking to fight for Assad. But those who think that the showdown will be contained within Syria’s borders, or the region’s, are fooling themselves. Soon, the same Jihadis will realize the importance of the “external dimension” of this war and will take the fight to all corners of the world. This is a war of identity now, and the 1.5 billion Muslims on this Earth don’t all live in Syria and the Middle East. The different conditions they live under will not shield them from the fallouts, one way or another, the identity of each Muslim is at stake now. This moment in time has been long in the making. But we are here now. Welcome to the really Hot Phase of the Islamic Reformation.