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Thread: Michael Totten on Syria

  1. #1

    Michael Totten on Syria

    For those who don't know who Totten is, in my personal opinion he's the best journalist working today, certainly on the Middle East, and possibly overall. He started out as an independent with a blog, and did real investigation and in depth analysis; traveling to (and in the case of Lebanon living in ) hot zones across the Middle East and conducting real in depth analysis. His blog is now hosted at World Affairs Journal. Here's an excerpt from his latest piece on Syria. Agree or disagree, the whole piece is definitely worth the read:

    The only logical option for the US of those Gemayel lays out is the second—support change. Figuring out how to proceed isn’t rocket science.
    Here are two ways:

    The first is to go all in and back the moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army right now. Give them guns, training, air support, or some combination. It’s risky, of course, and there are trade-offs. Hezbollah and Iran might escalate. Some American aid would almost certainly end up in the hands of bad actors who will later use it against us and our friends no matter how careful we are. It’s not obvious who’s who in the field right now. But the advantage of such a forthright move is that the anti-Assad phase of the war will wrap up more quickly. Syria will spend less time functioning as a terrorist magnet, and Jabhat al-Nusra will have less time to gain traction and become a formidable post-Assad force.

    The second option is to wait for Assad to fall and then back the Free Syrian Army. Everyone in Syria knows the moderate elements of the anti-Assad opposition will clash with the Islamists when the government falls. At that time it will be easy to separate the Islamists from everyone else because the Islamists will be fighting everyone else.

    If we go with the second option, Jabhat al-Nusra is not at all likely to take over Syria. The entire country—the Alawites, the Christians, the Druze, the Kurds, the liberal Sunnis, the moderate Sunnis, the nationalist Sunnis, the mainstream conservative Sunnis, and the tribes in the hinterlands—will be against them. And if the West backs all of those factions, that’s it. It’s all over for Jabhat al-Nusra. They’ll be able to blow things up and wreak havoc, for sure, but they will not rule.

    And the United States can gain back some of the soft power and moral authority we’re losing right now in the region. Those angry with us for our de facto support of Assad and for our de facto support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will see the United States on their side for a change.
    “Assad will fall,” says Jean-Pierre Katrib, a Beirut-based university lecturer and human rights activist. “This is the course of history. Even the Soviet Union, with all its robust organization and rigid infrastructure, only lasted for seven decades. No oppressive regime can forever resist the tide of history which has been moving toward greater freedom and representation. That may sound too philosophical or naďve, but that’s how I see it.


    Post-Assad Syria won’t be democratic, however. That will take time. It’s going to be messy.”

    He’s right, and we shouldn’t kid ourselves. Post-Assad Syria will be a disaster. There is no getting around it. Just look at the last Arab country the West intervened in. Libya has a serious problem with Islamists and terrorists, but at least they aren’t ruling the country as they were in northern Mali before the French intervened. What would we rather see? A post-Assad Syria that looks like a messier version of Libya? Or a post-Assad Syria that looks like Mali did last year?
    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/a...options-narrow

  2. #2
    "Post-Assad Syria will be a disaster. There is no getting around it. Just look at the last Arab country the West intervened in. Libya has a serious problem with Islamists and terrorists,..."
    Any country with the satanic, violent "religion" of Islam will always be a hopeless disaster. It doesn't make any difference what approach the US and the West take.


  3. #3
    Syria sounds like Iraq. The whole problem is no matter who side we take it is always the losing side. Iraq Shia, Sunni, Libya who knows who was who but we lost. Egypt Muslim Brother who knows yet. Afghanistan 15 different tribes and a drug exporter as a president. Better under the Taliban no drugs exported!

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    In Great Britain, the sick, twisted, filthy Muslims engage in "grooming" - they rape young white girls. The practice is encouraged by the sick, filthy, twisted Imams in Mosques.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqD1IaI-d3g


  5. #5
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    This thread is turning out well.

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    Can someone tell me what makes the rebels better than Asad? That's all I want to know. What does the U.S. have to gain by offering help? All us aid will do is prolong the turmoil... These people have been waging wars for thousands of years... Why would it stop now?

  7. #7
    Article ignored the third (and best) option.

    Stay out of it. It has nothing to do with the U.S. or U.S. Interests. a Tyrant fighting Islamic Would-be Tyrants doesn't require our intervention. There is no "win" for us in our intervention. If the rest of the World thinks it's so important....let them handle it.

    A starting point of "we must do something" is the wrong way to look at millitary interventionism. The default should always be "stay out" first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    Article ignored the third (and best) option.

    Stay out of it. It has nothing to do with the U.S. or U.S. Interests. a Tyrant fighting Islamic Would-be Tyrants doesn't require our intervention. There is no "win" for us in our intervention. If the rest of the World thinks it's so important....let them handle it.

    A starting point of "we must do something" is the wrong way to look at millitary interventionism. The default should always be "stay out" first.
    Bang. Why is this so hard to understand. It is the only logical position in my opinion.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    Article ignored the third (and best) option.

    Stay out of it. It has nothing to do with the U.S. or U.S. Interests. a Tyrant fighting Islamic Would-be Tyrants doesn't require our intervention. There is no "win" for us in our intervention. If the rest of the World thinks it's so important....let them handle it.

    A starting point of "we must do something" is the wrong way to look at millitary interventionism. The default should always be "stay out" first.
    It's rarely about the country at hand exclusively when it comes to the Middle East. It's about China, Russia, Iranian influence, Israel, Al Qaeda, Hesbollah... but in principle I agree with you. It would certainly be a different strategy than the interventionist pose of the last decade.
    Last edited by long island leprechaun; 06-24-2013 at 06:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruby2 View Post
    Bang. Why is this so hard to understand. It is the only logical position in my opinion.
    I agree with you and Fish. Quite frankly it doesn't matter what we do in Syria. We are basically fvcked either way. We all know where this is going.

    There is no hope for the Middle East. There is no perfect solution to the problem. There is no politically correct way to handle it. If you want to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs. I think Israel will eventually do the dirty work for us.

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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by AlbanyJet View Post
    In Great Britain, the sick, twisted, filthy Muslims engage in "grooming" - they rape young white girls. The practice is encouraged by the sick, filthy, twisted Imams in Mosques.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqD1IaI-d3g

    I hadn't heard about this so I did some searching. Apparently a bunch of Imams are actually speaking out condemning the practice.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23087686

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world...ming-1.1446742

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    Article ignored the third (and best) option.

    Stay out of it. It has nothing to do with the U.S. or U.S. Interests. a Tyrant fighting Islamic Would-be Tyrants doesn't require our intervention. There is no "win" for us in our intervention. If the rest of the World thinks it's so important....let them handle it.

    A starting point of "we must do something" is the wrong way to look at millitary interventionism. The default should always be "stay out" first.
    Agreed.

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