Monday, September 2, 2013

US Intervention in Syria Will Fail

You would think the US Government would learn. Just when they are finally managing to extract themselves from Iraq and Afghanistan, they are doing their best to involve themselves in another insoluble conflict in the Middle East. You would think that they would have learned from the events in Libya and Egypt, where the best hopes of the Obama regime for peaceful transitions to democratically elected governments have become completely unstuck, resulting in a great deal of bloodshed and misery for the people of those countries.

America's ill-judged foreign policy produces the most deliciously ironic unintended consequences.

It was recently revealed, for example, that the Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated the 1953 military coup that overthrew the government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.  Of course, that really worked out well for the Americans when, a quarter-century later, Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the US puppet regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and ensured Iran became America's arch enemy for the next three decades.

One could also look to the earlier example of US support for Ibn Saud's conquest of the Arabian peninsular that resulted in the establishment in 1932 of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are the proponents of the particularly extremist Wahhabi form of Islam that inspired the brutal Taliban government in Afghanistan, which gave sanctuary to the Al Qaeda leadership that was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  Long before 9/11, America funded, armed and trained the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and it was these rebels that eventually seized control and became the Taliban government.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that America's good intentions to promote its founding principles of individual freedom and human rights around the world has led to the abrogation of those principles at home. Anyone who has been to America in recent years will have seen the deterioration of personal freedom in that country. America has become a surveillance state that in many ways would be the envy of Soviet bloc governments, all in the name of protecting its people from attack by the very people it has armed.

Which brings us to Syria. The Obama administration is planning to bomb Syrian government targets in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons. I say "alleged" because at the time of writing the Americans cannot say with absolute certainty that Assad was responsible. Some commentators have speculated that the Islamist rebels could have used the weapons to provoke exactly the response against Assad that Obama is contemplating. One should not forget that these rebels have admitted committing appalling outrages of their own.  Another scenario, perhaps more likely, is that Assad has lost control of his own military leaders, one of whom chose to use the chemical weapons.

What is clear is that the situation in Syria not clear. If Obama orders cruise missiles launched at Syria, he will be throwing gasoline onto an already incendiary situation. He has admitted that he doesn't have an objective in mind for such a strike against the Assad regime. That being the case, he should not be surprised if the outcome turns out to be very much to the detriment of America's interests in the region and at home. America has done some dumb things around the world but this will surely be one of the dumbest.

No comments: