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Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:27 AM

 

US Dilemma and reality...We Don't Want Either Side to Win Syrian War.

The need for an immediate U.S. response in Syria to discourage the further use of chemical weapons does not change the fundamental dilemma of U.S. policy, which is that for very good reasons, the United States does not want either side to win this war. Victory for either side would mean dreadful massacres and ethnic cleansing, as well as an increased threat of international terrorism.

All of this is well known to policy makers in Washington, which explains President Obama’s praiseworthy caution. What the administration now needs to do is to start thinking seriously about the real contours of a Syrian peace settlement, and to turn the Syrian crisis into an opportunity to rethink its overall strategy in the Middle East.

In the long run, if Syria is not to disintegrate as a country, there will have to be a peace settlement that guarantees the sharing of power among Syria’s different ethno-religious groups. The participation of Russia, Iran and Iraq in such a settlement will obviously be essential.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/opinion/attack-syria-talk-to-iran.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

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Reply US Dilemma and reality...We Don't Want Either Side to Win Syrian War. (Original post)
dkf Sep 2013 OP
bhikkhu Sep 2013 #1
dkf Sep 2013 #2
HooptieWagon Sep 2013 #3
bhikkhu Sep 2013 #4
HooptieWagon Sep 2013 #6
Spitfire of ATJ Sep 2013 #5
Laelth Sep 2013 #7

Response to dkf (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:32 AM

1. I don't think there is any expectation that we can determine the "winner"

...but at this point, having watched all the developments and thought it through, I would settle for at least a symbolic strike, something that demonstrated that its not just ok to use sarin gas against civilians. Doing nothing would be setting the opposite precedent, and essentially erase the long-standing international law against it.

I blame the UN more than any other organization, as that is supposed to be their role in the world.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:39 AM

2. Really the focus should be securing the chemical weapons using the international community.

 

Beyond that, I don't know how we prevent tribal hatred. Our history makes us inappropriate peace keepers.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:39 AM

3. What is a "symbolic strike"?

 

What exactly are you aiming at? What if Assad makes a retalitory strike? Do we send another "symbolic strike"?

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Response to HooptieWagon (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:43 AM

4. A strike against the unit that organized the attack

or against the base that it operates out of, or against a government building or something. I'm sure there are plenty of targeting options, all more or less inconsequential to the war itself, but symbolic in effect. Doing nothing would also be very symbolic, but not in a good way.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:28 AM

6. How do you know which unit?

 

If they moved, where are they? What about nearby civilians? What evidence Assad doesn't retaliate, say by firing rockets into Israel killing civilians? What evidence Assad will stop using chemical weapons?

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 05:04 AM

5. How about THIS for a response?

 

Food, medical care, shelter.

Naw,....too Christian.

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 07:29 AM

7. I have to disagree with Mr. Anatol Lieven on one crucial point.

He says:

Victory for either side would mean dreadful massacres and ethnic cleansing, as well as an increased threat of international terrorism.


I don't think that's the case. Certain rebel factions, if they can seize power, have announced their intention to deport Christians and massacre Alawites in aid of their goal of creating a unified Sunni-Muslim state. If the rebels win, Lieven is correct. There would likely be dreadful massacres and ethnic cleansing.

If Assad can manage to quell the uprising and stay in power, massacres and ethnic cleansing are less likely. Heterogenous Syria (Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Alawite) has been sustained by the Assad family for several decades. While it's likely that a victorious Assad would punish his most vocal and belligerent opponents, it is not in Assad's interests to wipe out the majority of the population in Syria who happen to be Sunni Muslims. Mass deportation and genocide are unlikely if Assad wins.

The problem, of course, is that Russia has a near monopoly on the export of natural gas to Western Europe. Assad will not allow the construction of a proposed natural gas pipeline through Syria from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea that would cripple Russia's lucrative monopoly. Our allies in Europe want a rebel victory in order to get the pipeline. Humanitarians want Assad to win to prevent genocide.

This is the dilemma. Cheaper natural gas in Europe vs. lots of lives lost while the NATO allies become Al Quaeda's air force. Our choices are not good, but it is disingenuous to suggest that an Assad victory will lead to genocide. It is the Assad family that has so far prevented genocide in Syria.

-Laelth


Edit:Laelth--word choice.

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