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Rubin Reports

Syria’s Civil War: The Empire Strikes Back

May 6th, 2013 - 3:04 pm

Yet that just didn’t happen. The West failed to get behind potential leaders; the Islamists were better organized and more willing to sacrifice their lives. It could well be argued that if anyone has to win it should be the rebels, since that would be a devastating defeat for Iran and Hizballah, because also the Sunni Islamist bloc lacks a patron to finance an aggressive anti-Western, anti-Israel program and to supply arms for it. But can one be enthusiastic about those who want to impose a new dictatorship, carry out ethnic massacres, include al-Qaeda, and might even use nerve gas to make propaganda?

Sadly, the truth is that in Syria there are Islamists all the way down.

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All Comments   (32)
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By "moderate rebels" do you mean not fully radicalized Islamist's? Dormant Jihadi's? It's an oxymoron: like saying "communist allies" or "Chechen freedom fighters". Freedom from what?
I don't think going from a Syrian despot to a sharia based theocracy is much of a choice.
But I agree with your assessment of Obama's missteps.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You Americans should "pull a Russian" and supply the weaker of the two forces with weaponry and other supplies to keep them fighting. This means that you will end up supplying both sides over time.

Muslims are only so happy to kill each other--you might encourage that to keep them from attacking USA. The only thing that seems to make them happier than killing each other is killing Americans.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did you, somewhere in there, call Assad Islamist (regarding two Islamist entities)? In what way did you mean that, or did I misunderstand?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We supported a moderate in Iran for a while -- the Shah.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Syria is the next act of the tragedy that started when George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq, or maybe it started when Saddam invaded Kuwait I don't know. But once American troops occupied Iraq they shattered the social fabric of that country and set off a bomb that could not help but shatter the old order of the Middle East. All of the combat experience that the radical Islamists gained fighting the best army in the world every day for several years is now spread into Syria. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps also gained a lot of covert experience in Iraq and are deploying that in Syria today. A very big conflagration will take place some day because of this that will probably end up endangering millions of lives. Thank you George W. Bush.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sir, I think you mean, "Thank you Bill Clinton for not taking out Osama Bin Laden when you could have. No Osama, no 9/11; no 9/11 no Iraq.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I find it hard to accept mass graves and terrorist training camps as "the fabric of a society".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I find I want to take sides which is only human. Thanks for a penetrating article pointing out why this situation is bad however it comes out. All I would add is that based on what you have said in general about moderate democratic forces in the middle east it would have been a stretch to have effectively supported them in either Egypt or Syria. I think Obama is dead wrong supporting the MB in the hopes that it will moderate in power. [He has perhaps;-)] I agree that Iraq for all its problems has emerged with a reasonably moderate and democratic government by Middle East standards - so it is possible. I don't think the Democrats in the US can see the positive lessons learned in Iraq - they don't think there are any - and are about to preside over a disaster because of it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Professor Rubin,

Why hasn't America been able to identify an assembly of Syrian (and for that matter Egyptian or Iranian) moderates, and provided them with economic and security support to host a free and democratic election for a Constitutional Convention in their defined borders?

During the American Revolution, France was a Super Power that helped America in that way to gain independence from the tyranny of England, and France was first to recognize the independence of the American Colonies (of course, the British Empire was breathing down their own neck).

Are true moderates such a miniscule minority in Syria, Iran, and Egypt, that nobody there is actually worthy of democratic support (like Sodom and Gomorrah, which lacked even ten righteous citizens)?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Couldn't agree more with FeralCat on this one. Don't make Bashir Al-Assad into some kind of folk hero. He may be more rich playboy than dedicated Muslim, but he was a brutal, Jew hating, dictator whose hands were strung to the puppeteer's wires. Iran lets him play moderate so long as he helps push the anti-Israel message in the UN. Stay out of it unless they directly attack Israel directly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry, Mr. Rubin, but you are not winning me over to the "moderate rebel" faction in the current Syrian civil war, because I see no convincing evidence of the existence of any such faction. There is nobody to safely hand arms to over there. And if B. Hussein chooses to do so, I want him to explain to the American people whom he is arming and what does he reasonably expect us to gain from it. ... But of course that will never happen, because Obama, well into his second and final term, has NO intention of governing from the top.

Thus, final analysis, I do not back sending anything more powerful than a pea-shooter to Syria. Rather: arm Israel, because a big fight is surely coming.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
---- "Obama previously stated that the government’s use of nerve gas was a “red line” that would trigger escalated American intervention. Once the U.S. government admitted that nerve gas had been used, however, he said that the international community would have to reach the same conclusion before he would do anything."

Yeah, he's just quite the Abe Lincoln, ain't he?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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