The West's New Syrian War

Wasn’t it UN Ambassador Samantha Power, the genocide expert (which shows how little you need to know to be hailed as an expert), who talked about “responsibility to protect”? Didn’t she, and U.S. government policy, begin by talking about saving Libyan civilians and end with a Libyan murder of American officials?

Meanwhile the UN has asked for $5 billion in humanitarian aid to Syria, much of which will go to neighboring countries to help refugees. There are now said to be 1.6 million refugees, with that number perhaps to double by the end of the year. The need is desperate. Up to half the population of the country needs help.

But who would administer that help? Presumably, no aid would be handed out to the regime to use in areas it controls, so other than Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon (to help refugees), the money would end up in the hands of al-Qaeda, the Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood (to steal, pay their own people salaries, and to use to consolidate their power over different areas).

The United States is considering taking in hundreds of thousands of people who would probably be mostly resettled in California, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Power and National Security Council director Susan Rice are known to favor receiving many refugees.

Yet the policy is based on an illusion. Let’s say that weapons are given to the rebels. Will they win the war? Will that reduce civilian casualties? Which side will kill more people? Is a rebel victory going to make Syria a better place, more of a democracy? How many more refugees would a rebel victory generate? Say about 30 percent are Alawites, Christians, and Druze who would be oppressed by a rebel triumph, as would relatively secular Sunni urban middle-class Muslims. They might flee the country. How many new wars will come out of the Syrian civil war?

This does not in any way mean one should want the Assad regime—which is a pro-Iran, pro-Hizballah, oppressive and anti-American government—to win. Yet it isn't winning the war, but merely making local gains to control the minimum territory for its survival.

Let’s put it this way: a U.S. and Western intervention in Syria is more problematic than the interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya put together. It very well might produce a worse political solution than in Egypt (where cabinet members discuss how the United States is an enemy against which war might be waged) or Tunisia. It can almost be guaranteed to be worse than Iraq.

This is a very dangerous, risky, and likely failed policy that is being set in motion here.