Schadenfreude is an interesting thing...and so is realpolitik. And I have to say, that as an extremely cynical and snarky observer of the Middle East, I find the current debate on the situation in Syria fascinating to watch.
I mean, seriously, who thought when this whole "Arab Spring" thingy began almost two years ago that it would ignite a 21st century version of the "Thirty Years War" across the Middle East?
For those under-educated public school readers who spent all their time reading Howard Zinn pontificate about the wonders of Caesar Chavez and Bella Abzug, the Thirty Years War was primarily a religious war that tore apart Europe from 1618-1648 along Catholic and Protestant lines and left Germany plundered and destroyed as new nationalist hatreds were either magnified or replaced by older ethnic and religious strife.
SO, what do we have going on in the Middle East today? Well, it's basically a power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for control of the direction of Islam, oil wealth, and general "mine's bigger than yours realpolitik."
Enter Syria, Iran's only real ally in the entire region, and Lebanese Hizballah's primary benefactor. In addition to being the most dangerous terrorist organization on the planet, Hizballah has the dubious distinction of being the only Arab "army" that can claim some measure of victory of Israel in battle. Although the be fair, Hizballah can only really claim that they stood toe-to-toe with the most lethal military in the Middle East and survived, in Arab parlance, that equals victory. Weird, but true. So, today we learn that Iran is going all in to rescue Asad's regime and make sure the world knows it...from the UK Independent:
Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria
Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.
America’s alliance now includes the wealthiest states of the Arab Gulf, the vast Sunni territories between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey and the fragile British-created monarchy in Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – flooded, like so many neighbouring nations, by hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – may also now find himself at the fulcrum of the Syrian battle. Up to 3,000 American ‘advisers’ are now believed to be in Jordan, and the creation of a southern Syria ‘no-fly zone’ – opposed by Syrian-controlled anti-aircraft batteries – will turn a crisis into a ‘hot’ war. So much for America’s ‘friends’.
Its enemies include the Lebanese Hizballah, the Alawite Shiite regime in Damascus and, of course, Iran. And Iraq, a largely Shiite nation which America ‘liberated’ from Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority in the hope of balancing the Shiite power of Iran, has – against all US predictions – itself now largely fallen under Tehran’s influence and power. Iraqi Shiites as well as Hizballah members, have both fought alongside Assad’s forces.
This is huge, like, really, huge...where Iran basically says to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and all the Sunni countries that have been backing the Syrian rebels (who have been taken over by Al Qaeda affiliates, by they way...but hey let's not let pesky facts get in the way, we have to do something to help those poor terrorist thugs killing the other terrorist thugs) AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON...
and what does this Administration do? FOR THE FIRST TIME, I totally agree with what they are doing...AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE...at least I hope so, in spite of idiotic calls from Republicans like Lindsey Graham...who is clearly off his meds for a "no-fly zone" and arming the JIHADI AL QAEDA LOVING rebels.
Continuing from the UK Independent link above
In the Middle East, there is cynical disbelief at the American contention that it can distribute arms – almost certainly including anti-aircraft missiles – only to secular Sunni rebel forces in Syria represented by the so-called Free Syria Army. The more powerful al-Nusrah Front, allied to al-Qaeda, dominates the battlefield on the rebel side and has been blamed for atrocities including the execution of Syrian government prisoners of war and the murder of a 14-year old boy for blasphemy. They will be able to take new American weapons from their Free Syria Army comrades with little effort.
From now on, therefore, every suicide bombing in Damascus - every war crime committed by the rebels - will be regarded in the region as Washington’s responsibility. The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration.This is the height of stupidity...I assume the distinguished Senator knows that implementing a no-fly zone will likely bring about a war between the US and our allies and Syria and their allies.
Not to mention that the US military is not excited about fighting to save a bunch of Al Qaeda loving jihadi murderers after spending the last 10 years hunting them down and killing them in great bunches. My ol' stand-by website Foreign Policy says it best:
Why the Pentagon really, really doesn't want to get involved in Syria
The Pentagon's enthusiasm for a no-fly zone is tempered by past experiences. The Air Force still quickly points to Operation Northern and Southern Watch over Iraq as an operationally exhausting and expensive endeavor that lasted many years.
"The biggest reason the military is resistant is frankly that it recognizes as well it should, post-Iraq, that military action brings extreme and unintended consequences and that's totally valid," said Joe Holliday, a fellow at the Institute for the Study of War. Holliday, who provided blueprints for military intervention to the Pentagon's Joint Staff some months ago, believes that while military planners have looked at various courses of action - and the second and third order effects that would follow - it hasn't looked at the impact of not doing anything.
A perception that there is a dearth of military assets needed for such action contributes to the collective military sentiment about Syrian intervention. There's also perhaps a deep, psychological underpinning: the Syrian rebels are nearly indistinguishable from some of the very foreign fighters the military has been fighting.
"The defense establishment has been fighting jihadis for the last many years, and now, why are we helping them?"ENTER.....Sarah Palin...that's right, Caribou Barbie that the left loves to hate with spittle flying intensity and what does she say???
“We’re talking now more new interventions,” Mrs. Palin said, according to The Blaze. “I say, until we know what we’re doing, until we have a commander in chief who knows what he’s doing, well, chief, in these radical Islamic countries who aren’t even respecting basic human rights, where both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line, ‘Allah Akbar,’ I say until we have someone who knows what they’re doing, I say, let Allah sort it out.”
The growing infusion of Iranian-backed Lebanese and Iraqi Shiite fighters into the Syrian civil war is causing some veteran pundits to panic. Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, warns that "Iran is beating the U.S. in Syria." Former Bush administration deputy national security adviser Elliot Abrams sees "a humiliating defeat of the United States at the hands of Iran."I LIKE IT...is it kind of cold and heartless? Maybe, but that's how realpolitik works...and I know some morons both in the Democratic and Republican parties think the US can do something useful..I doubt it...that ship sailed over two years ago...now the only thing the U.S. can and should do is support Israel, help Jordan and Turkey ship the Syrian refugees home when the fighting is over and for goodness sakes, don't frickin' bring any of them here?
Nothing could be further from the truth. Setting aside the matter of how Washington can be losing a war it is not fighting, the claim that Iran is winning is dead wrong. The Islamic Republic's headlong intervention in Syria is akin to Nazi Germany's surge of military forces into the Battle of Stalingrad in the fall of 1942 – an operationally competent, strategic blunder of epic proportions.
To be sure, the influx of thousands of foreign (mostly non-Iranian) Shiite fighters into Syria in recent months has enabled pro-regime forces to regain some ground in the Damascus suburbs and a belt of territory linking the capital to Homs and the coast. The town of Qusayr, critical to both rebel and regime supply lines into Lebanon, fell on June 5.
That's a shame, but the Iranian surge won't prevent the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab rebels from eventually prevailing on the battlefield. Sunni Arabs have a 5-to-1 demographic edge over the minority Alawites who comprise most uniformed and paramilitary pro-regime combatants, and a 2-to-1 advantage over all of Syria's ethno-sectarian minorities combined. The rebels are strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of Arabs and Muslims worldwide who are Sunnis, and their four principal sponsors – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan – have a GDP well over twice that of Iran. Russia continues to do business with the regime, but it won't intervene decisively enough to change the math.
What kinda stupid is that? Let their fellow Sunnis and Shias take care of them...they've got plenty of oil wealth...
Schadenfreude...great word for today...."Let them kill each other, Allah will sort them out."