Monday, February 20, 2012

Thank Heavens for Dempsey

Recently, 56 leading conservative foreign-policy experts signed an open letter to the Obama administration concerning the abysmal situation in Syria.  The letter highlights their absolute ignorance, calling for 'immediate action' against the Syrian regime, including arming the opposition.  It is fascinating and truly telling that many of the signatories were the leading voices (hawks to some) in support of the 2003 Iraq invasion.

In light of these pressures on the American administration, thank heavens for General Martin Dempsey who responded to the hawks with a challenge: "I would challenge anyone to clearly identify for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point".  A voice of wisdom in the US regime who seems to know anything about the situation in Syria.

The 'opposition' in Syria is represented in the media as a united group flying the flag of the Syrian National Council (SNC), and it is this group that many would have the West arm or intervene on the behalf of.  There are three immediate issues with this representation:

Firstly, the SNC are not a harmonious, focused group.  They are currently struggling over disagreements over financing and what form their relationship with the FSA they should take.  Within the SNC there are those who advocate forceful (i.e. violent) pressure on the Syrian regime, and those who don't.  So not all of them want to use arms.

Secondly, the SNC do not represent the interests of the whole of Syria.  The Council is generally accepted to be under the heavy influence of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.  Only 50% of Syria are Sunni Arabs.  The rest of Syria is made up of fragmented groups of ethnic minorities, including the Alawites, the Christians, the Kurds and the Druze.  The Alawites and the Christians are terrified of a Muslim Brotherhood regime.  The Kurds are unconvinced that their aspirations of some measure of autonomy would be taken seriously by the SNC.  We are thus left with a major proportion of the Syrian population who do not support the SNC.  Are those who call for the arming of the opposition suggesting that we just ignore them?  Are they just an inconvenient presence that will surely be grateful for the beneficience and magnanimity of the West?  No.

Thirdly, the SNC are not in Syria.  The Muslim Brotherhood has been exiled from Syria for many years, and the SNC is principally based in Turkey.  So who would the West be arming?  The Free Syria Army?  And who are they?  The head of the FSA wants it to be the armed wing of the opposition, but in actual fact the FSA is nothing more than a group of fragmented, unorganised militia groups who work on a localised, autonomous basis.  They are not a unified and focused force, and even armed by the West they wouldn't stand a chance against the disciplined Syrian Army.

Who, then, are these 56 signatoried suggesting we arm?  General Dempsey is right - there is no united, credible opposition.  Maybe these signatories should do a bit of research before they start baying for war.

4 comments: said...

Very nice post!

writingbee rewiev said...

Great post! Thanks a lot for it. said...

True bro true!! said...

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