Why there should be no war with Syria


As the civil war in Syria between the army loyal to President Assad and the anti-Assad rebels (including Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood) continues, some politicians and columnists are calling on the US to start funneling weapons to the rebels or even to bomb Syria. They are wrong.

Firstly, who rules Syria is not pertinent to America’s vital national interests. That by itself is a sufficient reason to abstain. But if that isn’t enough for you, consider this:

The rebels are Sunni extremists (including Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists) who hate the Alawite Shia President of Syria, Bashar Assad, and want to depose and murder him. By backing the rebels, the West will be supporting these terrorist organizations and creating an operations hub for them – practically delivering an entire country to them on a plate – just like it did in Libya. Syria would then act as a training camp and a launchpad for these terrorist groups.

If deposing Assad would be good for Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the MB, can it be good for America? Of course not. If anything, Assad’s victory would be a better result for the US. So if anything, the US should be encouraging Assad to crush this rebellion ASAP.

If Assad falls, he will be replaced by a Muslim-Brotherhood-run regime, just like Mubarak and Qaddafi, and Israel, already busy with Hamas in Gaza and with Egypt, will now have to deal with another radical Islamist dictatorship, this time on its northern flank. Islamist takeover of Lebanon will also become much more likely.

Assad, hardly an angel himself, has kept the truce with Israel in the Golan Heights, as his father had until his death.

Furthermore, Assad’s fall would be disastrous for Christians in Syria. The regime that would replace Assad would be as hostile to them as to Israel. “Christians to Beirut and Alawites to the wall” was an early slogan of the resistance. Assad’s fall would be followed by massacres of Christians, just like Saddam’s and Mubarak’s deposition. (Before the US and the UK invaded Iraq, Tony Blair was warned by the leader of Iraqi Christians that Saddam’s fall would be followed by a pogrom of Christians – which it was.) Additionally, if the rebels win, they’ll also massacre the Alawite minority in Syria.

Does anyone really want to engineer that?

Moreover, any intervention in Syria would be very costly, and would be happening at a time when the defense budget faces cuts of at least $487 bn and potentially up to $1.087 trillion over a decade. Intervening in Syria would only make matters worse for the overused, worn out, overstretched, obsolete US military that needs to reset and recapitalize its equipment, restore readiness, and modernize itself for the future.

To pay for the unconstitutional Libyan war, which should’ve never happened, the Pentagon raided procurement, operations, and maintenance accounts to the tune of $800 mn – $1 bn. It would do so again if the US were to intervene militarily in Syria. This would be disastrous for the US military.

So there are no reasons for the US to intervene militarily in Syria on either side, but especially on the rebels’ side. Yet, don’t waste your breath telling that to the neocons. They are still wedded to their delusional ideology of toppling authoritatian regimes to aid insurgents, nationbuilding, and democratizing the entire world, as if all countries of the world could be turned into Jeffersonian democracies.

Amid these calls for war, normally-pro-neocon columnist Charles Krauthammer sounds reasonable, but unfortunately, even he supports delivering weapons to the rebels:

“During the last several weeks, Republican Sen. John McCain and others in Congress have lobbied for a more aggressive approach towards Syria. In fact, the Arizona senator has even called for airstrikes against Bashar Assad’s regime.

That’s not the right strategy, according to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.  On Friday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Krauthammer said that President Barack Obama’s less aggressive tack is the right one.

“I think Obama is right on this and McCain is wrong. I think this is not Libya. Libya is an oil well with a long beach and a primitive army. Syria has a serious air force, a serious army, and this would be a serious war.”

“I think what we should adopt is the Reagan Doctrine, the way he combated the expansion of Soviet influence in Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Angola. You support the insurgency. You don’t put Americans on the ground or in the air,” he said. “And why we aren’t arming and training and helping the insurgents in Turkey, you know, the ones who defected into Turkey out of Syria, I do not understand.””

Sadly, Dr Krauthammer doesn’t understand that the rebels’ victory would be a far worse outcome for the US than if Assad were to win. NRO columnist Andrew McCarthy does, and I fully agree with his article on this subject, which I’ll quote in part here:

“One need not carry a brief for Assad to take notice that it is not just al-Qaeda and Hamas backing the “opposition.” The hugely influential Qaradawi backs them, too. That is because the backbone of the opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, Syria is a more diverse country than Libya. The regime is composed of an Alawite Muslim minority — regarded as heretical by Qaradawi — and it is backed by Shiite Iran. Its opposition includes an ethnic, religious, and ideological potpourri of Druze Muslims, Kurds, Armenians, Christians, Marxists, a few liberal democrats, some disgruntled former regime officials, and even a smattering of Jews. But all that said, three-quarters of the country’s 23 million people are Sunni Muslims — the Brotherhood’s breeding grounds.

Of course it is tragic that some innocent victims and authentic liberal democrats are caught in the carnage. It is not our burden, however, to prevent that or to become enmeshed in other countries’ civil wars – not when there is no vital American interest in one side’s prevailing over the other. It is certainly not in the vital interests of a country weary of war, out of patience with Muslim madness, and $15 trillion in debt to further insinuate itself so that anti-American dictators can be replaced by anti-American Islamists.

It’s a pity that they can’t both lose. But if they have to savage someone, better each other than us.”

McCarthy also points out that although Iran supports Assad, and his downfall would be bad for Iran, the mere fact that Assad is being challenged by Sunni rebels is already very bad, and very troubling, for Tehran. The US does not need to intervene in Syria.

Like McCarthy says, it’s a pity they can’t both lose.

So to sum up, the US should not intervene in Syria in any way on either side. It should stay out of this war. It’s a pity that Assad and the rebels can’t both lose, but if they have to kill someone, they better kill each other. No crucial interests are at stake in Syria; if anything, an Assad victory would be an outcome more favorable for the US; the Syrian rebels are not any better than Assad; aiding them would mean creating another Sharia-based, terrorist-run state and creating another problem for Israel; and fiscally, it would be very costly and be done at the expense of the readiness and modernization of the US military.

There are no reasons to intervene in Syria. There are many reasons not to do so.

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