Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Obama's Syrian Two Step
President Obama, realizing that his proposed strike on Syria wasn't polling well (particularly after he had his helpful Staff members leak all the details on when, where and what the likely targets would be to his friends in the press) has taken yet another stand.
On Friday, August 30th, President Obama stood in the Rose Garden at the White House and announced that he was punting - he was now putting the decision into congress' hands. And then went out to hit the golf course.
Not only did the president grease out on his earlier decision, but he did it in a particularly harmful and spineless way. Instead of immediately calling congress into session, the normal action of a commander in chief in these situations, the president is going to wait until they get back from recess. That means congress won't even start debating anything until September 9th, so it could easily be at least another two weeks before congress even hammers out a resolution both houses agree on - if they do at all.
The reason, of course is pure politics. If congress votes "yes" the blame for any blowback that results can be spread around, and it will distract from the scandals surrounding this president and his administration. If congress votes “no”, the vote would allow President Obama to walk away from yet another major foreign policy blunder, while blaming congress for it. And a "no " vote would also allow him to hit the campaign trail in 2014 talking about how Republicans who voted to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan opposed doing so in Syria because of 'partisan politics' .
Back in 2011, this president bombed Libya for six months, violated the War Powers Act and never bothered to ask congress or anyone else. But now he has abdicated responsibility for his bombastic rhetoric about 'a red line', and dramatically escalated the stakes.
President Obama is said to have been influenced in his last minute turnaround by JCS Chief General Martin Dempsey, who reportedly told him that a U.S. strike could take place tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month from now, and it wouldn't matter. If true, this wisdom from General Dempsey is on a par with his call for the U.S. to arm Hezbollah.
A strike like this, to have any effectiveness and to succeed with the least chance of casualties relies on the element of surprise. Without it, as I've already mentioned, the Assad regime has time to move any military assets they need to out of harm's way and to arrange anti-missile coverage and some nice, properly locked in anti-aircraft fire for any of our planes that participate. The Assad regime already has started doing exactly that, thanks to our president and his team ratting out our intentions, the probable targets and the purpose and duration of the proposed attacks to the press. Is this going to be Clinton redux - where we simply bomb some empty buildings to massage our president's already inflated ego?
Another factor I'm not hearing discussed at all is what Vladimir Putin and the Russians are going to do. Putin is already rushing warships into the area to protect his Syrian client...and will almost certainly bring more advanced weaponry into Syria, like the S-300 missile defense systems and the Yakhont anti-ship missiles. Are we prepared to go head to head with the Russians over this? And has anyone considered the consequences in the region of us putting Putin in a position where he feels justified in bringing this more advanced weaponry into the equation?
All that aside, lets look at this president's plan - if it can be called that - for a strike on Syria and what it's actually going to accomplish.
That's actually a little detail that remains unclear, just like Libya. The Obama Administration has announced that regime change isn't the objective, so why exactly should we intervene on the rebel side? And make no mistake, if we go in President Obama intends Obviously if we do so, we're putting U.S. blood and treasure on the line to help them defeat Assad. Let's go there, since after all, this is an act of war. Cui bono, who benefits?
The two main Sunni insurgent factions with actual boots on the ground are Jamat al-Nusra, the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Free Army, or to label things more correctly, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Even the Obama endorsed Syrian Opposition Coalition is Muslim Brotherhood dominated. So taking out Assad will result in the ethnic cleansing of Syria's Alawites, Shi'ites and what's left of the Christians, and will simply put Assad's weapons in the hands of another Hamas-style reichlet. That's exactly what happened in Libya and we've seen the results in Benghazi, Sinai, Algeria and Mali.
How is putting another Hamasistan in Syria armed with Assad's weaponry beneficial to the U.S.?
Or Israel, for that matter? I mention that because one of the excuses Secretary of State John Kerry is cynically using to sell this is that we 'have to act to protect Israel'...as if the Obama Administration has ever been all that concerned over Israel's security, or if Israel has ever had problems dealing with Basher Assad and Syria when necessary on their own.
Another factor no one seems to be mentioning is Jordan, a U.S. client state right next door to Syria and a country where, due to tribal factors, the Muslim Brotherhood is extremely strong and King Abdullah is hanging on by his fingernails.Imagine a Muslim Brotherhood enclave right next door to Jordan armed with Assad's weaponry. How long do you think King Abdullah would last? King Abdullah has obviously considered it, since he's adamant that no attacks on Assad be launched from Jordan's soil. Why haven't we?
Nor does the humanitarian angle hold water. This president sat by and did nothing during the genocide in Darfur by Sudan, whose president Omar al-Bashir has actually been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. President Obama sat by and watched the aggression and ceasefire violations by Sudan against the new nation of South Sudan, and paid no attention to the ethnic cleansing of Syria's Christians that was almost exclusively carried out by the Islamist insurgents. He did nothing. Why the urgency now?
President Obama has talked a lot about the Middle East, but there's one question he's never been asked, and it's about time someone demanded a straight answer from him. Why is he constantly championing the Muslim Brotherhood? We've lost one strategic asset in Egypt, strained our relations severely with the Saudis, gotten involved in one war on the Brotherhood's behalf and are now being urged to get into a second one. What does the president find so beneficial to America in backing these Nazis with a crescent instead of a swastika?
And here's another question worthy of an answer. Without the factor of being allied with Iran, Syria doesn't count for much in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the strategic balance in the region.Why use up U.S. assets(or Israeli assets, for that matter) on Syria rather than on the real target, Iran and it's illegal nuclear weapons facilities?
If we're going to do a military strike, why not strike at the heart of our enemies in the region rather than a mere tentacle?