Friday, June 15, 2012

The Council Has Spoken!! This Week's Watcher's Council Results

Alea iacta est...the Council has spoken, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

There's a bit of age old wisdom that says 'Look Before You Leap.'

This week's winner, Joshuapundit's Syria-ousity was my look at the present turmoil in Syria and the calls for America to get involved, as well as a look at a few issues in this conflict it seems we're not looking at too closely that ought to preclude it. Here's a slice:

What's changed this time are two factors that allowed the same sort of people who always engaged with the Assads, (particularly but not exclusively on the left) to get on board for Syrian regime change ; First the 'Arab Spring' which allowed the rationale of supporting what appears to smell like Arab Democracy, that ever-elusive fantasy. And second , the fact that Syria has become persona non grata with the largely Sunni Arab League because of Alawite-ruled Syria's increasing identification with the Shi'ite bloc headed by Iran.

So the usual suspects are out in force, calling for the West to get actively involved in booting Basher Assad out and supporting regime change in Syria. Let's examine this in some detail, and ask a few questions:

First, and most important, what exactly are we trying to accomplish in Syria by intervening and promoting regime change? A sovereign Syrian nation under democratic rule that's an ally of the west?

There have been several occasions where the West has tried to facilitate that sort of thing in the Muslim world, in Egypt, in Iraq, in Libya, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan and in Iran. It's been an abject failure every time.

Quite simply, the 'customers' aren't interested in what we're selling. Oh, they'll hold an election here and there if they're bribed by enough western aid money, but it always breaks down along tribal lines because that's what most of these people know and understand. And the inherent culture regards what we consider liberty with fear and loathing, because it diametrically opposes what Islam teaches them. Small wonder it's been such a waste of time, blood and treasure, especially given how we've gone about it.

This is even more true in Syria than it was in Iraq.

Iraq at least had a degree of cohesiveness and something of a longer history as a nation. Syria was simply a province that passed from one hand to the next until after WWII, and then simply saw a succession of military coups.

What Syria actually represents at this point is the tipping point between two movements in the region that the west has unwisely facilitated. On one side, there is the Shi'ite bloc being assembled by Iran, which includes Lebanon, the Assad regime and the Alawites in Syria and increasingly, the Shi'ites in Iraq.On the other side is the emerging Sunni caliphate ruled by Muslim Brotherhood, which appears as if it will eventually include Egypt, Libya, the 'Palestinian' occupied territories in Gaza, Judea and Samaria and most likely, Jordan. Al-Qaeda, who was inspired by the Brotherhood and who's leader, Egyptian Ayman Zawahiri came from there are also part of that faction, although al-Qaeda has certainly been an independent actor who has received aid and assistance form both sides.

Syria is where they meet, and most of the Syrian opposition, like the Syrian Free Army, are Muslim Brotherhood affiliates. Understanding what's happening in Syria is impossible without appreciating that fact.

First of all, we would have to defeat not just one faction, but both, and do so decisively. Second, we would have to occupy the country, probably at least for a decade. One of the mistakes we made in Iraq once the decision was made to go in was to not appreciate the force tribalism and sectarianism is in this part of the world, and to turn government over to the Iraqis far too quickly.

These people have no idea what democracy and freedom are, and would have to be taught. Elements like a free press, freedom of religion, speech and assembly and the end of tribalism and the suppression of women are things the Syrians would have to learn to appreciate from the ground up. That's a particularly tall order since Islam teaches them exactly the opposite,and I frankly doubt we could accomplish it on a large scale. Certainly we weren't able to do so in Iraq, not that we tried.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan Knish for What Bill Clinton knows submitted by The Political Commentator a brilliant exposition of where president Clinton and President Obama differ and why one was successful and the other wasn't. It's the SUltan at his best, and that's saying something.

Okay! Let's move on to this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Remember to tune in for the Watcher's Council's Forum Question this Monday, and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter..'cause we're cool like that!

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