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No one can envy President Obama’s current dilemma over Syria.
His decision to begin arming the Syrian rebels challenging Bashar Assad’s regime drew charges that the rebel forces are driven by jihad movements, particularly al Qaeda. Further, many rebel spokesmen have regularly denounced Israel and suggested that once in power they will end Mr. Assad’s policy of not rocking the boat with Israel. How, then, critics ask, could the president align the U.S. with the rebels?
On the other hand, Mr. Assad is directly supported by Iran and Hizbullah and, at least equally as significant, by the Russian government. If he were to overcome the rebel challenge and remain in power, it would represent a great step forward for Iran in its drive to become the preeminent power in the region.
Similarly, Hizbullah would come away with greatly enhanced stature and further erode any challenge to its leading role in Lebanon. As for the Russians, they will have established a beachhead in the Middle East from which to challenge the United States. How, then, could the president not act to thwart the supporters of the Assad regime?
When you connect the dots, the centrality of Russia to the current dynamic in the Middle East as it relates to U.S. interests becomes clear. Indeed, many will recall that when President Eisenhower refused to meet Gamal Abdel Nasser’s request for funding his pet project, the Aswan Dam, the Egyptian president turned to the Russians, who were more than happy to do business with him.
Russia’s cooperation with Iran and Hizbullah in the Syrian imbroglio has received much attention. But it passed without much notice almost two weeks ago that Russia announced the deployment of a permanent, powerful naval presence in the Middle East. The newspaper Israel Hayom, citing Russia’s military chief of staff, reported that Russia has stationed sixteen warships and three ship-based helicopters in the region.
This was the first such move since the Soviet era, and Israel Hayom quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying that the employment was not “saber rattling”; that the Middle East “is a strategically important region and we have tasks to carry out there to provide for the national security of the Russian Federation.”
However, Russia also held large-scale naval maneuvers near Syria several months ago and sold state of the art weapons, including antiaircraft missiles, to the Syrians. And as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it torpedoed any serious action against Syria there. It also offered to station Russian troops on the Golan Heights, between Israel and Syria, as part of the UN peacekeeping mission to replace the Austrian forces that recently pulled out after a spillover of the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels.
After a two-hour meeting this week between President Obama and President Putin that focused on Syria, Mr. Putin told reporters that “of course our opinions do not coincide.” President Obama added, “We have different perspectives on the problem.”
So President Obama’s Syria dilemma must properly be seen not only in the context of the major jihadist component of the rebel forces, but also the Russians’ drive to restore their superpower role and the aspirations of Iran and Hizbullah.
Sadly, these seemingly intractable problems are largely of his own making. The president hit the ground running after his first inauguration with a vision of resetting the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. This led to his terrible misstep in trying to force Israel to embrace much of the Palestinian narrative, with destructive results to the peace process. He failed to fully take into account the Arab penchant for demanding unilateral concessions and pocketing every concession while reneging on their own promised compromises.
More to the point, it also led Mr. Obama to fully embrace the Arab Spring. He seemed intoxicated with the notion that the boiling over of honest dissent in several Arab countries meant that democracy was about to break out all over the area. So he abandoned longstanding American policy that called for cooperation with some nasty Mideast leaders who were able to keep the lid on dissent and constituted an international order of sorts, while delivering relative stability to the region.
Much to the president’s dismay, however, what followed the overthrow of the dictators was a chaos stemming from the religious rivalries that had been kept in tow by the deposed strongmen. Moreover, as it turned out, the only organized elements in countries across the Middle East were the very militant religious movements that had been suppressed and were now sniffing victory.
In turn, the divisions unleashed by the Arab Spring presented opportunities for the projection of Russian power in the Middle East and for new targets of opportunity for Iran and Hizbullah.
As The New York Times reported earlier this month,
The Syrian civil war is setting off a contagious sectarian conflict beyond the country’s borders, reigniting long-simmering tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, and, experts fear, shaking the foundations of countries cobbled together after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Mr. Obama was so taken up in the dream of being on the right side of history that he was unable or unwilling to realize that the Muslim countries of the Middle East were just not ready for the emergence of democracy. As the Prophet Hoseah said, “They have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.”
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“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt-how undeterred by fear of G-d”
Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them
Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.
Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East
Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.
Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering
Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.
Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world
Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life
It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident
“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.
If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism
Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.
March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck
The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.
Gone are the days when an anchorman sitting in a New York studio could, after sharing 22 minutes of carefully selected and edited news items, trumpet in stentorian tones, “And that’s the way it is.” No it wasn’t. It never was.
President Obama has frequently cautioned that Americans should take great care to avoid fomenting anti-Muslim passions in our reaction to the murderous activities regularly being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam. One wonders why, though, he seems to have no concern with the potential for anti-Semitic fallout from his full-court press against Israeli […]
Typical of the administration’s milquetoast approach is the lack of any call for a substantial increase in military resources in order to crush ISIL, only a tepid mention of the need to “ultimately defeat” it.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/reaping-the-whirlwind/2013/06/19/
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