web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



The Syrian Conundrum

Syria’s civil war is fast becoming one of the Obama administration’s greatest foreign policy challenges, for the moment even surpassing Iran’s march toward nuclear weaponry in its urgency. Together, both issues have effectively derailed the president’s long-range intention to focus on Asia and the emerging economic and military developments in China and other nations in the so-called Asian Pivot.

While Iran requires prompt attention and action, the volatile situation in Syria – particularly the growing presence of radical Islamists in the ranks of the opposition to President Assad – requires immediate decisions. But Mr. Obama’s options are limited and the effects of any action he might take are not at all clear.

Adding to the mix is the “red line” President Obama declared in connection with Syria’s use of poison gas against the rebels or civilians. With evidence mounting that Syria did indeed use Sarin gas, at some point he will have to act on his threat of serious consequences or risk having the U.S. perceived as a paper tiger all over the Third World and particularly in Tehran and Pyongyang.

But the case for military action is not exactly open and shut. The New York Times last week railed against Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham for contending that “the way forward on Syria is clear.” Both have urged that the United States should be arming the rebels and establishing a no-fly zone. Seems logical at first blush. If we want to get rid of President Assad and his government – which we say we want to do – why not back his opponents to the hilt? But as the Times noted:

For all their exhortations, what the senators and like-minded critics have not offered is a coherent argument for how a more muscular approach might be accomplished without dragging the United States into another extended and costly war and how it might yield the kind of influence and good will for this country that the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have not….

Unlike Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham…the president has been trying to disentangle the United States from overseas conflicts and, as a result, has been very cautious about military involvement in Syria.

We would add that Syria is reputed to posses one of the most formidable air defense systems in the world, built with the assistance of the Russians who wanted to deter a Western intervention in Syria similar to those in Bosnia and Libya, which Russia opposed. So U.S. involvement on the side of the rebels would hardly be clean and easy.

Further, Islamists have increasingly been driving the anti-Assad forces and are establishing Islamic institutions, including Sharia law, in areas they control. Ominously, the Times reported that “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

And radical Islamists are closing in on al-Safira, home to one of Syria’s key facilities for the production of chemical weapons. According to Britain’s Telegraph,

[A]mong the rebel lines in al-Safira flutters the black flag of the al-Nusra Brigade, the jihadist group that recently declared its allegiance to al Qaeda. Known for their fighting prowess honed in Iraq, they are now taking the lead in nearly every frontline in the Syrian war….

The Telegraph further notes the prospect of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction falling under al Qaeda control:

Such grim possibilities are now uppermost in the minds of Western officials as they try to work out how to prevent Syria’s vast chemical stockpiles being unleashed, be it by President Assad on his own people, or by his more extreme opponents in the outside world.

Ari Ratner, a former Middle East adviser in the Obama State Department and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, observed, “We have no illusions about the prospect of engaging with the Assad regime – it must still go – but we are also very reticent to support the more hard-line rebels.”

On the other hand, many experienced Middle East hands believe the time is ripe for U.S. intervention on the side of the rebels. Dennis Ross, former senior Middle East adviser to several presidents, wrote in Foreign Policy magazine that the time is indeed now:

There can be no doubt that the conflict in Syria confronts the United States with terrible challenges. The humanitarian catastrophe gets worse by the day: Nearly a quarter of Syria’s population may now be displaced from their homes, and the death toll approaches 80,000 – and continues to rise inexorably.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Syrian Conundrum”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
American F-16 fighter jets
First Time: US Bombs ISIS Near Baghdad to Support Iraqi Troops
Latest Indepth Stories
Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

syria_stratfo

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Phyllis Chesler

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

More Articles from Editorial Board
Arnold-Fine-091214

His many articles on education showed great insight into the problems facing Jewish teachers in a changing student environment.

We cannot forget Secretary Kerry’s obsessive and relentless focus on the Middle East peace process.

The Jewish Press endorses Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary election.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

“Friends stand together in times of crisis,” said Gov. Cuomo.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-syrian-conundrum/2013/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: