Thursday, December 06, 2012

Time to show fingerprints on Syria issues

From NYTimes:

The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.... 
The experience in Libya has taken on new urgency as the administration considers whether to play a direct role in arming rebels in Syria, where weapons are flowing in from Qatar and other countries.

The Obama administration did not initially raise objections when Qatar began shipping arms to opposition groups in Syria, even if it did not offer encouragement, according to current and former administration officials. But they said the United States has growing concerns that, just as in Libya, the Qataris are equipping some of the wrong militants....  
Relying on surrogates allows the United States to keep its fingerprints off operations, but also means they may play out in ways that conflict with American interests....

“....When you have an intermediary, you are going to lose control.”
The obvious reaction is either stop getting involved or stop worrying about showing your fingerprints. I'll go for Door #2.  I supported making the threat of limited military involvement in February and more actual support for the opposition in July, and I think either case would have shortened the time frame of the civil war and improved a future transition.  I remain concerned about ethnic massacres and religious instability in the post-Assad future.  Supporting groups that are less likely to do this, and especially getting Alawite opposition groups into a prominent position in the opposition military forces, could be crucial for the country's future.  Unfortunately, I think the war might still grind for months more, giving time for this option to work out.

For my less interventionist friends, I'll just mention that until recently I hadn't been too opposed to the drone war in Pakistan overall as a legitimate function of self-defense against Al Qaeda, but I'm reconsidering.  Al Qaeda in Pakistan isn't that big of a threat, while Pakistan itself desperately needs stability.  Pakistan is simply more important, and the drone strikes aren't helping.  Not sure if I'd completely eliminate them, but the go/no go decisionmaking needs to change.

7 comments:

sidd said...

"I supported making the threat of limited military involvement in February and more actual support for the opposition..."

Ah. So the difference between you and, say, Dick Cheney, is a matter of degree, not kind.

"I remain concerned about ethnic massacres and religious instability"

O, i'm sure they will welcome you with flowers, and forget all their differences...

"Not sure if I'd completely eliminate them, ..."

You would only kill a few innocents extrajudicially, and those, rarely. How very generous. As someone said, we have established what you are, now we are haggling about price.

Dear God, how soon you forget. Have you learned nothing in the last decade ? To refresh your memory, here is a quote from Riverbend, way back in 2004:

"...don't rape, don't torture, don't kill and get out while you can- while it still looks like you have a choice... Chaos? Civil war? Bloodshed? We’ll take our chances- just take your Puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go."

The USA can do no good with armed intervention. None believe anything you say. They hate you. Every man's hand is against you, and even your puppets are eyeing exits. Riverbend's words are the common wisdom in the streets and in the souks, the kitchens and the teashops, in the cellars and the alleyways. Just leave. Don't make it worse. Leave them to their own hell, a hell that you have helped create, and go burn in your own.

But, of course, I forget. You can't leave until the oil is gone.

sidd

Brian said...

Hi sidd, I have a standing offer to bet over whether Libya will be more free in the future than it was pre-intervention:

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/02/putting-some-credibility-behind.html

Let me know if you're interested!

Thomas said...

“There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,”
--- Barack Obama

Sorry, that was about Palestinian missile against Israel, not US missiles against Pakeistan...

MikeH said...

"I have a standing offer to bet over whether Libya will be more free in the future than it was pre-intervention"

Measured by what? Do you mean free for US corporate interests? Or the Syrian population, a large number of whom are going to be dead before the civil war is over.

This conflict is going to result in grudges that will take generations to play out. You will not be able to settle that bet for a few decades if ever.

Brian said...

Mikeh, you could try reading the link.

MikeH said...

As judged by Freedom House?

"In Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky and Herman write that in 1979, Freedom House monitored the election of Ian Smith in Rhodesia and found it "fair", but found the 1980 elections won by Mugabe under British supervision "dubious".[30] Chomsky and Herman argue that the group's history has been characterized by excessively criticizing states opposed to US interests while being unduly sympathetic to those regimes supportive of US interests.[30] The authors suggest this can be most notably seen by the way it perceived the US ally El Salvador in the early 1980s, a government that used the army for mass slaughter of the populace to intimidate them in the run-up to an "election", but Freedom House found these elections to be "admirable".[30] Chomsky further claimed in 1988 that Freedom House "had interlocks with AIM, the World Anticommunist League [sic], Resistance International, and U.S. government bodies such as Radio Free Europe and the CIA, and has long served as a virtual propaganda arm of the (U.S) government and international right wing"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_House

David B. Benson said...

I see. Not a Christian, are you Brian?