Syria Musings Pt. 2.5 — The Arab League Reacts

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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8 Responses

  1. George Turner says:

    Well, how can anyone not make jabs at Operation Enduring Hesitation? Heck, military personnel are posting pictures of themselves with their faces covered by signs saying “I didn’t join the [service branch] to fight for Al Qaeda in the Syrian civil war.”Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to George Turner says:

      George, quit dragging Ace of Spades bullshit in here. Just don’t do it. Bad enough we’ve got War Nerd hooey dribbling in like so much sewage from a broken soil stack.

      The American military has proven to be the most powerful recruiting tool for jihaadism anyone could contemplate. If the mission was to Annoy Every Iraqi and Afghan, we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

      And now we can Annoy Every Syrian. Oh, joy. The opportunities to destroy the last multi-confessional secular state in the region lie before us. True, we don’t have any more factual basis for this war than the Iraq War, nor yet any strategic rationale for it. Someone has done a Bad Thing and now they must be Punished. True, we don’t have anyone in the wings who might replace Assad. I have heard this shit all my life and every time I do, my bullshit detector has gone up to Deep Fat Fry.

      The war in Syria is not our fight. We waded into Iraq without a clue — Iraq’s a complex country but it pales in comparison to Syria. We get into Syria and we will be in open warfare with the most sophisticated militia in the area, Hizb’allah. They’ve evolved considerably and can stand up to anything the Israeli military, also considerably better than our own, can dish out.Report

    • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

      I’m pretty sure Ace isn’t supporting a strike, but like just about everyone outside of MSNBC these days, he’s mocking Obama. The press in the Arab world has been particularly vicious, on both sides of the Syrian conflict. Instead of making enemies with smart bombs, we’re making enemies with smart diplomacy.

      In the other Syrian Musings thread (1.0), I posted some thoughts on how Assad may not have ordered the strikes, which may have even been aimed at having us get him out of the way to make room for better leadership. Many Congressmen who were given the classified briefing remain skeptical of the link between Assad and the attack, as do the Russians and Chinese who were shown the evidence. The Russian minister said that we didn’t even have names or locations.

      That’s troubling, given the possibility that frustrated Syrian army commanders might have meant for us to decapitate Assad, or at the very least didn’t care if we blew Assad to bits. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we some day find out that the commander who launched the gas attack was striking out in blind vengeance over some particularly brutal and gruesome bit of rebel butchery. One of the UN inspectors who was investigating the strike has just returned saying it was possible that the rebels were behind it, based on her interviews, but then half the people she’d interview would claim that anyway.

      It does incline me to believe that if we attack quickly, without gathering enough information, we’d be like a cop who arrives at an active crime scene and instead of taking control of the situation (“everybody freeze!”) just starts shooting people based on his initial guess about who was who, later saying “Well, how was I to know the black guy was the store owner?”

      And of course our attack won’t destroy all the chemical weapons, and indeed, if we do hit some, it will disperse them violently. Just the threat of our attack has undoubtedly caused the Syrian government to disperse their stockpiles, further risking a loss of control over them, and increasing the risk that they’ll fall into the hands of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, or some random militias. If that happens we’ll have turned disaster into catastrophe, because both sides will unleash until they run out of chemical weapons – or run out of civilians to kill. If they run out of civilians first, the rest of the region will spend the next twenty years having random nerve-gas truck bombs going off in shopping areas. And of course if that happens, everybody will always say “It’s America’s fault. They acted stupidly.”Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Harrumph, harrumph! The Arab League, that collection of broken crockery, has spoken. The leaders of the largest concentration of illiteracy, misogyny and poverty in the world now urge the world to take Deterrent Action.

    Nobody takes the Arab League seriously. Not even Arabs. When the Arab League proposed a peace plan with Israel, back in 2002, Hamas rejected it completely.

    If only these undemocratic swine would cease taking Deterrent Action against their own reporters and critics, their words might ring with a bit more sincerity. Syria remains the only secular, multiconfessional state in the region, for any practical purpose. Even Assad’s enemies fear the rise of yet another bumptious Islamic state in the region. Here and there, the Arab Spring has gone rotten, infested with power-mad Islamists intent upon returning the region to the fifth century AD — or in the Islamic Calendar, Year One of the Hijra.

    The Arab League is as useless as the League of Nations. They have nothing to say and nobody to whom to say it.Report

    • George Turner in reply to BlaiseP says:

      7th century. You adjusted the wrong way. I do that too sometimes. We shouldn’t have mixed cardinal and ordinal numbers when the first century was “zero”. You think Muhammed (PBUH) would’ve revised that glaring mistake instead of just restarting the year count.

      But yeah, the Arab League is pretty darn useless. Thankfully most of them are over the phase where each leader was trying to unite the Muslim World into one country – under their own leadership, of course.

      Syria is problematic. Though it allowed quite a bit of religious freedom, it was in other respects a disaster that embodied some of the non-Arab world’s worst ideas about government, building a paranoid pro-Soviet police state. Its government needs to be toppled, but it certainly shouldn’t be replaced by something worse, and unfortunately that seems to be the main alternative at present, with absolutist butchers thick on both sides.

      Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are fighting to the death and we’re supposed to interfere? It don’t think its time to send the Light Brigade charging in just yet.

      Speaking of which:

      Arab League, Arab League,
      ? Arab League onward,
      Into the valley of Death,
      ? Oh, the ticks blundered.

      …or dithered. The poem would work in a lot of different ways. “Butchers to the right of them, butchers to the left of them.”Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to George Turner says:

        Syria and Lebanon were anciently under the control of French crusaders. When the Ottoman Empire was dismantled, Sykes and Picot made sure the French controlled them. Lebanon was pinched off to give the Christians, Maronites and Druze somewhere of their own. The French did a lot of that sort of thing in Africa, too, but the Ottomans did it before them all. Sorting people out by confession and tribe never works: the big cities are always a blend of cultures with ethnic ghettos and the countryside becomes so much tribal gang turf.

        The great obstacle to progress is KSA. They’re completely undemocratic. The House of Saud is besieged by tribal enemies within their own kingdom. A mom-‘n-pop business gone to seed, with tens of thousands of nepotistic relatives trying to run the shop, aided and abetted by a vast coterie of imported workers, with every major government in the world importuning them like so many well-heeled beggars — buy our Boeing aircraft, etc. It’s disgraceful the way the West kowtows to these autocrats — but we have no shame.

        KSA is not much different than the Spain of the 1500s: within seventy years of all that gold and silver arriving from the New World, they were bankrupt. When the oil runs out, they will sink into the sands like the Nabataeans and the Kingdom of Sheba before them. In the distant future, some new Schliemann will go in search of the legend and find the ruins of their palaces with sand-penetrating radars. When KSA collapses, and it will, the door of history will slam on the West’s toes.Report