The current US position on Syria is “Bashar Al Assad Must Go.” This has been Barack Obama’s stated position and it would have been Hillary Clinton’s as well. The rationale for this position is understood and commendable. Had a “no fly zone” occurred in 2011, perhaps it would have even been achievable. But the world is a long way from 2011.
Even assuming the clock could be turned back at this point and there had been a no fly zone instituted, and Bashar al Assad had been toppled, there is no guarantee that there would be law and order in Syria today. The textbook case for this type of intervention is Libya. There was intervention in Libya in 2011. A no fly zone was instituted. The regime was toppled, Gaddafi is dead and there is total and complete bedlam in the country.
It is now 2016. Five years have passed. Bashar al Assad has held on to his power with the help of Vladimir Putin. What are the realistic alternatives now for the United States and its allies as far as a solution in Syria? Is there an opposition government that is strong and trustworthy waiting in the wings to take over – assuming this regime is toppled – so that there is not a repeat of what happened in Libya?
If the answer to this question is not a strong “yes” then it is folly to remove Bashar al Assad at this time. Prior to 2011, Syria was a functioning country. Life there was not perfect, bien sûr. People had their beefs, as they do everywhere in the world. But it was functioning, was it not? There was law and order. There was food. People went to work and to the mosque and to the movies. Is this not enough? To be able to eat and go to work and to the mosque and to the movies? What else does anyone need these days? None of us live in heaven no matter where we live whether that is France, America, Venezuela, Congo or Iran. Everywhere, there are problems. Everybody has to make do.
The problem is, that Western ego wants things to be how they want things to be and this has led to a lot of disastrous adventurism – especially in the Middle East. Why is it that Western governments cannot mind their collective business when it comes to the Middle East and their lives and their culture? So what if Bashar al Assad is an autocrat? So what if he has been ruling for a really long time and his father before him? This is their country. This is their culture and maybe this was fine with the Syrian people before all this meddling occurred! Where is it written in the Bible or Koran or any other book that a leader can only be president for 8 years? Where is it written that a leader should be changed after a certain number of years?
This is a Western notion! And that is fine for the West. But in the Middle East, it is their norm that a leader can lead till whenever. And if it is OK with them it ought to be OK with us in the West. Moreover, even if it becomes not OK with them, and they want a change, they have to achieve that in a certain way. Breaking the entire country down to rubble because you become disenchanted with the leader is not, necessarily, the smartest and most effective way. But if that is the way they chose, it is their country. What business is it of ours?
Yes, I know. People are dying. This, obviously, is not a good thing. It is a bad thing. But are we making it better by going in there and “meddling” in these people’s affairs? I guess if we go in as third party arbitrators or third party good officers, it might be one thing. But we are going in there all wrong. We are going in there to throw our weight around. This is wrong. This is a mistake.
Look, West, let’s butt the hell out of Syria. Assad may be the devil but we know the devil we have. We do not know the one we are going to get. Plus, he is tough. He has staying power. He did not die. Let him have his country back. In a few years, maybe they can sort it out and have an election and move on with their lives.
If we get out of Syria and let them sort it out…we need to but the hell out of the Middle East! This, really, is the bottom line! We need to get the hell out! Completely!
The more I think about this the angrier it is starting to make me. What part of “get the hell out” do these Western leaders not understand? I think all of the parts because I just read that they are arming the opposition in Syria again and I just think this is madness.
Really, this is just madness.