Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What Happens Next In Syria?
Don Surber: I posted my answer.
I told readers on Thursday, “My money is on a lot of rockets red glare while the Saudis quietly take care of business. You need them to go in because they can tell the difference between an actual Syrian rebel and an Islamic State terrorist. Obama never realized that.
“Besides, it is their land, not ours. Let them defend it. No American president wants to send in ground troops. Had we fought the Gulf War this way, that New World Order thing may have worked.”
Now hindsight is 20/20 on the Gulf War. The Gulf states lacked quantity of troops necessary. But on the other hand, they would not allow Western soldiers enter Baghdad. What a mess.
27 years later, we provide the bombs, the Saudis provide the ground troops.
The Saudis have the bombs but couldn’t bomb Syria without drawing return fire from Russia. That would have led to a war no one wants.
So we provided cover, and brought along Britain and France. With China siding with Russia, the five permanent members of the UN are split with three on the side of good, and two on the side of Assad.
Trump will bring the shock and awe, and maybe keep a few troops on the ground.
But the Gulf states are doing the heavy lifting, just as they are doing in Yemen where there is another proxy war between the Arabs and Iran.
The Syria strike is the Trump Doctrine at its best. We provide the backup to our friends involved in regional conflicts. Korea is another example. We are enabling South Korea to negotiate with the North directly, for the first time in 68 years.
Trump also severed our foreign policy to the human rights restriction that Jimmy Carter imposed.
Why not? Obama ignored it in Cuba and Iran.
Whether the recent gas attack on Douma was Assad’s work or a false flag photo op by the rebels is irrelevant. This is simply the norm when it comes to war in this part of the world. Nor does it really have much to do with ISIS as far as I’m concerned. What is important is not allowing Iran to have a strategic bloc extending to Mediterranean and not allowing them to neutralize our allies…the Kurds and their Christian and Yazedi partners.
History shows us that a power that allows to be wiped out because it’s inconvenient to get involved or more convenient to simply sell them out to appease a hostile power always suffers the consequences, and those consequences can be very significant.
We have 2,000 or so boots on the ground in Syria embedded with the Kurds and they serve a significant purpose of actually preventing an escalation as well as protecting our allies. Israeli PM Netanyahu has already told Putin that Israel will not allow a significant Iranian presence in Syria.That’s a red line Israel will not allow to be crossed. And Putin not only understands it, he’s likely quite willing tocontinue the status quo as long as Russia continues to have access to the warm water ports and there are no Russian casualties.
Putin and Netanyahu have a fairly good relationship, and Putin has been happy to look the other way when the Israelis (or who knows who?) bomb Syrian,Hezbollah or Iranian facilities to destroy weapons shipments or other strategic objectives as long as no Russians were killed. But if Iran becomes more insistent on establishing bases, missile launching sites or other military presence in Syria, the war will definitely escalate, and if Russia comes in as part of a proxy war, so will we. Putin understands that too.
Since Russia can’t afford a war financially or logistically, it would suit both parties to simply settle for a stand off.
While Russia has promised ‘consequences’ for the recent missile strikes and has a small armada of ships headed towards Syria, rest assured that Putin won’t risk war with the U.S. directly. Instead, the attempt at ‘consequences’ is almost certain to be made by Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, both of whom lack real air power. That pretty much determines that their efforts won’t succeed, unless Russia intervenes…which it won’t.
Syria itself has always been something of a failed state. It has a couple of trading cities in Aleppo and Damascus, but there’s little or no trade happening now. Half of it is desert, and there’s little else except some agricultural land and a couple of good ports on the Mediterranean. It doesn’t even really matter if Assad stays in power or not. No one has really been able to make much of Syria…not the Seleucids, not the Mongols, not the Ottomans, and certainly not the French or the Arabs.Assad himself admits it will likely take $400 billion dollars to fix Syria’s infrastructure and get its economy even close to functioning on the limited level it was before the war. The Russians certainly don’t have it, Iran doesn’t either and Syria has nothing like oil to interest the Chinese. The only thing Assad has to offer anyone is warm water ports, Putin’s chief interest. And a closer striking point aiming at Israel, which is what the Ayatollahs want, along with a land link to their other Mideast colony, Lebanon.
Our best bet is to stay the course, keep a presence in Syria and continue to arm and train the Kurdish Persh Mergah.
Well, there it is!