Now. I have some questions for you as a supporter of "do nothing".
1) Let's say the rebels win and manage to establish "democratic" elections in Syria, who do you think would win in these elections?
2) What do you propose be done in the event that Assad drastically ramps up the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people - mirroring his strategy of "use tepidly, gauge international reaction, the increase dramatically when the intn'l community turns a blind eye" which he has used again and again first with artillery bombardments, then air strikes, then SCUD missiles, and now appears to be using with chemical weapons? Nothing?
2) What do you propose be done to resist the influence of extremist jihadist groups - which has been allowed to grow under the existing policy of non-intervention? Nothing? What do you propose be done to prevent such extremist groups from getting their hands on Assad's chemical weapons in the even of Assad's fall? Nothing?
3) What do you propose be done about the increasing spillover of sectarian violence and refugees that threaten to destabilize and ignite civil wars in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq - which has proven to be the case as the war is allowed to drag on under the existing policy of non-intervention? Nothing?
4) What do you propose be done to prevent the Syrian war from languishing on indefinitely with no central government gaining the upper hand dooming Syria to become a Somalia-esque failed state and a breeding ground for Al Qaeda and extremism? What do you propose be done to prevent Syria from fracturing into one or more states along sectarian lines? Nothing?
5) What do you propose be done about the worsening humanitarian crisis? We've all read the latest UN casualty numbers - nearly 100,000. That's how many were killed in Bosnia & Herzegovina. 1.5 million refugees across borders, 4.5 million Syrians displaced internally, widespread hunger, emerging reports of mass rape and human rights violations...
You're making the same mistake that all non-interventionists make. Doing nothing doesn't mean nothing happens - it means something else happens. You are absolutely right that there are risks and concerns about intervening. What you fail to recognize is that non-intervention actually does not mitigate those risks - on the contrary, it not only leaves us exposed to many of those same risks you link to intervention (the growing influence of extremists, how to manage the continued power struggle and, likely, violence that will erupt among opposition groups following the fall of Assad, etc.) while at the same time exposing us to even more risks associated with allowing the war to languish on (the worsening of the already dire humanitarian crisis, the flaring of violence and destabilization among already fragile neighboring ME nations, etc.).
Mark my words, intervening in Syria is going to be a terrible path. But not intervening would be even more terrible.
Personally, I'm not convinced the supply of small arms or even anti-tank weapons will tip the stalemate in the favor of the rebels at this point (a year ago I believe it would have but not anymore). I think Obama is going to have to face another decision further down the road whether to commit to more involvement. By that I mean establishing no-fly zones, targeted air strikes of Assad forces, and expansive military training programs of the FSA akin to what was done for the Bosniaks and Croats.
"It is important to understand that information about the various rebel groups operating in Syria is limited. Policymakers and analysts are reliant on in-country reporting by the small number of journalists and intelligence officers operating in Syria, leading to gaps in knowledge, conflicting information, and a range of estimates that varies widely on the size of the rebel groups. In addition, obtaining reliable information is complicated by the fluid situation on the ground—alliances shift, rebel groups change in size and structure, and the relations between these groups evolve. That being said, a basic outline of the Syrian opposition can be pieced together through the information available in open- source reporting."
Hence this 6% figure can be also, 1, 3, 9, 13 or 16%...
The Long War Journal
But like all sources, they have an agenda and their biases. "The Long War Journal" is a project of the "Foundation for Defense of Democracies." In my opinion the FDD seems to be some what neoconservative, interventionism, nation building, etc.
Otherwise the "long War Journal" has a lot of info. Poop and snoop around the website and let me know what you think.
In the past, senior leaders in both the Supreme Military Council and the Syrian Opposition Coalition have professed support for the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria. Elements of the Free Syrian Army, which falls under the command of the Supreme Military Council, fight alongside and often under the command of the Al Nusrah Front, which was estimated by the US government at the beginning of this year to have over 10,000 fighters. More than 3,000 fighters from the Free Syrian Army are estimated to have defected to the Al Nusrah Front as of mid-May.
Colonel Riyad al Assad, the founder of the Free Syrian Army and one of its top commanders, has welcomed the Al Nusrah Front on the battlefield and has described the group as "our brothers in Islam." Riyad made the statements in an undated video that was uploaded on YouTube in March."<
US to arm Syrian rebels after chemical weapons 'red line' is crossed - The Long War Journal
I've read through the first 7 pages of this thread and came away with a whole lot of partisan wrangling (as usual) and very little practical common sense on the situation at hand. Thus, here's where my 2-cents worth comes into play. But first...
We know terrorist groups permeate the Middle-East. Moreover, Al Qaeda-like cells have infiltrated every Middle-Eastern country where there has been an "Arab-Spring-style" uprising of the host nation's countrymen against their tyrannical governments. All these terror groups need is the ability to "connect the thread" all across the Middle-East and if you've paid attention to what's been happening over there since the Iraq War you'd know that's exactly what's happening now. Look at the evidence:
Small factions in Saudi Arabia
And now Turkey
And, of course, Syria
How long do you think it will be before the thread is connected and terror groups throw their wrath against Israel - one of TWO countries America has sworn an oath to protect? (The other being S. Korea.)
Already we see the spread of refugees into Turkey, Lebonnon and Jordan. Moreover, there's interference (i.e., insurgency) coming into Syria from Iran and munitions coming from Russia. How long before terror groups once again get a foothold in an un-governed country as was once the case with Afghanistan?
The way I see it is this: FallenAngel is right to question the America's foreign policy on supplying rebel forces with arms. However, donsutherland1 is also correct to warn against doing nothing. The best outcome IMHO is:
1. Arm the side who in your best judgment based on your best intelligence estimate wants to do the right thing in Syria - overthrow a tyrannical gov't, fight back against terrorist insurgency, reclaim the country for the people.
2. Get as many allies as you can through the U.N. to tamp down this mess!
3. Institute a non-fly zone as wide as you can get it; you may have to go as far west as Israel, as far south as Saudi Arabia and all points in between, but you do it to halt the spread of rouge terror groups. Otherwise, you can bet they will try to gain a foothold in every other country that becomes even the slightly unstable from the fallout from Syria's mess.
4. You DON'T put boots on the ground. PERIOD!
5. You watch Russia and Iran; ensure they don't try to place America in a quagmire by:
a) Pulling the same trick the U.S. pulled on Russia when they invaded Afghanistan (using "cheap" weapons against our multi-million dollar fighter planes), or;
b) Flooding the battlefield with willing "NVA"-types (that would be the insurgences in this case) ready to die for their cause.
If this Syria civil war spreads into other Middle-Eastern territories and land on Israel's door, rest assured America will have no choice but to come to its defense.
"A fair exchange ain't no robbery." Tupac Shakur w/Digital Underground
First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
"Commanders of FSA-affiliated brigades and battalions do not receive strategic or tactical orders from FSA and SMC leaders such as Gen. Idriss but instead operate unilaterally in the control of their forces. The FSA leadership’s primary responsibility is to facilitate coordination between battalions. Gen. Idriss is officially the commander of the FSA but serves as more of a political leader than as a field commander."
The problem that rises immediately is how you, US or other forces are planning to assure that the supply of weapons and funds would not be given also to the various Islamist movements (note that i'm even not talking about Jabhat al-Nusra but of groups like Ahrar al-Sham). There is no coherent structure to FSA and as well as to a lot of other groups involved - the "battalion" commanders on the ground are those that are making the decisions not their supposed leaders.
These commanders on the ground would decide with whom to fight/not to fight, to whom they give/don't give weapons.
The problem is that they support the removal of al-Assad period, they support the aims of FSA, or of other Sunnah groups as long as those correlate to their own world views, agendas and ideas regarding Syria's future.
Thus, rises a problem of political and ideological vacuum after the fall of al-Assad.
Taking in account the large Sunni population, the large funds influx from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia (and their interests in the region and its future), the past experience of past "Arab spring" movements, the large amount of smaller groups like the Kurds with strictly sectarian interests, etc - in my opinion this vacuum would be soon filled with Sunnah dominated Islamist parties (backed by Qatar/Saudi Arabia) leading the ME towards a Sunnah dominated region.
I also can think of a lot of sentiments of revenge that would be directed towards the ex-Assad supporters, Shia, Alawites, Christians, etc...after the fall of the regime.
Moreover groups like Jabhat al-Tahrir that are directly affiliated with the rebels general command (and no i don't believe in existence of moderate Islamists - there are moderate Muslims, but not moderate Islamists), and Ahrar al-Sham that has relations with the general rebels command are bound to receive the weapons and the funds together with the more moderate Muslim fractions.
In conclusion, I don't see any reason to provide military equipment funds to leaders that have no control over the situation on the ground, or to forces that are affiliated and working with Islamists sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
I am not a supporter of "doing nothing" and never was - I would rather prefer to see a full scale US military intervention, with long and coherent US policy regarding the future of Syria and the ME - in order to secure the future of my own country (Israel), the ME, and to prevent the spreading of Shia and Sunnah Islamism and extremism. However, I am well aware of the fact that any current US administration would not dare to do such thing due to political and economical reasons.
Hence, I would much rather prefer if US would not do "half jobs" under the flag of freedom, while factually supporting the rise of Sunnah Islamists in Syria.
If you (or anyone else) have any doubts regarding my position on the matter - I already mentioned it in another thread in the ME forum:
http://www.debatepolitics.com/middle...post1061873653 (U.N. investigators say most Syria rebels not seeking democracy)
Now to the questions;
b. Working with various countries to prevent the influx of foreign fighters - from Russia, Europe, etc...
c. Full scale blockade, military and political intervention in the region - followed by a coherent long term policy regarding the future of Syria.
d. More could be done...but these are the main points.
"Full scale blockade, military and political intervention in the region - followed by a coherent long term policy regarding the future of Syria."
As I already stated, I see the current US support for non existent "rebels" as only a tool that cultivates the ground for the various Isalmists and Jihadist movements to grow upon and flourish - eventually it would lead to a much more dangerous situation for the ME and especially for my own country.
And I would prefer the US to do a full job/or not at all, instead of doing themselves, the ME, and the world a "favor" by doing a "half job" that would only worsen the situation on the ground.
Thank, you I will.
I'm subscribed to NRO so i don't mind reading Neo-con sites, and blogs.
In May 2013, SOHR stated that at least 41,000 of those killed during the conflict were Alawites.
Pro-government combatants Casualties
Syrian military and police.....24,617 killed
Shabiha and National Defense Force.....17,031 killed
Lebanese Hezbollah.....111–146 killed
The pro-government militia fatalities figure also includes: 1,000 civilian government officials, 117 members of the Iranian Basij, 30 members of the Palestinian PLA, 19 Palestinian PFLP–GC members at least [B]18 confirmed Iraqi Shia militiamen and one member of the Lebanese Amal Movement.
Except one death (August 2011), all of the Hezbollah fatalities have occurred since September 2012 and have been confirmed via Hezbollah sources or SOHR documentation.....snip~
Casualties of the Syrian civil war - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Also in regards to your other post of the Assad killing 2/3rds.....how is that when the Rebels have killed 41k of those Aligned with Assad. Which doesn't even Count the Rebels massacring Christians and lopping off heads of other Civilians for any that show support to Assad. Notice how they aren't reporting on all those Civilian deaths caused by and committed by the Rebels.
NP on just using those initials while giving props to ya.