An Appreciation of the Obama Administration’s Policy on Syria

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Though it is difficult to precisely state Mitt Romney’s policy on Syria, it appears from the recent Biden-Ryan debate that his current desire is to be more hawkish and directly arm the Syrian rebels. I must say here that Romney and Paul Ryan appear to be trying their best to hurt this country with such plans. This is no different from when they criticized President Obama’s policy on Libya. They claimed that it made this country appear to be ‘weak’ when Libya was, in fact, a great victory for Obama policies.

Let us clear up some illusions about what is happening in Syria.

The conflict is between Assad, the current president of Syria — who belongs to the minority Alwai community — and the rebels who are Sunni. It is said that Assad is a secular leader. This is a complete misrepresentation of the truth. Assad is secular for the same reasons as Saddam Hussein was secular in Iraq. It is because secularism is the only way people of the minority can hold on to power. They must eradicate religion from public life, for otherwise the majority will go against them. This does not make them secular. (I suspect that it is for the same reason that even Romney extolls the virtues of religious tolerance.)

However, this does not mean that we should arm the rebels or encourage them in any way. At the beginning of the rebellion it appeared that it was a secular front and a popular uprising. It is for this reason that the Obama administration sought ways to provide support to the rebels. However, the Obama administration rightly cooled when it became clear that the nature of rebellion was changing.

In recent months Syrian rebellion has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, an associate organization of Al-Qaeda. These rebels are not fighting for democracy; they are fighting for a state that runs accordingly to Sharia Law. There is no doubt that Syria will become a safe haven for Al-Qaeda if these rebels get into power.

So it does not make sense to help either side; neither rebels nor Assad will stop unless they butcher millions from the other side. For them more killed is the better.

It is beyond comprehension, at least for me, as to why Romney–Ryan want to help these rebels. What good is going to come out of this? We all know the results of arming Afghan Mujahedeen; the result was destruction of Afghanistan as soon the Russians left.

Whatever is happening in Syria is bad and must be deplored. However the USA does not have many options in Syria — so it makes complete sense the Obama administration is willing to interfere in Syria only if Assad begins to use chemical weapons. Then they would be crossing a red line and then, unfortunately, US will have to interfere. (Yes, unfortunately, because though the rebels are perhaps even worse than Assad, we certainly cannot stand by and watch genocide.)

Why does Romney-Ryan have this desire to act as cowboys and prove their manhood? Perhaps they should go and find some other ground where their chest-thumping will not harm US interests. I would ask that they please stay away from foreign policy, because they are seriously damaging the US interests on that front.


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