For those of you who, like me, are still trying to figure out which US strategic national interest was protected with the NATO actions in Libya hold that thought because it might be getting some company soon, wondering why NATO went into Syria.
Last March, the Arab League first condemned former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi‘s attacks on his own people, then asked the UN Security Council to impose a no fly zone. After days of intense negotiation, the United States and NATO complied, the action was announced and of course, our commander-in- chief went to South America within hours of committing our heroes to face enemy fire.
While US and NATO military personnel, planes (and US Dollars) have been trying to depose Gaddafi, another Middle East despot has been waging war against his own people, Syrian strongman-ophthalmologist, President Bashar Assad.
Earlier this month, the Arab League supposedly brokered a deal between Assad and the rebels but the second-generation tyrant ignored the terms of the deal. On Saturday the Arab League voted to give Syria four days to end its crackdown or its membership in the league would be suspended.
President Barack Obama praised the Arab League, highlighting what he called the group’s leadership in seeking to end attacks on peaceful protesters. “These significant steps expose the increasing diplomatic isolation of a regime that has systematically violated human rights and repressed peaceful protests,” he said in a statement.
Arab League diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, said that if Syria does not adhere to its demands, the organization will work to unify the disparate Syrian opposition into a coalition similar to that of Libya’s National Transitional Council.
A next step would be to recognize the opposition as the sole representative of the Syrian people in a move that would symbolically isolate Assad’s regime even further.
If all of this is beginning to sound familiar—it should. Syria is beginning to look a lot like Libya with the difference that they are not attacking its citizens from the air. So far NATO is saying there is no way they will get involved, but of course we have heard that before.
There is no strategic reason to go into Syria, there may be humanitarian issues but allow me to suggest that we allow the Arab League can handle this one on its own. The excuse with Libya was only thee US/NATO had the air power necessary for the operation, with Syria there is no flying going on so there is no need for a “no fly zone.”
This is more than just a the use of American people and weapons in a fight where we had no stake. Unlike Libya, this has a very real possibility of growing into a much larger war as Syria is a vassal state of Iran. Unlike the US, the Iranians have a “dog in this fight,” and they have criticized the move.
Iran described the Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria as unhelpful, saying that the bloc played into the hands of foreign countries at a time when President Bashar al-Assad’s reforms should be given a chance.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast stressed that the decision would complicate the crisis and would not help its solution.
He expressed surprise that the Arab League has adopted the decision exactly at a time when the western powers attempt to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs.
He stressed the need to create an appropriate environment to make the reform program led by President Bashar al-Assad a success, highlighting the importance of confronting the attempts of foreign interference in the region.
Tensions with Iran are already rising because of he recent report confirming the weapons objective of their nuclear program which the media portrays as threatening Israel. Truth is Israel, the little Satan, is only the appetizer, the real objective is damaging the Big Satan (that’s US). And don’t forget about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes that his purpose in life is to bring about the coming of the 12th Imam (a Muslim Messiah) through a world-wide conflagration.
Forgetting what its life was like at the hands of a tyrant, Iraq has protested the Arab League action, perhaps even at the request of Iran. A US lead NATO action in Syria may drive Iraq even closer toward the Iranian regime.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration put US military men and women in the line of fire, without congressional approval in a fight we had no strategic interest in. The fact the only thing we could have gotten out of the whole thing was finding out the real way to spell his name (via his tombstone), but even that opportunity was eliminated because he was buried in a secret location in the middle of the desert.
Although it is very early, the situation in Syria seem to be mimicking that of Libya. As history has shown that this President will start and continue a military action without going to Congress, it is crucial that we debate a possible action before US troops are volunteered to be put in harm’s way.
The question is do we really want to take our attention off our real beef with Iran their nukes, and get into a war with them over Syria? Is this the time we want to cross the Rubicon and enter into a war with Iran? We might have to one day, and that day may be soon, but I don’t believe we should back into it because we didn’t think through the consequences of attacking Syria. Personally, I think this time we should let the Arab League do its own dirty-work.