To Syria or Bust -- the U.S. (Nobel Peace Prize) President Gets Ready to Pounce


Britain's Parliament Votes No and Cameron Says Britain is Out on U.S.-led Strike on Syria

I have a proposed alternative to attacking Syria that I think could get UN Security Council approval:  the verified destruction of Syrian chemical stockpiles (Russia and China would lead this effort with NATO representatives involved)

Voice of the Martyr's Reports that the Free Syrian Army Is Part of the Increase in Attacks Against Christians in Syria
-- keep in mind, this is the group being supported (also here) and trumpeted as the good guys in Syria (note the concerns expressed in that last link about arms going with defectors to the Islamists)

Original blog post:
Let's set the stage for this discussion, if there is to be one that is.  Syria's Assad is definitely not a good guy.  He is a dictator who is determined to hold on to power whatever it costs.  If it means shelling mosques, historic cities and their civilian populations, including children, it doesn't matter to him.  Help has been sought, or at least accepted, by Iran and Hezbollah.  Now weapons of mass destruction are being used against innocents as the rebels close in on the prize: Damascus.  

However, there are plenty of bad guys on the rebel side too. Al-Qaida has a part in this fight.  Islamic jihadists from throughout the Middle East have poured in. And they are effective and by all accounts deadly, even to their fellow rebels. The United States and its allies have latched themselves on to a force from within the rebel movement that are supposed to be the good guys.  Perhaps they are but they don't seem to have the upper hand.  

Indeed, whatever future Syria has appears to be bad.  If Assad survives, his dictatorship will too and by some observations, he will owe much to Hezbollah and Iran and thus be more of a puppet than puppet-master. Some even foresee a sliver of Syria under control of Assad and the rest divided by other groups, including the jihadists.  Even if the rebels win, so many Islamic radicals are a part of the alternative that it will either lead to war among the victors or the stronger will prevail and at this point that is definitely not the U.S. supported "good guys."     

President Obama, David Cameron of Great Britain, Hollande of France and the Sunni powers of the Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar) are determined to teach Assad a lesson and thus send a message to anyone seeking to use weapons of mass destruction (in other words, watch out Iran).  But to be blunt, I think the Sunni powers are more interested in the defeat of the Shiites and their allies (i.e. Syria's Assad, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran) then they are in preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction by other actors.  And the great powers of the world are about to get sucked into their war for their benefit, not ours.  

So, you may ask, what do we do?  Just allow Assad to gas his own people whenever he wants?  I think the answer is no.  We tighten the screws where we can but this fight has no good guys.  If Israel decides it is in its interests to destroy these chemical stockpiles, then so be it.  However, for the West, we must keep in mind that Syria is a front in a growing war between Iranian led Shiites and the Sunnis of the Middle East.  That is a conflict we want no parts of.  

What we can do is to help the refugees by supplying the camps that are developing in neighboring countries.  In addition, we can let the war go on and let it end however it is going to end and then deal with the new power or the resurrected Assad regime.  As harsh as that may sound, this choice would be much easier if there were a good side but there isn't.  Another alternative to strikes would be to grant asylum to many Syrian Christians who are fleeing a conflict in which they are a major target, especially directed at them from the rebel side (see what I mean by there are no good guys?). 

If you check out the many stories that are arising over Syria, you will find the following:  

Secretary of State John Kerry's argument that Syria did indeed use chemical weapons to attack civilians

- it's a powerful argument but it doesn't answer why the U.S. and its allies should attack Syria in response, whether to tilt the fight decidedly toward the rebels or to slap Assad's hand.  

Sunni Arabs want the US to intervene in a big way in Syria
-- note that the Shiite government of Iraq and Lebanon are in disagreement

Iran has threatened consequences for Israel if the US does intervene

Israel has promised a harsh response if Syria attacks  (and here also)

Obama and Canadian PM agree that Syrian chemical weapon use merits firm response

France’s Hollande ready to punish Syria

Russia Evacuates Citizens  (a clear indication in my mind that the West has made up its mind and the Russians either know it instinctively or they were given the courtesy of advance notice)

Syrian opposition told attack could come in days and to prepare for peace talks in Geneva and transition. Also preparing for regime collapse

“They expect the strike to be strong enough to force Assad to go to Geneva and accept a transitional government with full authority," a Syrian opposition figure said.

"The Friends of Syria core group comprises the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar."  (watch these nations in the news and events in the coming days or weeks)

The administration is planning to release an intelligence report by the end of the week that will detail the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus

Three Days of Strikes - as Early as Thursday

If I would put the pieces together, I would say that President Obama and his allies have already decided:

1) that Syria has used WMD on its own people
2) that they will make the case through the intelligence release at the end of the week and at the UN
3) they expect the UN Security Council to fail to green light the attacks (because of China and Russia)
4) they will assemble a coalition of the willing from the U.S., Great Britain, France and perhaps Saudi Arabia and a Gulf State or two and justify the attack
5) the attack will occur soon but not in a few days
6) they will have to make a decision as to whether they want to cripple the regime ahead of peace talks in Geneva or just slap Assad on the wrist hard, causing pain and a fairly significant loss but not crippling in its fight against the rebels. 

(perhaps number 6 has occurred and they have signaled their determination to virtually annihilate Assad's ability to wage war against the rebels, making him want to negotiate peace)

Pray with me that God will grant wisdom in whatever is the right decision.  I don't like this apparent decision and I think it will only further mess things up.  

I know the U.S. president will link this to WMD traveling across borders and endangering us all but Assad hasn't done that (he's gassed his own people in a limited, albeit heartless, way).  In fact, attacking Assad may actually encourage him to attempt to send such arms across borders for eventual use against the West and/or its interests.  The best way to avoid that may be to stand down and to stay out of the conflict.

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