Do anything about Syria?

Although I’m not sure what, but I think something should be done to help the rebels. Every time I see images of a government attack, babies and small children are always included. And of course the most recent attack is no different.

Now I’m not gung-ho about this. I realize that aiding the rebels could make things worse. Looking back at Iraq, getting rid of Saddam allowed sectarian violence to boil over. Also, we had foreign fighters entering the country, so we had Sunnis, Shiites, US and allied forces, and fighters from other mid-east countries all fighting each other causing a very high casualty rate. There’s also the question of who takes over and will they be better or worse than Assad.

But despite the concerns I think Assad’s regime needs to come to an end, and I’m not sure if the rebels can do it alone.

Assad has no intention of bringing reform or stop using violence to suppress his people and the ceasefire isn’t working.

Direct military action would be very difficult, and for a variety of reasons is not the best solution, but I have no problem helping to arm the rebels.

Well, you see, we have done that too often then ended up with the arms being used against us. And, since they hate us pretty badly there, that isn’t unlikely. Or they’d use them vs the Israelis and say what you will, they are a loyal ally.

My prediction is that this whole “Arab Spring” just makes more radical Moslem extremist governments, and won’t help democracy at all, in fact things will be worse. True, Egypt was pretty damn corrupt, but there were vestiges of democracy and quite a bit of personal freedom, as long as you didn’t screw with the ruling family. All those will be gone soon, it will be just another Iran.

If/when Syrian rebels win, there will be a wholesale slaughter/cleansing of Alawites. Including babies and small children. That’s about 2 million people.

And no, I am not a fan of Assad.

No, I understand. And sectarian and ethnic violence is a huge concern of mine too. Which is why if and when the rebels win then some country or countries should be ready to step in to keep it from happening.

Well, it’s politically problematic. Obama is still catching shit here and there, at least on the Intertubes, for intervening in the Libyan Civil War, even though American participation was very limited, and no Americans died, and the outcome was exactly what most Americans following the story appeared to desire. And Syria’s government is a much tougher nut to crack – boots-on-the-ground almost certainly would be necessary to tip the balance. And, well, the social, political and ethnic situation in Syria being a whole lot more complex than in Libya, it’s hard to see how this can end well anyway. Even as well as in Libya, and we still can’t be entirely sure how that’s going to turn out.

I was wondering if we in the west could tip a wink to Turkey and Jordan, so as to say “y’know, if you two were to, like, wander in to Syria on a humanitarian mission, or under the guise of hot pursuit, we could see our way clear to a few favours falling your way in the future”. I imagine the Syrian army, while relatively formidable, seems a little busy right now to be defending the borders properly.

The idea being that if it were fellow Muslims doing it, we may not end up with an Iraq or Libya situation. Turkey sure wouldn’t mind toppling a lackey of their hated rivals Iran.

Also, we’re always looking out for Israel, and is it even clear which side the Israelis want to win in Syria? Assad is the Devil they know. They’re probably still worried about developments in post-Mubarak Egypt.

“He slaughters his own people, but we know him,” sounds about as good a reason for keeping him as, “We don’t want to lose our political influence and economic interests in Syria.”

Edit: Syria getting aggressive towards Israel is a valid concern, but in my opinion no enough to justify Assad staying in power.

This whole thing tears me up because we all know how it is going to play out. Assad’s time is running out one way or another, he’s lost his chance to have a “happily ever after” ending. So now it’s just a matter of how many people suffer and get killed before Syria does whatever it has to do to find its destiny. I don’t see any way out of the atrocities beyond the unlikely scenario of the bastard putting a stop on things, conceding defeat, and pleading with the international community to take over administration and security in Syria until a transitional government can be formed.

Of course, that won’t happen. But the outcome will still eventually be the same. Frankly, I think we are seeing our generations Rwanda and Bosnia- just another time to look back and utter “never again” sadly. The international community has learned next to nothing when it comes to preventing with pointless atrocity that we’d rather not have to deal with.

You do know how radical Islam got so much traction, right? Do you remember what the forces were behind the Iranian revolution?

Nonsense. That ain’t the Muslim Brotherhood. You’re thinking of al-Nour.

But are we sure the Turks or the Jordanians or both together could do it? Assad’s army is still pretty formidable. And won’t have any second thoughts about fighing foreign invaders the way some have had second thoughts about fighting Syrians.

So? Can you think of any foreign-intervention scenario that can prevent ethnic violence/cleansing in Syria, like what happened in Iraq as soon as the authoritarian lid was torn off?

A lot of the revolution was made by secular democrats, leftists, Communists, anybody who was ready for anything-but-the-Shah, and they didn’t fully appreciate that the radical Islamists were popular enough on the ground to take it over, or that what would in Euro countries would be called the Church was the only organization outside the state capable of filling the power-vacuum. Of course, U.S. and British intervention back in 1953 was what set the situation up in the first place.

The US and other Powers having some sort of a role in backing the Syrian people might actually reduce the likelihood of sectarian slaughter if Assad falls-after all if Assad falls far later and more bloodily without international help, they could very well say “Screw you, UN! You didn’t do anything to help us!” if the UN tries to stop persecution of Alawites and other groups.

I’m not an expert, but it looks to me, based on the Wikipedia info, that Turkey and Syria are relatively equal in tanks and artillery. However, the Syrian army has 220,000 active personnel vs. 717,000 for the Turkish army.

Yes, but the defender always has a certain homeground advantage against the invader.

That is utter bullshit.

Have you ever been to the Middle East?

Anyone who thinks Egypt will become “just another Iran” knows nothing about either country.

Beyond that, what “ruling family” are you referring to?

The US is pretty much impotent on this issue.

It’s a shame but the standard of debate on this board is lower now than at any time in the ten years or so I’ve known it.

How so?

And even if they can do it, is it going to do any good for anyone? We’d still end up with a hostile Syria, as I doubt we could do that without it coming out. And from an ethical & human rights perspective, such a war is likely to harm the people of Syria more than Assad is (and isn’t especially likely to replace him with anyone better). We’re entirely too fond of destroying the village in order to save it.