A Few Friday Syria Links

Update:  Obama’s decided the U.S. should take military action in Syria, and will seek Congressional approval.

Adam Garfinkle at the American Interest: ‘Painted Into A Corner, Obama Ponders Cosmetic Strikes:’

‘If the Obama Administration really sees a need to degrade and deter the Syrian regime, if it’s not just mumbling speechwriter-quality bullshit for press consumption, it’s got to order up some really serious violence to bend the will of those who are consummate connoisseurs of it. If it’s not prepared to do that, and to risk the consequences that entails, it should shut up and stand down.’

These guys are ready to fight.

From a Ryan Crocker interview at Defense One:

“I was ambassador there for three years during the time when the old man [Hafez al Assad] died, Bashar took over. They have been getting ready for this type of thing for three decades, ever since the Hama massacre in February ’82,” Crocker said. He was in neighboring Lebanon during the massacre.

“They finished off the Muslim Brothers, maybe 100 of them and they killed up to 10,000-15,000 innocent city civilians in the process. It was pretty horrific,” he recalled. “So, they’ve known that the day of vengeance might come and they’re ready for it. They’ve built a security apparatus, an intelligence apparatus, a military just to be ready for what they’re facing now.  And they know they’re in a fight for their lives so they’re going to stick together and I’d say they have a better than even chance of prevailing.”

Many years ago, now, Charles Hill to some extent, and Fouad Ajami more so, argued for some action in Syria, as part of a larger strategic vision, a bolder, Trumanesque step that would define a new age of American influence (addition: or at least maintain our influence.  We are signaling to the world that we are no longer leading and pursuing our interests, supporting freedom as we understand and want to see it, and we probably won’t like the world we’ll see).  Agree or disagree, they’ve got some things right:


A quote from Hill’s forward to Ajami’s new book on Syria as discussed in the video:

“[The] greatest strategic challenge of the twenty-first century is involves “reversing Islamic radicalism”‘

What is our mission here?  What is the larger strategy?

Related On This Site: …From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’James Kirchik At The American Interest: 

Michael Totten’s piece that revisits a Robert Kaplan piece from 1993, which is prescient:  “A Writhing Ghost Of A Would-Be Nation”.  It was always a patchwork of minority tribes, remnants of the Ottoman Empire

I just received a copy of Totten’s book, Where The West Ends, and it’s good reading.

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

Liberal Internationalism is hobbling us, and the safety of even the liberal internationalist doctrine if America doesn’t lead…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

2 thoughts on “A Few Friday Syria Links

  1. The conflict in Syria is about as complex as it can be, with a multitude of national and international players all pursuing their own specific goals. Thus, any American intervention or action calls for careful deliberation of what the actual goal/strategy is, and possible outcome in terms of retaliation by Syria and/or its allies. I wrote a brief piece on this yesterday, although the possible ramifications are of course not easily framed in a short analysis.

    I suppose we will all have to hold our breaths and await the result…


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