Why the United States Should Keep Hands Off Syria

Posted on 26 Feb 2012 at 2:59pm

Why the United States Should Keep Hands Off Syria

Once again the rumors have begun to slowly spill out of the shadows and into the news that the United States is planning on interdicting against Assad murdering his own countrymen in Syria. This time it was in the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper which quoted senior American official as having suggested an intervention based on the UN intervention in Kosovo. It was claimed that a safe zone would be established where civilians could flee the violence and wholesale slaughter being carried out against Homs and other cities within Syria. It was also suggested the area could be used as a base to mount operations against Assad’s forces and eventually remove Assad from power. It was also noted that in time NATO forces based in Turkey would join in the effort to beat back Assad’s troops and that the Red Cross was prepared to offer assistance to refugees in this scenario. Where this sounds all warm and fuzzy it does not answer the most important question: under what authority would the United States intervene in an internal civil war in a foreign nation without an invitation by any superceding authority such as the United Nations, the Arab League, or even the rebel forces from within Syria? It also does not answer the question of what would be gained by such action for furthering any interests of the United States or provide additional security or other advantage in the region as a whole.

Yes, the carnage and murders of innocent civilians due to heavy bombardment of residential areas of cities and towns as well as the shelling of the Palestinian refugee camps located in Syria by the Syrian military under the direction of President Assad is a catastrophe of significant magnitude. Sure the United States and NATO forces intervened in Libya where the attacks upon civilians were not as severe as such has become in Syria. One must keep in mind that the Libyan intervention was done under the auspices of the United Nations where the imposition of a No-Fly Zone and protection of civilians was unanimously approved by the Security Council in a vote of ten to none. No such authorization has been approved by the Security Council of the United Nations thus far and with both Russia and China persisting in opposing such a move, none is ever likely to be approved. An intervention in Syria by the United States would be a cold, calculated, unauthorized invasion of another United Nations independent country which is forbidden by the United Nations Charter and all relevant treaties to which the United States is a signatory. This would make any action completely illegal by the laws and Constitution of the United States and would qualify as an impeachable offense against President Obama should he proceed with such military action without either United Nations authorization or a declaration of war from the Congress. Then again, why should such trifles prevent President Obama from taking such actions as it has not prevented previous Presidents from committing similar illegal military adventures?

The main point of contention should be exactly what ends and interests of the United States would be served by such a military intervention. This alone should be, at a minimum, explained to Congress and at least the motions of informing the Congress, if not actually getting the approval of the Congress should be exercised. President Obama should present exactly what was to be gained by the military intervention of the United States military and he should present an exit strategy with set and measurable achievements set and presented before sending the finest of young Americans into harm’s way. But, in all honesty, I cannot figure any advantage or national security need which is threatened in any way by the Syrian civil war. Looking at how both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced no measurable gains after over ten years of fighting, and now there are those wanting to enter into Syria where there has been no invitation, have the leadership of the United States not learned anything or are they going to claim that this time it will be different as they know what they are doing. And exactly which side in Syria would present any gain in the interests of the United States that we should expend efforts to assure their ending up ruling Syria at the end of the fighting? Obviously Assad is not even remotely our friend and has been an ally of Iran and assisted Hezballah in their takeover of Lebanon. But are those on the other side any guarantee of being more of a friend to the United States? We need look no further than Egypt to find the answer to that question.

Those fighting against Syrian dictator Assad are from the Muslim Brotherhood, the same Muslim Brotherhood which won almost half of the seats in the new Egyptian Parliament and will choose the next President of Egypt. Have these forces along with their brothers from the even more extreme Salafists Party extended even the slightest of courtesies or offers of friendship to the United States or any of our allies? The sorry answer is they have actually warmed up to Iran exchanging ambassadors with Iran for the first time in over thirty years and allowed Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea. That is the payback we have received for siding with them against the very much less than perfect President Mubarak who was a dictator, but was the American’s dictator. The Muslim Brotherhood is in no way shape or form in the interests of America and will end up working against American interests in the Middle East. The United States lost and lost big with the changes which have come in Egypt. The United States fared no better, and you could make a case for worse, in Libya where NATO and American assets were employed to remove Muammar Gaddafi. Instead of one impotent and a little less than perfectly sane leader who was almost inert in Libya, the United States with NATO brought into Libya a soon to be exploding civil war as the different tribes and terror interests will fight each other for control of the oil wealth and the country.

Things are going to become a lot worse for the Libyan people before they get better, assuming it ever improves. So, now there are those who want the same disastrous results in Syria. When will the West learn to leave things alone in which their interests are not served by either side. In a lose-lose situation, the best action is not to act but instead to wash one’s hands of the whole affair and walk calmly away. At least that way the calamity and noise become softer until they fade to silence.