U.S. Grudgingly Intervenes in Syria

The United States will directly intervene in the ongoing Syrian civil war, but that doesn’t mean the Obama Administration is happy about it.

The U.S. confirmed on Thursday that the government of Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against rebel fighters. This crosses what President Barack Obama has called a “red line,” a point at which the U.S. must intervene.

The U.S. will arm rebels directly, and is considering imposing a no-fly zone on the Jordanian border, which would give rebels a safe haven in which to train and organize.

American involvement has been growing more likely in recent weeks, as Russia continues to arm the Assad regime, and as pro-Iranian fighters from Lebanon enter the country to fight on Assad’s side. Still, the U.S. government doesn’t sound particularly thrilled to be engaging in yet another military struggle in the Arab world.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that imposing a no-fly zone “would carry with it great and open-ended costs for the United States and the international community. It’s far more complex to undertake the type of effort, for instance, in Syria than it was in Libya.”

Unlike Libya, Syria is geographically situated at the crossroads of the Middle East. Bordering on Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, Syria is of significant strategic importance. With Lebanon still recovering from its brutal civil war, and Iraq still fighting a low-level civil war sparked by the American invasion of the country, the future stability of the country is of vital importance.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration has been hesitant to engage in the civil war. This is in no small part because the rebels have their share of terrorists and radicals among them. This was thrown into stark contrast when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., visiting with rebels to spur support for intervention, accidentally met with Mohammad Nour, who is part of a group that kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims in 2012.

Frankly, I appreciate that the Obama Administration is moving into Syria carefully and grudgingly. The United States is battle-weary. We fought two wars in the last decade, at least one of which was a tragic, pointless waste at best.

War should not be engaged in carelessly, nor welcomed eagerly. If Assad is using chemical weapons against his citizens, then Obama is right — that is not something the international community can condone. We cannot sit idly by while a leader uses weapons of mass destruction against his own people.

But that doesn’t mean we should celebrate our engagement, nor that we must rush in blindly. The United States is going to join France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming rebels. We may put together a no-fly zone. We’re not, however, going to send our troops in to go fight the evil-doing evil-doer. It may lack the panache of a splendid little war — but then, that’s exactly the point.

 

Image Source: DoumaRevolution/Flickr

212 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks.

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Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani3 years ago

Ros G. raised the following question a few days ago: "Heard tonight on Australian ABC news that the US has planned talks with the Taliban and are excluding the Afghanistan Government in a meeting in Qatar..talking to rebels over an elected Government???"

For the US this is "business as usual". They've done the same in Libya, Tunesia, Egypt to name just a few. While the Bush Administration was officially supporting Hosni Mubarak (the kicked out Egyptian President) the (banned) Muslimbrothers where photographed and videoed on several occasions entering the White House through a side entrance. The US is always "playing footsie" with the opposition as one never knows ... they might be the partner of tomorrow if the US feels they serve them and their interest better.

Knowing the Muslimbrothers a little bit ... they always sell out to the highest bidder. The "religion" is just decorum and a fig leave for those at the top in order to lure the gullible masses. Sad but true throughout hisstory and applicable to all religions and believes.

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Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

And who would YOU feel Sarah if China came in and took sides in our next civil war?? Picked sides so to speak. I am sure you would be speaking from the other side of your mouth.


Syria is none of our business.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

We should have done something 3 years ago! Then, they really were rebels...now they are terrorists. Now we are arming them so they can use them against us and our allies! This is the result of Obama's poor leadership, leading from behind which isn't leading at all!

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Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

It would be incredibly stupid to send troops there. But war-hawks like McCain may press for it very hard. How they can be for austerity and spending many millions of dollars at the same time is beyond me, Its hypocrisy.

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Robert O.
Robert O3 years ago

Thanks Jeff.

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Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

I didn't say we couldn't control them. I said they are negotiating with them. If it doesn't work it doesn't work. I am sure our soldiers would love to just come home.

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Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Ros, the elected government there can't control the Taliban.So I assume we are going directly to them to try to come up with a solution.

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Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle3 years ago

I must ammend what I just said. The UN did take measures in many of the genocides. The UN isn't the west but the UN security council is made up of mostly western first world nations. The US didn't help. But other nations did.

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Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle3 years ago

Talk about insanity. Russia is aiding Assad. The French and soon the US will be aiding the rebels. It's completely insane with the people of Syria the loosers. Why does Russia aid Assad, because most of the rebels are Muslim fundamentalists. So why is America and France helping the rebels? It's just like in Afghanistan in the 80s when we aided Muslim fundamentalists against Russia. The west is powerbroking over the bodies of the dead. This is nothing new. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again believing something different will happen, this time. All at the expense of humanity.
And you can't claim the west must act because lives are stake. That arguement is bankrupt before you even utter the first word. If lives meant something then why didn't the west do something about the genocides that number in the dozens of over the past 40 years? If lives meant something then why did the US invade Afghanistan and Iraq killing over 2 million people? To stop the fundamentalists from killing hundreds we killed millions? Assad, if he indeed use WMDs, is wrong, But how many more will die with western aid in Syria?

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