Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why The Syrian Rebels Are Wrong

The Syrian civil war has been raging for so long that nobody remembers why the rebels are wrong.

The rebels are wrong of course because this war started, not because the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was overzealous in repressing protesters, but because Assad was overzealous in repressing terrorists.

Today it is admitted by the United States that a significant portion of the Syrian rebels now fighting Assad belong to Jabhat al-Nusra, an organization that has close ties to al-Qaeda and is classified by the US and the UN as a terrorist organization.

However back in 2011, when the Assad regime was complaining that amid the protests terrorists were attacking the government, the United States said that wasn't true. Even with Russia's President, at the time, Dmitry Medvedev saying there were terrorists in Syria, the United States with implausible certainty said no, and that Assad was making the whole thing up.

In Sept 2011 the Associated Press reported that "The U.S. Embassy in Syria said President Bashar Assad is not fooling anyone by blaming terrorists and thugs for the unrest in his country". With hundreds of government security forces being killed, the US maintained terrorists were not responsible.

Even at that time though, with extremists having killed over 400 Syrian guards, Assad's response, which ballooned the then existing death toll to 2,200, was obviously not justified and it certainly was inexcusable.

But knowing why Assad violently reacted in 2011 does provide necessary reference for how the Syrian civil war began, and provides necessary consideration for how the war should end.

The Syrian government's intention was not to repress protest, it was to stop terrorists. And as such western countries and the world should not act like Assad is an ardent enemy of freedom, they should act like Assad is a man who went too far in attacking terrorists.

Western intervention could be justified if President Assad's sole intention was to gravely assault his people, but it wasn't. Assad's goal was to stop terrorism in his country, he just acted completely disproportionately in his blind pursuit of it.

In determining what to do with Assad, the United States of all countries should reflect on this, with perhaps some consideration of the irony that they are the ones who get to judge.


The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Scott, yours is one interpretation of these events but it's also one that ignores facts. The Syrian government, backed by the country's Alawites and Druze Muslims (16%) and the Christian minority (10%) have, for decades, brutally controlled the country's Sunni Muslim majority (74%).

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, Scott, and when a solid majority is brutally repressed to the point of uprising, they're freedom fighters, not terrorists. Admittedly, the West's delay in coming to their aid allowed Sunni-based terrorists groups, such as al Qaeda, to join in, but to dimiss the rebels all as terrorists is more than sophomoric, it's plain wrong.

Your preferred solution is that Bashar al-Assad's Alawite and Druze minority should continue to dominate and deny sovereign control to the 74% Sunni majority. With some 90,000 plus dead, most of them Sunni, do you think that's going to work?

The Assad government has not hesitated to bring artillery, air strikes and, it's now confirmed, chemical WMDs onto Sunni civilian towns and cities. If you're looking for wrongdoing, Scott, that's about all you need to know. said...

Mound, I never ignored any facts, I never said Assad wasn't repressive, in fact I made it clear his actions were inexcusable.

As for your other false description of my post, I never once claimed all rebels were terrorists, I said, "a significant portion of the Syrian rebels now fighting Assad belong to Jabhat al-Nusra, an organization that has close ties to al-Qaeda."

Your claim that it was the West's delay that allowed terrorists into Syria is false. It was widely acknowledged by news agencies terrorists were active in Syria from the beginning of the protests in 2011.

Your use of the term "confirmed, chemical WMDs" is perhaps the clearest example of your tendency to exaggerate. First this was only confirmed by a nation that has a horrible track record in pursuing WMDs, not to mention the fact the UN says there is no evidence suggesting chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government.

Second, chemical weapons that kill a total of 150 people (Odd how a good portion of whom were Syrian soldiers) can hardly be considered weapons of mass destruction, and as far as I know you're breaking international news by being the first to call them that.

Before the civil war broke out Assad was making concessions, he had lifted martial law and had introduced reforms. There was little violence and little brutality, far less than what existed and still exists in many other US-allied countries in the region.

A Syria ruled by Assad would be much more stable and much less violent than one ruled by a fractious coalition that is far from united and relies on the militant strength of terrorists.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, you should really stay a bit better informed. It wasn't the Americans who first confirmed the Syrian chemical WMDs. That was done weeks earlier by the French, followed by others. The U.S. was remarkably late in getting around to it.

There are other sources of information, Scott, than news services. They're really not hard to find.

And, when exactly did the U.N. pronounce there was no evidence suggesting chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government? Have you read any of the recent UN assessments? said...

Mound, you've entered troll territory.

From the Washington Post, yesterday:

"Obama administration claims that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels encountered skepticism Friday at the United Nations, where the U.N. secretary general and the Russian ambassador said the evidence falls short of definitive proof."