By Jerry Curry, Major General, USA (Ret.)
Does the United States have a duty or moral obligation to intervene in wars like the one currently being fought in Syria? Yes, if the intervention results in a constructive, principled conclusion. Is such an outcome likely in Syria considering that Islam and Sharia Law are in direct conflict with natural law and morality, and since none of the warring factions are known for their virtue? A positive result is quite unlikely.
On one side of the power struggle stands Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his military forces. On the other side are arrayed bits and pieces of the Arab Brotherhood and Islamic fundamentalist Jihadist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, unaligned Muslim extremists and al Queda.
Assad maintains his grip on power by deviousness, terror, cruelty, applications of ruthless military force, and a promiscuous shedding of innocent blood. His opponents are competing opportunistic political extremists and religious fundamentalists.
Syria, like Egypt and Libya has, is a secular government whose legitimacy is deeply undermined by the tenants and practices of Islam. The Arab Brotherhood and its minions lurk in the shadows, biding their time, in hopes that events will swing their way and they will be able, by trickery and political manipulation, to capture control of Syria’s civil government, much as they are doing in this summer’s presidential election in Egypt.
With Assad out of power and the nation run by a mixture of Islamists, you would think it might usher in a time of calm and safety for the average Syrian. But Muslim governments, unlike those in the western world, have little concern for citizen safety, loss of life, and whether the dead and innocent are women or children. Middle-eastern countries have other domestic problems to deal with; occupants of the West Bank live in filth and endemic poverty, and countries like Egypt may run out of food before year’s end.
The entire Middle-East faces a grim dilemma; it has a choice between two evils, neither of which is lesser. They can submit to military style dictatorships as some have in the past; or live under Islamic autocracies anointed by evil Islamic forces which stoke sectarian violence, in hopes it will help them hijack vulnerable middle-eastern revolutions.
The United States faces equally grim and evil choices. Is military intervention in Syria in America’s best interest or should we idly stand by while Islamic opportunists dismantle and carry off the little fragments of liberty and freedom those unfortunate enough to live in the middle-east have been able to accumulate? Civil-political-military unrest is endemic there and war could break out anywhere, at any time, without notice, and spiral into a major calamity.
For years Syria has been a Russian client state and there is a continuing supply of arms to Assad’s forces coming from Russia. In hopes of disrupting growing U.S. influence in the middle-east, Syria has also become a client state of Iran, which pours arms into Syria. Russia could help bring peace and stability to the region, but won’t. It strongly opposes economic sanctions directed against Syria and the shutting down of Iran’s nuclear weapon’s development program.
Though the U.S., through the United Nations and the world community, continues its meaningless negotiations to stop Syria’s internal war, it may not be endlessly patient. At some point in future time it may be forced to directly and militarily confront the Syrians on the battlefield, and it may have to directly confront the Russians at the negotiating table.
What does Russia hope to gain by fomenting war and chaos in the middle-east, and by helping Iran to develop nuclear weapons? The overarching goals seem to be a general weakening of the U.S. and its influence in the middle-east; that Russia intends to continue causing as much trouble and tension in the world as possible; that it wants to encourage political unrest and stability everywhere it can in hopes that impromptu political protests will grow in frequency, size and violence. While the world’s attention is focused on these boiling cauldrons of Russian inspired agitations, Russia is free to dabble in all sorts of international intrigue and criminal thuggery.
As best it can be told, there is not a single Communist or Islamic nation that is pro-liberty or pro-freedom, liberty and freedom being the corner stones of democratic republicanism and national morality, of which the United States is the free world’s leader. Perhaps that is why Communist governments like Russia and China, and Islamic governments like Iran and Pakistan are so virulently anti-American.
The U.S. has neither a duty nor a moral obligation to go to Syria’s or any other middle-eastern country’s aid, unless there is a strong likelihood that the intervention will result in some kind of a principled outcome.
To be acceptable, the outcome cannot result in a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, or one of its ilk.