Well, as anticipated United States President Obama has acknowledged the use of chemical weapons by the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. Responding to the mounting avalanche of evidence presented by the British, French and Israelis, President Obama has declared there will be additional support provided the rebels in their efforts to dethrone al-Assad. Specifics were obvious in their absence but most believe that at a minimum the Americans will be supplying the rebels with arms including such items as small arms, ammunition, grenade launchers, and possibly also anti-tank rockets and even anti-aircraft missiles likely in the form of MANPADs (Man Portable Air Defense System). It is thus far unclear whether or not the rebels will also receive active allied air-support such as a No Fly Zone which would include destroying al-Assad’s air assets both on the ground and in the air while bombing the airports and runways making them unserviceable. President Obama has made it clear that he does not intend to place American troops on the ground in Syria. So, are we supposed to be all happy and throw down with al-Assad and up with the rebels’ parties? I think not and the reasons why will follow.
Supporting the rebels very early on in the Civil War would have been something which at least would have had a slim glimmer of hope of placing better governance in Syria as at least a sizeable plurality of the rebel forces at that time were supportive of secular rule. As the Civil War has progressed there have been large numbers of casualties on all sides. This meant that the numbers in each faction have taken a severe toll. This has been ameliorated by al-Assad by incorporating both Hezballah irregular forces and IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) troops from Iran. The Islamist rebel forces have been reinforced by a sizeable influx of Sunni Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and additional Mujahedeen from numerous other predominantly Sunni terrorist groups from numerous countries and organizations. The secular rebel forces have not had the luxury of a plentiful supply of new recruits and therefore seen their numbers impacted heavily by the fighting. This has led to the current situation where the two main groups vying for future control of Syria are the Sunni Islamists of Jabhat al Nusra who consist largely of al-Qaeda supporters against the Shiite Islamists who support either Bashir al-Assad and, should he be killed, the Ayatollahs of Iran. Even should the rebel forces prevail and defeat the Iranian Shiite forces, the fighting would not be finished. There would be a secondary struggle for full control between the secular rebel forces and the Sunni Islamist rebel forces. Such a fight promises to be extremely brief as the Islamists have near unlimited reinforcements resupplying their ranks while the secular rebels have no such pool of fighters from which to resupply their units suffering casualties. This has led to a weakened secular force while the Islamist forces remain relatively robust.
Now that President Obama has finally completed his many months of dithering, setting a Red Line and then sliding it one way then the other and is now prepared to aid the rebel forces, there is a serious consequence to his delaying the decision to send aid for over two years. It is a fact that the makeup of the rebel has drastically been shifted away from any possibility for a secular representative governance to result once al-Assad and Iran have been defeated, if that is even possible without placing United States and/or NATO forces on the ground. Judging from the manner that President Obama has committed to removing almost completely from Iraq and Afghanistan without regard for any consequences is a strong indicator, if not proof, that there will be no direct intervention. In the support of being candid and honest, the lack of the possibility for actual United States or NATO troops entering the Civil War in Syria is fortunate as that will prevent the intervention by the Russians who have warned there would be severe ramifications for any intervention by the West. The fact that the United States will be arming the rebels only serves to prolong the conflict as it will serve as a balance for the Russian weapons supplied to al-Assad and by implication to Hezballah and the IRGC. We can expect the Russians to at least consider moving up the delivery dates for the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems which they have claimed would not be delivered until early 2014.
The losers due to this decision by President Obama are the Syrian people. Those who have fled to neighboring countries will be forced to remain for a far more prolonged time in the refugee camps. The neighboring countries can expect even more refugees to be fleeing the Civil War as the battles are likely to increase in intensity making life within Syria even more impossible. As mentioned earlier in the article, the length of the conflict could easily be extended for an indeterminable time as now both sides have outside logistical support from major weapons and other necessities virtually without end. The other losers will be the secular rebel forces as their numbers will continue to decrease which will soon make their influence inconsequential which will leave only the Shiite-Sunni Islamists battling for control of what has become the pivot point in their historical battle for preeminence over Islam. This will be proven by history as one more time where President Obama arrived at a decision just in time for it to be too little too late, mostly too late. It has become evident that President Obama has no taste for foreign policy and that evident revulsion only grows if there is any potential requirement for him to commit to an action and gets even worse if the action is of a military nature. The most glaring and by far most consequential evidence of President Obama’s inability to act definitively in the face of a crisis which potentially requires a military response was the debacle of Benghazi and the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and former navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Beyond the Cusp
The one thing we can all agree is that we sure have sufficient scandals, deceptions, and lies coming from various agencies in the Administration as well as from Cabinet Secretaries. The list includes Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting conservative and pro-Israel organizations, FBI spying on media outlets and reporters, and the combined force of the Justice Department and the FBI charging a Fox reporter with treason in order to subpoena his and his parents’ emails and phone records. The good or bad news, depending on your political leanings, is that these investigations will result in partisan posturing and sniping but nothing more. There might be Impeachment charges but no conviction is possible. The only real positive is that as long as these investigations continue the Congress will be kept sufficiently busy thus having the side effect of preventing their proposing new legislations or doing other damages to our society. The main drawback is the news will be full of self-righteous politicians from both parties giving their slant on the hearings ad-nauseum. Both sides will accuse the other of blowing things out of proportion or obstructing the investigations. One side will claim the other side is exaggerating the seriousness and claim everything is old news and no longer of any real importance while the other side will talk in solemn tones attempting to portray everything in dire terms full of foreboding. Of all the questions and suspicions from all these presumably end of the world ending scandals there is only one I really wish to demand an answer for. That question is with who did the stand-down orders for the numerous units who were ready, and in two cases were boarding aircraft to transit to Benghazi, even while the firefight was still ongoing and our people were still screaming for backup informing whoever was monitoring that they had laser-painted the targets that threatened them. The person or people responsible for leaving our people out to die in Benghazi are even more reprehensible than those who were responsible for arranging for the security of the Consulate and other facilities, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Both sets of people should be held criminally responsible and face charges and if they are in the military they deserve a General Court Martial.
In the meantime, these hearings which have the total attention and taking up the time of the Congress will very possibly allow President Obama to take actions in Syria that have the potential to lead to a wider conflict. The visit by Senator McCain to the Rebels inside Syria as well as in Turkey was very similar to the lead up to the imposition of the No-Fly Zone being imposed over Libya. As we might remember, that No-Fly Zone escalated well beyond simply preventing Gadhafi from using his airpower and included bombing of his assets on the ground starting initially with targeting armor and eventually attacking the bases, especially those around the government headquarters in the Libyan Capital City of Tripoli. There were even reports of troops on the ground in Libya though most reports limited these to being British Special Forces. Taking such steps in Syria against Bashir al-Assad carries with them the potential for serious escalations as a response. There have been warnings from the Russians as well as the Iranians, both who have threatened severe consequences should the United States or NATO interfere in the Civil War ongoing in Syria. Whether Congress would take note of such an intervention being prepared with so much of their attentions focused so completely on the investigations leaves some doubts. Such an oversight could prove to be disastrous should President Obama choose to intervene in Syria. The fact that there are all these investigations being held by the Congress, the President might believe that by joining a European sponsored intervention in Syria where he could again claim to be leading from behind, that such a move would divert the attentions of the press and the people from the scandals. Such a move would be similar to the “Wag the Dog” scenario that many accused President George W. Bush of employing when he invaded Iraq. The major difference is that when President Bush invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein there were no threats from Russia or Iran such as President Obama has been given should he interfere in Syria. Where it is unlikely that Russia would respond using direct military force, they would very likely supply al-Assad with the S-300 antiaircraft missile systems earlier than currently scheduled. The S-300 missile system should not be taken lightly as it is one of the preeminent antiaircraft systems in the world today. Iran, on the other hand, would be very likely to take actual military steps in responding to any United States or European intervention in Syria. Such actions that Iran might take would include options of attacking United States assets remaining in Iraq, the United States fleet in the Persian Gulf, missile attacks on Israel, and terrorist attacks on American, European and Israeli targets worldwide. Any of these responses could easily result in a broader conflict which then might spiral completely out of control and ending who knows where. The Middle East currently resembles the driest tinderbox of recent memory and is just waiting for the right spark which would result in an all-encompassing conflagration. That is a threat which would be best untested.
Beyond the Cusp
When the subject of anti-Semitism is discussed many areas in the world are more likely to be included before anybody would even think of including the United States as a place of major concern. The most often chosen discussed areas where there is growing anti-Semitism are the Muslim Middle East and North Africa and Europe. The Muslim anti-Semitism is often claimed to be driven mostly over Israel and the Palestinian statehood issue. This is not the entire truth and more than likely being chosen as the reason behind anti-Semitism is done so as not to need to address the historic anti-Semitism which has risen periodically throughout Muslim lands since the inception of Islam in Mecca and especially Medina. Another misrepresentation has been the claim that after the Holocaust and the end of World War II that anti-Semitism had disappeared from Europe and the West. The truth is that anti-Semitism had simply retreated beneath the societal radar and had become unacceptable which only served to put it in apparent remission but did not cure these peoples of the disease called anti-Semitism. The proof of this having been the case is the rapid growth of the national socialist political parties which have adopted much of the original Nazi racial puritan ethic which has a definitive anti-Semitic strain driving the movement. This has been most evident in those countries which are experiencing economic difficulties or other stressful pressures on their social fabric. Still, much of the public try and dismiss these political groups as passing blips on the political spectrum and simply if ignored they will pass away before they cause any real harm. If my memory serves me, that was exactly the thoughts of polite European society about the rise of the national socialists in Germany and elsewhere prior to their rise to power in Nazi Germany, and the rest is, as they say, history.
North America and the United States in particular are considered to be paragons of acceptance where anti-Semitism is something which has been relegated to a miniscule minority whose numbers are so minute as not to be any actual concern. If this were only true. What masks much of the anti-Semitism is that it exists in the form of either anti-Israel or anti-Zionist political movements. The claim that virulent anti-Israel and anti-Zionist adherents are protesting only Israel and do not necessarily have any hatred towards Jews is more often a false premise than truth. This article is not intended to argue this point but rather to address the rise of anti-Semitism within North America and particularly within the United States. Where in the general society there is not much evident anti-Semitism in any of its incarnations; but in the arenas from which our future leadership is being molded and educated, the elite colleges and universities, the growth of anti-Semitism is extremely troubling. The initial foot in the door has been the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and pro-Palestinian movements and in particular the BDS Movement which demands Universities and whomever else they can persuade to fight Israel through Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions. The one item which these groups will stress and go to great lengths to emphasize are that under no circumstance are they or do they condone in any form anti-Semitism. To quote Macbeth, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
The truth is in their actions and we need to judge these people by their actions and not simply listen to their words. On many campuses there exist different main events behind those utilizing the political difficulties concerning Israel in order to promote their masked anti-Semitism. These are BDS Protests and Palestinian Solidarity Weeks or Months. These events are often accompanied by general measures taken presumably to demonstrate the “sins” of the State of Israel. One such is to present eviction notices to certain students that they are to leave their dorm room within the next few hours as they are scheduled to be destroyed. This is done implying that Israel simply randomly destroys Palestinian homes for absolutely no reason other than just because they are Palestinian owned homes. The students whose doors receive the fake eviction notices are known Jewish students, Hillel members, and those known to support Israel. Another event is to place checkpoints around the campus where any students wearing Star of David jewelry, Yarmulkes, or other ways are known to be Jews are stopped and treated roughly and demeaned simply because they are Jews and presumed to support Israel. The truth is they seldom give such treatment to Christian or other supporters of Israel. Then there are the Walls of Shame where they place a wall that supposedly represents the anti-terror fence which in urban areas or areas where snipers have targeted Israeli homes and vehicles they erect actual walls but the vast majority of the barrier uses fencing. Often this wall is covered with the names of Palestinians who have been arrested by Israel on terrorist charges, also the names of terrorists Israel has killed in the commission of acts of terror and even the names of those who died in suicide bombings for which they blame Israel. As these demonstrations have grown in size and numbers there has come with them a general atmosphere on numerous campuses where all things Israel are condemned and anybody who supports Israel is scorned and many professors are known to grade these students harshly with some even being failed. Some campuses the atmosphere has grown so toxic that Jewish students have taken to hiding the fact that they are Jewish and those who have not taken such precautions are physically attacked. The situation has reached such epidemic proportions that there are currently lawsuits filed against Universities for not providing a safe and secure educational environment and not protecting students from religious persecutions in Federal Courts under civil rights laws.
But the problems of today will pale in comparison to what is likely to be coming in the near future. Directly resulting from the poisoned educational environment which casts Israel directly and Jews by inference as evil and undesirable entities and such premises tainting administrations especially in the social sciences will produce a core of future leaders tainted to varying extents as a result. The percentage does not need to be as significant as many would like to believe to do immense damage. The reality is that should the current trends continue to grow at the same rate as they have been growing in recent history, the problem will soon become a major influencing factor in our advanced educational systems. Studying such occurrences throughout history produces a very troubling picture where what begins as a small movement within the elite educational society will rapidly gain adherents and reach a societal movement often as quickly as a decade and more readily within three decades. The anti-Israel and anti-Zionist movement infecting the elite educational societies in the United States and in Canada are already closing in on their first decade and have grown significantly to the point that even some traditionally Jewish colleges and universities have supported BDS protests and Palestinian solidarity protests. One of the hotbeds of these movements has been the California College System, one of the largest university and college systems in the United States. The one factor which guarantees that these events and support structures driving them will remain well funded and will have all the resources they require is the simple fact that Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and other Muslim organizations will continue to supply monetary support. This support has been most evident when one researches the Middle East Departments of almost every American major university where Arabists hold most of the positions of power and influence. Where much of this problem has remained largely out of sight and is not covered in any depth in the mainstream media, the ramifications and ramifications of this situation will produce its foul and rotten fruit which will unfortunately become evident and recognized likely far too late to avoid the worst results even I might predict. This coming from one who is often dismissed as a pessimist but too often prove out in time to have been a realist.
Beyond the Cusp