United States Secretary of Defense has a dilemma concerning supporting the Syrian rebels fighting to unseat President Bashir al-Assad and his oppressive Alawite regime; he is unsure where the secular forces are that he wishes to aid. Anybody familiar with the Middle East or who had paid attention to the various events unfolding in what was euphemistically referred to as the Arab Spring would have predicted the events to come in the Syrian civil war right from the start. Even Tunisia which likely had the easiest transition from their former oppressive leader to an elected oppressive leadership depicted the direction that every single Arab uprising was destined to travel. They would be initiated by secular libertine interests only to be replaced by populist Islamic rulers either from the Muslim Brotherhood or possibly aligned with al-Qaeda who would be just as oppressive and economically depressing as their former dictators. Egypt was the fortunate state as it has actually returned to its military rule which, though far from idyllic, is far more accommodating of a plurality culture than the Islamists who support oppressive and destructive intentions for all non-Muslim segments of their societies demanding a Dhimmi existence at best and eradication at worst. Syria simply lasted long enough in its revolutionary struggle for the Islamists to be required to actually fight for their preeminent positions because the secular revolt proved insufficient to oust a very tenacious Bashir al-Assad. Thus, in Syria the cat is out of the bag and it has become obvious even to those who most stubbornly desired to never see the reality, that the change which was to come in the Middle East from the more accurately described Arab Winter was a transition from nationalist oppressive dictatorships to Islamic oppressive dictatorships. So, now poor Secretary of Defense Hagel is left with aid to equip the secular resistance in Syria and nobody or place to ship it too where the Islamist forces would end up the recipients.
Exactly how did this dilemma come about? Initially the revolution in Syria consisted of the Free Syrian Army which was pluralistic and fighting for a secular western style governance in Syria just as the secular forces had risen up for freedom and liberty in Tunisia and Egypt and the rest. This was the high point for the secularists as they were at their peak strength with the largest forces they would muster in their efforts to overthrow Syria’s dictatorial government. Virtually everybody who was going to join their cause and fight for an open and inclusive society were enlisted and either they were going to win a quick and easy victory or die trying. Well, they did not win a quick victory but did begin to die trying and as they did their forces began to dwindle as there were no reserves from which to draw replacement troops. The Islamists, in this case Sunni in particular, realized that the secularists were going to be unable to win this revolution for them and were required to grab the opportunity offered them and try to unseat a wounded Assad or simply permit Assad to win and then unleash his revenge on a hapless nation. They chose to take their shot at removing Assad and replacing him the old fashion way, by sheer force. As time wound on it should have become painfully obvious to the Western interests who were backing the secularist Free Syrian Army that there would soon be nobody left to aid or at least such a small and ineffectual force as to be useless and in an impossible position caught between the Islamist forces and Assad’s Syrian military might.
So, what are the libertine forces from the Western nations to do facing this new reality of all this aid and nobody to receive it? The one suggestion we might wish for them to entertain would actually make for their gaining an advantage out of two less than promising difficulties. The one way that they can come out winners with an ally in place, at least for the time being as nothing is guaranteed to last eternally, would be to recognize the Kurdish forces in the area bordering Iraq and Syria and recognize a new liberated group who desperately want and most definitely deserve their own nation. The British had promised the Kurds their own nation which would have included a small section of eastern Turkey, areas of northeastern Syria and the northern third of Iraq but, as the British were want to do when redrawing the lines of the Middle East after World War I, they broke their promise just as they carved up three quarters of what was set aside for the Jewish State to form a Palestinian Arab state ruled by the Hashemite allies called Jordan, the British enlarged Iraq to include almost all of what would have been Kurdistan simply so the Getty family could exploit the northern Iraqi oil fields with the blessings of their friend whom they placed to rule Iraq in their interest. So, why not do the right thing for a huge change and set to rights an exploitive decision by the colonialist powers that used self-serving interests to guide them and paid service to their greed rather than doing that which they knew was right and promised and forgo some amount of profit. Here is your way out of this predicament and an honorable path as well, which is why nobody in Washington, London or Paris will ever think of setting promises kept even if at a later date.
Beyond the Cusp