Beyond the Cusp

June 23, 2013

The Positive Side to Syria

Everyone around President Obama, the Pentagon, State Department and anywhere else that the news of the horrors taking place in Syria and the neighboring nations has reached are seeking desperately to find anything positive, anything the slightest bit positive. The main root of the difficulty is that any hope of something positive that might be salvaged from the Syrian Civil War disappeared once it ceased being solely a Syrian conflict and became a regional conflict which threatens to spread and engulf the entire Middle East. Since the Syrian Civil War morphed into a greater struggle for preeminence of the Muslim World between the Shiites and Sunnis, there has raised growing demonstrations throughout Turkey demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Erdogan. These are not the typical demonstrations that have been witnessed in the past where the Kurds were demanding human rights and independence. These demonstrators are mostly Shiites and there have been reports that they are receiving instructions, encouragement and possibly support from the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), very possibly specialists from the Quds Force, a special unit of Iran’s Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. These potentially riotous demonstrations are a problem which the Turkish government does not need, especially on top of the influx of thousands upon thousands of refugees fleeing the carnage and their destroyed homes and lives in Syria.


Jordan has also taken in a great number of Syrian refugees sufficient to virtually exhaust their ability to provide adequate care for these unfortunate victims. There is some hope in Jordan as the United States has deployed F-16s, Patriot Missile Batteries and the Headquarters Unit of the 1st Armored Division along with combat and armor units sufficient for large scale exercises. There have also been rumors that much of the military hardware will remain in Jordan for presumably as long as the situation demands. On another front, reports have surfaced that there are Iranian military trainers working with Shiites in Yemen looking to establish a foothold in the peninsula by attacking the weakest link. Should Iran have sufficient success in establishing a base of operations within the war-torn nation of Yemen they would have placed a second front to the south of Saudi Arabia and be able to exert control over the southern mouth of the Red Sea much as they threaten the shipping lanes through the Straits of Hormuz.


It does appear that Iran is working to expand their circle of influence and not just defend their client state of Syria. With IRGC troops along with Hezballah supplementing the Syrian military all being backed up by the Russians, the future does not look too promising for the rebels. Of course the fact that President Obama has approved sending actual military aid, though he has limited the aid to small arms and ammunition, is supposed to tilt the balance of the fighting in their favor but is actually too little, too late. In President Obama’s defense, he has apparently authorized the Saudis to supply the Rebels with anti-tank weapons. The rebels have some crew-served weapons systems which they have liberated from Syrian military bases they captured. The rebels’ main concern, protection from air attacks, is still unaddressed. Despite this obvious inadequacy and the demands from numerous sources for the imposition of a no fly zone, President Obama is want to make such a move after the warnings from Russian President Putin. The possibility of President Obama getting further involved in Syria remains highly unlikely largely due to the threat of a Russian response waiting in the wings. In one way President Obama’s reluctance to act more definitively in Syria might turn out to be a positive as the Syrian conflict has only escalated since its inception and at some point one side will need to refuse to raise the ante before it truly escalates well beyond the Syrian border. But this can only happen should some path be found and be supported by President Putin to contain the Syrian violence, otherwise the war could spill over the borders into Turkey, Jordan or Israel. The main aim which Presidents Obama and Putin should be working towards instead of exchanging threats over Syria is finding a solution that will end the carnage before it escalates further. The question that remains is can two egocentric mutually suspicious world leaders place their distrusts and egos aside long enough to actually accomplish a peace which would not serve to either President’s immediate benefit and would require them to put their history aside. While thinking of any cooperative effort by Presidents Obama and Putin simply does not fill one with confidence, the real problem is such an effort is the sole potential positive in the entire Syrian conflagration.


Beyond the Cusp


June 5, 2012

Is Assad’s Claim of Terrorists Killing Civilians in Syria True?

There has been much coverage of Syrian President Assad making claims that there are terrorists operating within Syria and that they are the ones responsible for most of the tragedies he has been accused of committing. He came out and specifically blamed the same terrorist entities for the massacre of over one-hundred innocent civilians in the country’s Houla region where thirty-four women and forty-nine children were among the dead. His claim that those committing this horrid crime were eight-hundred rebel fighters as the perpetrators has been found to be incredulous. What is to be made of these claims by President Bashir Assad that he is innocent and has been fighting against a terrorist influence in Syria?

Well, part of his claims are correct, it is just which side is employing the terrorists which he has backwards. Reports have claimed that as well as the regular Syrian Army troops who are fighting against the civilian and opposition forces there are also forces supplied by Hezballah and from the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) assisting with some of the less reputable actions taken to instill fear and terror in the hearts of those opposing Assad. The groups supplied by Hezballah are of course terrorists as Hezballah is a terror organizations and the IRGC are mercenary style troops who are responsible for directing the Iranian foreign terror assets around the world. But this is not the end of the terror units operating against the people under Assad.

Where Assad could claim that he is not in direct control of the Hezballah and IRGC units and that they are operating independently, this is not true of the last, and likely most feared, of the terror operatives taking part in this civil war, and trust me, it has crossed the line into a civil war long ago. The United Nations report concerning the Houla massacre last week pointed fingers at the Assad government controlled Shabiha Units. These Shabiha Units are nothing more than President Assad’s version of the IRGC with one important difference, where the IRGC is predominantly responsible for terrorist acts outside Iran, the Shabiha Units operate within Syria at Assad’s orders to spread terror and keep check on any who might choose to harbor subversive tendencies towards the Alawite ruling elite. So, while President Bashir Assad is completely accurate in claiming that there are terrorists at work inside Syria, he is less than forthcoming as to on which side the vast majority of the terrorists and terror acts can be attributed. Bashir Assad is the Syrian terror master who pulls their strings and gives them their marching orders. His claim of fighting against the terrorist factions within Syria should be translated to mean he is responsible for the terrorist factions fighting against Syria. Much the same words with a world of difference in meaning, something many petty despots are guilty of implementing when attempting to lie their way out of a bad position they have placed themselves in. The simple conclusion is that once the world is rid of Bashir Assad in Syria, then Syria will be rid of its main terror problems as the two are tightly bound together against the Syrian people.

The question as to will things be any better once Assad and his Alawite cohorts are gone is somewhat more difficult. Judging from the rest of the uprisings taking place as part of the Arab Winter, the guess is probably not. The rebel forces in Syria resemble closely the rebel forces that won in Libya, many different factions and tribes working somewhat in concert for a common cause. I would expect that in Syria, as in Libya, once Assad is dispatched these groups will turn on each other until one proves strongest and we will witness the beginning of the replacement to Alawite rule with simply another faction or tribe holding ultimate power. If, by some miracle, Syria manages to install an actual representative government, be prepared to see the most fractured and unworkable faction style of governance ever witnessed. It will most likely resemble the government in France immediately after the French Revolution. For those who are not familiar with that, it was completely nonfunctional and directly led to the rise of Napoleon. Let’s hope that Syria does a little better than the French after their revolution is over. Unfortunately, this is one who does not hold much hope that Syria will install a workable government once Assad is dispatched and fully expect the military to move in and take control as the government falls into chaos and ineffectiveness. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Beyond the Cusp

May 28, 2012

Assad Apparently Surviving Month of May

I had predicted that President Bashir Assad would not survive through May. Unlike when I hit a prediction, when I miss a prediction it warrants an article and explanation of what I was thinking. So, here go my excuses for my failure. I had honestly thought that at least one of the countries who had been wringing their hands and complaining about the slaughter of innocent, unarmed, peaceful protestors and Syrian citizens by Syrian troops under orders from President Assad would have actually acted upon their indignance and horror over the carnage. Apparently, everybody who has decried the senseless murder of Syrian civilians and who had taken the side of the Syrian revolution in the developing civil War have sat on their hands waiting for others to actually take action and aid the rebels. The main culprits have been Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both of which have issued some very damning condemnations of Bashir Assad. This begs the question of what it will take to stir other Arab and Muslim nations to action and what has been their reason for apparently sitting out this conflict thus far.

The apparent and equally despicable reason for the inaction appears to be that everybody is waiting for the United States to come to the rescue like the cavalry in old western movies. Obviously, this is not about to happen as the United States is in the process of pulling their forces out of the Middle East and the American people have about had enough of wars and fighting thankless actions abroad. Making things even worse is the fact of the amount of weapon systems and hardware which the United States has either sold or supplied too many of these Middle East countries who refuse to risk soldiers, treasure or equipment to aid the Syrian rebels. It makes one wonder why the United States even bothers to equip these presumed allies if they are never going to use the supplied instruments and instead will sit and demand that the United States come to their rescue. This reminds me of a statement made by Saudi Arabian King Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz commenting on the Saudi Royals preferred attitude towards fighting wars, in particular in reference to the gulf War to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, stating in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1993, <B><I>“I summon my blue-eyed slaves anytime it pleases me. I command the Americans to send me their bravest soldiers to die for me. Anytime I clap my hands a stupid genie called the American ambassador appears to do my bidding. When the Americans die in my service their bodies are frozen in metal boxes by the US Embassy and American airplanes carry them away, as if they never existed. Truly, America is my favorite slave.”</I></B>

Another very disturbing fact about the inaction in so many various conflicts in the Middle East is how the majority of the countries depend near completely on the United States to repair or come to the rescue whenever there is any difficulty. These same countries who constantly complain that the United States is always interfering with their governing while depending on American support to remain in power. The love hate situation that exists would seem to be sufficient reason for the United States to simply wash their hands of anything concerning these demanding, whining, ill-mannered, overly-dependent, ungrateful self-absorbed rulers in the Middle East and simply let the chips fall where they may. American soldiers’ lives and bodies are too precious to spend them protecting such ingrates. If the United States finds it necessary and in their interest to take military action to right a wrong, protect innocents, or address a threat to the United States or her allies, then after the initial fighting is resolved and the threat vanquished, the troops will be brought home. Then those we leave in charge should be informed that we will not be holding their hands, protecting their rears, or concerning ourselves with any nation building. They should also be made to understand that should things return to a situation of a perceived problem, then American troops will return to break things and set them to an initial safe situation as many times as they choose to take a problematic path. Since they are adverse to the presence of Western troops or advisors, we should keep such interaction to a minimum and simply address the bare minimum of any situation. That means that perhaps the Turkish and Saudi governments should actually utilize some of that military equipment and training which has been provided and take care of the Syrian situation without Western assistance. Try it, you might just find there is pride and satisfaction when you face your problems and adversities and actually solve the difficulties on your own instead of having to ask and beg others to come and rescue you.

Beyond the Cusp

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