The only way out in Syria takes us further in. The sooner America’s leaders understand that the better for all. For now, even without U.S. intervention, Syria has already become a Vietnam-by-proxy, and America is losing again. All America’s major regional allies are currently involved, not to mention of course, America’s enemies. How could anyone think that America could manage to stay out of this is beyond me. But what’s even more surprising is that some still advocate “non-intervention” or accepting compromise outcomes that could make Russia and Iran happy at the expense of things like freedom, dignity, decency and humanity. Yeah, that should make a world a better place, a place where mullahs, oligarchs and sociopaths can have their way.
Myth of the Third Way
Robert A. Pastor, professor of international relations at American University in Washington and a senior adviser to the Carter Centre on conflict resolution in the Middle East, proposes the exploration of “a third option in Syria,” one that seeks “not to overthrow Al Assad but build a political system that will provide voice and vote to all Syrians and protect all minorities and sects.” There are two main problems with this logic: it rewards Assad’s bloody tactics and sets a precedent for others in the region and elsewhere to emulate, and, as professor Pastor himself concedes, it closes the doors for now on democratic change:
Is democracy possible in Syria? It seems improbable. But the most likely alternative — a decade-long descent into self-destruction — is too awful to contemplate.
But that’s exactly the conclusion that Assad wanted us to reach from the very beginning. If we embrace this “third way,” as Pastor put it, we will be, in fact, rewarding the very sociopathic behavior that is at the roots of our current dilemma, and we will also be giving the Obama Administration and other western leaders a pass on doing nothing in the face of mounting evidence that Assad was willing and actively involved in perpetrating genocide as they watched and feigned shock and horror. It is this kind of approach that is too awful to contemplate as far as I am concerned.
As for that “decade-long descent into self-destruction,” only those bent on adopting an approach that either rewards evil or does nothing are willing to provide this kind of prognosis so it can used to justify turning their back on democracy. There was nothing inevitable about the situation we face in Syria today. The tragedy was all too predictable and all too preventable. While we may not be able to turn back the clock to correct our mistakes, we can avoid compounding them: instead of turning our backs on democratic change, we can still pursue it as our immediate goal. Assad has to go and has to be held accountable for his crimes, and a political process that could pave the way to democratic transformation within a reasonable timeframe has to be worked out in cooperation with in-country activists and rebel leaders.
Islamist rebels in the town of Elbab in Aleppo Province interrogate the pilot of a downed MIG. He is Christian from the coastal town of Mashtal Hilou, and his name is Roni Ibrahim. Rebel leader says that bruises on Roni’s face happened when he resisted arrest, but pledges that Roni will not be tortured. http://youtu.be/IVIJDQm_lf0. Roni says that he was just following orders, as he is berated by different rebels http://youtu.be/NK4xFZGxbBM
In Al-Akrad and Turkmen Mountains in Northern Lattakia Province, rebels continue their successful operations against pro-Assad militias and troops, killing several high ranking colonels and officers http://youtu.be/BhOkCjWJduE Battles in the region are pretty sectarian in character at this stage. Many rebels are clearly Salafists. Still, the pejorative term, Nusairi, that some Salafists use when referring to Alawites is not heard in the video itself but is used in the video description on the YouTube channel. Sectarian sentiments on all sides are real, but by controlling media outlets and imposing their particular terms and vocabs, Islamists are trying to assume a greater ownership of the Revolution than their actual size and contribution would allow, for now. In the video, the pejorative terms of Fatissah, an Arabic word for the corpse of animals, is used to refer to dead pro-Assad officers, who include Col. Ali Al-Ali, whose body can be seen trampled underfoot by rebels at the end of the video. The term “pigs” is also used. The same video appears on a different YouTube Channel without the pejorative term “Nusairi,” but the channel is titled “Unfortunately, I used to be Shiite.” http://youtu.be/oEwwcCDj0x4
In a nearby location, a new fighting brigade is formed: from the names of the various affiliated units, an Islamic leaning group http://youtu.be/SrE1-Yise34 Rebels from the unit showcase some of the arms they have recently gained from their campaign against loyalists http://youtu.be/OjLu56lCK5s , http://youtu.be/ocgVNAeqUNA Ne defectors join in http://youtu.be/qBPRZYY45-M Elsewhere in the region, local rebels use a mortar cannon to fire rounds at a loyalist position http://youtu.be/s5XeVzrvt9Q
Rebels shoot a helicopter gunship in Idlib http://youtu.be/a4Jy3Z_kzAY
A missile lands next to the headquarters of one of the leaders of Al-Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo City during an interview with Sky News http://youtu.be/jFz1Sk43nfA
Elsewhere in Aleppo City, Islamist rebels fire their improvised missile at a loyalist checkpoint http://youtu.be/DQWdQ_mX3ug , http://youtu.be/8RnU_NTjnxE Rebels from the same group operating in the town of Tal Abyad, Raqqah Province, claim to have launched 60 such missiles at loyalist positions http://youtu.be/1wv4MNvnzm8
Meanwhile, the Dresdenification of Aleppo and so many other Syrian towns and cities continues: Al-Sha’ar Neighborhood, Aleppo City http://youtu.be/FAGHlDrwZ40 , http://youtu.be/7kbu1o0NI_s Martyrs http://youtu.be/ECz9nH9quRk
MIGs keep pounding Eastern Ghoutah Region in Damascus http://youtu.be/R3098R53Fmc
A MIG drops its load over the town of Ma’arrat Hourmah in Idlib Province http://youtu.be/DGiDGlDJFSs , http://youtu.be/C9Q-lmsYu6Y