22 November 2006

Syria must go

This is something that I will state because no one else really wants to. People are trying to figure out ways to 'deal with Syria in a realistic manner' or 'getting Syria to stabilize the region'. Ok, let me start with just a bit of history that the 'Realists' did not address when they had the Ears of the Mighty in Power. I go over the Diplomatic Concept of Casus Belli with this post and I will extract a bit from there:

The 1983 Beirut Embassy bombing was caused by Hezbollah, which is linked to Iran. But to operate it must get help from Syria, which has some say on what may or may not go on.

The 1983 Beirut Marine barracks attack which killed 241 US Armed Forces personnel, and was carried out by Hezbollah. Note that an attack upon a military emplacement is an act of war.
Yes, each of these is a Casus Belli involving the warlike use of arms against the sovereign soil of another Nation or against its legitimate Armed Forces. Each of these required the logistic cognizance and approval of Syria to be carried out and they are at the very least complicit in all of them. Hezbollah has been a joint training and recruitment operation by Syria and Iran since 1982. Thus the activities of Hezbollah are directly accountable to Syria and Iran.

To those wondering about the Statute of Limitations of a Casus Belli: there isn't one. Each cause to give rise to just war is separately accountable and may be used by those suffering such attacks.

Now, onto the near-present and the Syrian use of North Korean 'supernotes' to undermine the currency of the United States. While Syria may serve as a mere distribution point, their pre-existing ties to North Korea, as seen with their purchase of NoDong missiles in the 1990's, does indicate a more than 'nodding acquaintance' with North Korea, and even some indication of having just a little bit of interaction with them. With that it is hard to see how 'supernotes' could get into circulation WITHOUT Syria catching on. Especially after the first few surfaced in the early 1990's. Continued circulation up to at least 2000 indicates that Syria has passing acceptance on this activity, which is to undermine the US dollar in the region and bring economic destabilization by doing so. Getting people to distrust the paper currency of the US would go a long way towards making the US seen as a 'non-serious' Nation with regards to its currency. In point of fact, given the OTHER activities already done by Syria, this would be considered an act of Commercial Warfare. Mind you, North Korea faces the exact same charge as they only have a 'ceasefire' arrangement with Allied powers. In both cases, they are legitimate Casus Belli that would, in a previous era, have roused a Nation so abused to hand out reprisals if not go fully to war with the offending Nation.

Over this entire time, Hezbollah, acting in full knowledge of its activities in both Syria and Iran, has given much grief to an Ally of the United States, namely Israel, by continued acts of hostility and war upon Israel. Each and every shooting, bombing, hostage taking, IED, missile attack, mortar attack and even infiltration of spies into Israel is a Casus Belli. That is a per-instance deal as that is the way the system of diplomacy has been set up. So, the next time you hear of 'Hezbollah rockets raining down on Israel' remember that each and every single one of those is a Casus Belli. Every bullet fired without declaring war, by Hezbollah or its patrons in Syria and Iran is a Casus Belli. Israel has been damned tolerant to something that, if this were the US circa 1801 or 1901 would have lead to an expeditionary force to either hand out harsh reprisals or take over the offending Nation. And with complete and utter 'Just Cause'.

Because of the recent dust-up with Hezbollah, I finally realized that after all of these long post-WWII decades since the founding of Israel in 1948, not one single Nation has actually defined what would actually lead to Peace in the Middle East. We have had a Peace Treaty here and there, and a bit of bribery to pay off some folks to 'play nice', but that really isn't much of a plan now, is it? And since everyone loves to blame Israel, I will point out that they did, indeed, do the hard work to actually make a Nation out of the piece of the British Transjordan that they were given. Palestinians were given the EXACT SAME OPPORTUNITY. One of these two sides did everything it could to make a Nation for itself, create jobs, make an economy, offer freedom to its Citizens and even has a multi-ethnic culture that even has a large portion of Arabic people in it. The other just wanted to complain and fight and sit in refugee camps once they lost those battles.

But there is an actual solution to this: Enforce the Nation State Concept, remove the legitimacy of NGO's and non-State military players and hold supplying Nations accountable for same. Yes, with all the 'Realists' in the State Department of the United States, this has never, once, been put forward as an option. What this would do is mean that the next attack by any non-Nation State group or organization would be directly linked to their supplier or supporter. And war could then be waged upon said supplier or supporter. Which is the whole 'Just War' concept of diplomacy, which we seem to have forgotten in this day and age.

Even without that, however, fully supported groups can be held accountable for such TODAY. An item of interest showed up during this last little tussle in Lebanon, really something quite of interest. When Hezbollah set up one of their cruise missile firing sites, they actually decided to do something quite extraordinary that actually has caused Nations to go directly to war in almost an instant. You see these fine fellas decided to do some 'target practice' on a civilian merchant freighter.

It was crewed and manned by Egyptians and the ship itself may have been owned by an Egyptian company flying under a third Nation's flag of convenience to get by insurance. In any event a hostile act of war was committed by Hezbollah upon legitimate, peacetime shipping of a Neutral Nation and that ship was sunk. Which, of course, is a Casus Belli, in this case not only for the incident, but for each individual killed or wounded or needing rescue, plus whoever owned the vessel itself. Hezbollah firing as it did on that vessel without declaring open Warfare nor by same being done by Syria and Iran, declared War upon Egypt for Both Syria and Iran.

Now, moving onto Iraq, we have the entire Riverine campaign of 2005 to finally cut off the easy supply lines of the Ba'athists from... yes, Syria. Ending up in the Tal Afar area, which is near that tri-corner between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, puts one within easy spitting distance of each. And as Turkey has no real need to send insurgents, money, weapons, supplies and such into Iraq, that leaves the sole remaining supply zone as: Syria. Mind you, UAV's have actually gotten images of the live motion video sort, of folks crossing the desert from Syria to Iraq. And then patrols are sent out to stop them and investigate and quite some few have had, yes, money, weapons, bomb making equipment and supplies. All being shipped illegally into Iraq to foment illegitimate warfare via terrorists and insurgents. And as that material has been implicated in some number of MNF deaths, each US soldier so targeted gives rise to a Casus Belli against the supplying Nation involved. That being Syria, then, just about every single US Casualty in the Mosul region and directly North and fully to the West and South West can be directly linked to the supply lines of Syria to the insurgents.

You may do the math.

Now a few folks might quibble that Syria isn't, you know, directly complicit. Well, lets put it this way: when illegal aliens work their way across the US border from Mexico and Mexico does *nada*, it is complicit by its INACTION in that activity. Similarly, Syria, by taking no activity to enforce its borders to ensure regularity of legitimate passage of goods is complicit in their movement from Syria to Iraq.

Yes, the screams of the 'tribes living there don't respect borders' and such will be heard. Guess what? Doesn't matter. That is the deal of having a Sovereign Nation State with Defined Borders. You are fully accountable for what *leaves* from your side and goes to the other side of the border. If Syria wanted to work out an arrangement so that a way could be found to ensure that the cross-border tribes were not the recipients of illegal goods and arms and make that verifiable, then there might be a cause to have a complaint. To this late date, under multiple regimes and governments and rulers, dating all the way back to the post-WWI era where these borders were set up, they haven't DONE THAT. Yes, Iraq is just as much to blame. No that does not remove the actual blame of supplying illegitimate insurgents in a neighboring Nation with illegally transported goods from the Nation of origin.

And not only does this go for the US, but it goes for any Soldier of the MNF from other Nations! Isn't that a joy? Of course this ALSO goes for Iraq, itself, for every bomb-blast, mortar attack, sniper attack, RPG attack, kidnapping, and so on. On a per-incident basis and per-person basis.

Now, seeing things in the good old light of International Diplomacy as it was practiced before the 'touchy-feely' age seems to be getting us somewhere!

In point of fact we can now start to outline the Coalition of the Aggrieved that have a Beef with Syria via its Actions: United States, Israel, Egypt, Jordan (check your local web browser for terrorists attacks assisted by Syria), Iraq, and every coalition member who has had a serviceman killed or wounded in that area directly bordering Syria or due to any group which Syria directly supports, which includes: Hezbollah, Ba'ath Party, and even some of al Qaeda. Plus a scattershot of gunmen, thugs, and 'bombmaker for hire' sorts.

Why, by looking at Syria through the old, cold lenses of State based diplomacy, it appears to be this thing known as an 'outlaw Nation'. A general scoundrel that is looking to destabilize its neighbors and benefit from that. You might want to ask Lebanon about the spate of assassinations due to, yes, you guessed it, Hezbollah. Also the Syrian Secret Police and Foreign Ministry, and whatever other Spy System du Jour they have.

Now we can move onto the WMD front. And beyond all the FMSO documents that point to Syria worrying about placement of US aircraft in Jordan and Russian operatives suddenly cleaning up a number of industrial sites and those lovely truck convoys going from Iraq to Syria just before the war, there is this little ditty that Ray Robison uncovered, which I first reported on here and will now do so *again*. Mr. Robison was writing an extended article and adding on to it over time, but here is the meat from the Kuwaiti Newspaper Al Seyassah which was on their website Monday the 25th of September 2006 in Kuwaiti, so it needed to finally get to anyone's attention in the West by first going into Arabic and then into English. All highlighting is mine:
A Syrian nuclear program managed by Iraqi and Iranian scientists in the Al Haska area.

Brussels- From Hamid Geriafi

European intelligence sources based at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels released information yesterday about the “presence of an active Syrian nuclear program in a secret location Northeast of the country, being supervised by nuclear scientists from Iraq, Iran and some scientists of the previous Muslim Soviet Republics, and it seems that the program has reached the stage of medium activity”.

The information, which Al seyassah got from British security sources in Brussels, revealed that “the brother of the Syrian president, Major Maher Al Assad -in charge of the Republican Guard brigade- along with his maternal cousin of the Makhlouf clan are supervising this program since the end of 2004 in the Northeastern district of Al Haskah situated next to the Iraqi and Turkish borders and which has a Kurdish majority”.

The information - of which the British security sources hinted that it might be coming from the German intelligence which is active in some Middle Eastern countries- revealed that “the Syrian nuclear program is relying on equipment and materials that the sons of the deposed Iraqi leader, Udai and Qusai supervised their transfer to Syria by using dozens of civilian trucks and trains, before and after the US-British invasion in March 2003”. Therefore according to those sources, the international inspection teams or the British and US intelligence could not find one “nuclear needle” in Iraq even though everybody knew about the existence of a huge program since the end of the seventies, before the Israeli planes struck and destroyed its main reactor in the Tuwaitha area near Baghdad in 1981.

The British security sources in Brussels assure Al Seyassah that “Iranian nuclear scientists are cooperating with their expertise, equipment and materials in addition to approximately 60 Iraqi nuclear scientists” that had found refuge in Syria after the onset of the war in Iraq and around 20 scientists that had moved from the former Soviet republics at the beginning of the nineties after the collapse of the Soviet Union and after the first government of Gorbatchev pulled out its nuclear weapons from those new republics”.

The sources said that “the Iranians are supporting the Syrian nuclear program, which was originally built on the remains of the Iraqi program after it was wholly transferred to Syria, with materials, equipment and expertise which are more advanced than it originally was. The Iranian could have brought up an advanced plant to enrich Uranium, of which the West is totally unaware.”
Now this is not a very friendly thing to do now, is it? Transferring all that wonderful work that was done during the Saddam era to Syria and then getting Syrian, Iranian and probably some Russian sponsored ex-Republic scientists to lend a hand. Now do you remember that Iran was part of the AQ Khan Network? Slipped your mind? How about this from via TMCnet:
31 AUG 2006 - Mitutoyo exported 10,000 devices since 1995, most of them illegally+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) TOKYO, Aug. 31_(Kyodo) _ Mitutoyo Corp., a precision instrument maker at the center of an export scam linked to weapons of mass destruction, has exported some 10,000 precision measuring devices, most of them illegally, since around 1995, investigative sources said Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police Department's Public Safety Division is investigating the possibility that some of these instruments were exported to North Korea and other nations suspected of developing nuclear weapons via a nuclear black market formerly run by Pakistani nuclear physicist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the sources said.

In addition, the police are investigating suspicions that a Mitutoyo-made precision measuring machine of a different type from the firm's three-dimensional measuring machine that went to Libya via Khan's smuggling network was exported to an Iranian firm suspected of links to Iran's nuclear development program, they said.

On Aug. 25, the police arrested Mitutoyo Vice Chairman Norio Takatsuji, President Kazusaku Tezuka, and three other executives on suspicion of illegally exporting two high-tech measuring devices convertible for use in the manufacture of nuclear weapons to Malaysia in 2001.

One of the two 3-D measuring machines was found in a nuclear research facility in Libya by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors during their 2003-2004 checks.

The machines can be used to make centrifuge machines to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons by determining their dimensions and minimizing shape distortions with high accuracy. Their export is subject to restrictions under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law and the Export Trade Control Ordinance.

The police found that Mitutoyo's two other precision measuring instruments -- a form tracer for measuring the roughness of the surface of products and a roundness tester -- were handed over to Scomi Precision Engineering Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia, suspected of being at the core of Khan's network, the sources said.

The police are investigating fresh suspicions that the two devices were exported to Libya as a "three-item set" with one of Mitutoyo's two 3-D measuring machines, which had been found to have been shipped via Dubai to Libya on an Iranian-registered vessel, they said.

The sources knowledgeable about investigations at the Public Safety Division said the Mitutoyo management decided to expand exports in the first half of the 1990s when its sales dived.

Then its project team developed computer software to make its precision measuring machines appear less accurate than they are to bypass Japan's export regulations on high-tech products convertible for the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction, the sources said.

Although some Mitutoyo employees alerted the management to the illegality of exporting high-performance machines using the software, referred to with an in-house code name of "COCOM," Takatsuji and others silenced the critics, telling them such exports have been decided as "a company policy," they said.

In addition to disguising the precision machines as devices with lower capabilities than they actually have, Mitutoyo filed export permit applications with customs, in which they falsely said their overseas arms were the final destinations of the machines to bypass the regulations on exports to countries and firms suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction, they said.

Mitutoyo, based in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a leading maker of high-tech precision measuring machines and runs a network of subsidiaries, research institutes and factories in more than 20 countries, including the United States, Europe and Asia.

Takatsuji and Tezuka acknowledged the allegations related to the exports to Malaysia for which they had been arrested, informed sources said, adding the two executives have denied that the management ordered employees to bypass the export regulations.

But a senior official at the Public Safety Division said they believe the management issued such orders, adding Mitutoyo "has placed priority on just boosting sales and I cannot find any sense of ethics in them as a company."

Copyright 2006 Kyodo News International, Inc.
Yes, nice to see that Iran was in the business acting as a middle-man to ship nuclear separators from third-party Nations so as to escape all of the International Agreements that it had signed on to. But we may also remember that the AQ Khan folks had Mr. AQ Khan a warhead design expert as its base. The individual who made copies of his work and sold them through his network. Thus Pakistani warhead designs are in circulation as engineering and specification diagrams of how to make a nuclear warhead. Think of it as: "WMDs for Dummies - nuclear edition". And Syria itself has trade and economic ties to North Korea, which, we may remember, has been touting ITS nuclear program. And ex-Russian Republic scientists that have worked on the Russian/USSR nuclear weapons program are also in Syria. Gives one pause for thought, doesn't it? Especially as Iranian airliners do *not* need to be inspected for nuclear materials. I wonder where their design finishing group is?

So, here is the question: how do you stabilize Iraq and start the stability process moving *forward* in the Middle East and get it off the dime it has been stuck on for a few decades?

When I looked at actually what would be a 'good idea' to take out Syria before this, one of the large conceptions was that Iraq needed to be put in to a position of 'dynamic stability'. It could retain multiple factions and religions, but they had to be given something worth *having* beyond these paltry concepts of liberty, freedom, just laws and the such like. To get to that position of 'dynamic stability' requires a change of Demographics away from the Shia majoritarian stranglehold which isn't working out too well because the Shia are pretty much divided INSIDE their part of Islam. Their inter-sectarian problems are forcing the current Government to dawdle. It is not in a good position to do much of everything, although a good first response would be to declare the Sadrists and Badr folks 'outlaw' and their political party put in jail to be held accountable for the tens and hundreds of killings that they have supported. Keep their party legal, remove its representatives from Parliament. Until the Party disavows violence and taking up arms it can sit and rot. That might bring down the current Government but it could also force a larger coalition to get something done once the reprobates are in jail.

All of that said, to change Iraq the Demographics themselves must be changed. And so there you have all these wonderful Kurds sitting in Syria. And the fact that very few Nations there actually 'liked' the post-WWI treaties, and Syria is destabilizing the region, it might finally be time to say: You know, those old Empire Carvers that Created This Mess could have done a Better Job of It. Thus, any Nation that attempts to destabilize its Neighbor in the Middle East can look to something that happens in the US every 10 years: Re-Apportionment.

A bit of Gerrymandering.

Lets give the Kurds a Just Reward for waiting Patiently for the West to uphold Its word since the 1920's. Syria really doesn't need a seaport, given as how it no longer respects International Civilian Shipping, and the Kurds would LOVE TO HAVE ONE and thus break out of their major problem of being land-locked. Throw in a few Sunni border tribes and mixed ethnic towns and provinces and leave the Alawites in a small, land-locked Nation that will need to 'play nice' with Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the new powerhouse of the Middle East: Iraq.

Why will this not fall into utter disarray? An excellent question and I am glad you asked it!

What is the main Iranian threat to Iraq? Cutting off the Straits of Hormuz.

What happens if you give Iraq another way to get oil out of their Nation via another seaport outside of the range of Iran to get to?

The Iranian threat is set aside and suddenly they are just threatening, but not able to do much of anything. Iraq could also offer pipeline services into Kuwait, so it would not be threatened.

The joy of this is that it can only be done if both the Kurds and Shia in the South AGREE TO IT. Of course now having fast, overland shipping from the Med. to the Persian Gulf thus cutting off scads of shipping TIME for Europe is a huge, huge incentive. Suddenly Iraq, by agreeing to have a more or less secular government can offer a large opportunity for employment, stability, and be free of threats from Iran.

In all of this, Hezbollah will wither and die without support in Lebanon.

Israel will no longer have Hezbollah and Syria to worry about, along with Egypt and Jordan. Lebanon has shown little real interest in attacking Israel. Two small States with lots of good coastline. Suddenly the real threats to Israel are from the Palestinians ONLY and they will find their funding sources evaporating with Syria and Iran no longer able to directly funnel money and arms to them.

It will not be beautiful, but it has a chance at Peace for the first time since the end of WWI for that area. With a bit of ethnic realignment a new way of doing things can start to take hold. And Iran is suddenly isolated as IT is then a Nation depending upon an oil export economy. It can no longer threaten all of Iraq with a 'lightning strike' attack on the south.

And the greatest of all joys in this?

By using an Afghanistan style campaign and the might of the US Air Force and a few CVN Battlegroups, the amount of troops we will need to find for a Coalition numbers in a few thousand. Ten thousand should do it. Maybe put Poland in command, they seem to have a way with folks in the Middle East that the US just doesn't. Because as we have demonstrated against the armored forces of Iraq, there is NO ARMORED FORCE ON THIS PLANET THAT CAN STOP THE UNITED STATES. The paradigm of light, fast, mobile and semi-competent is a winning mixture with the addition of the mightiest air forces on the planet. All of which means that Iran will be staring at US Armed Forces not doing much at all in Iraq. They could then sit and stew as the plan moves from Stage One to Stage Two.

Oh, and do notice that the US promises ZERO rebuilding aid, although we will find a few companies to kick into the 'pipeline kitty' and I think that a few European Nations would welcome a ready Iraqi supply source in the Med. Pretty damned sure of it seeing as how Russia hasn't been a good player the past few years. It would be a good thing to see Iraqis doing some of this rebuilding stuff on their own.

So there you have it: a plan to start stabilizing this God Awful Mess that our Parents have left to us because they couldn't figure it out.

Let us not pass this mess on and worse to Our Children.

Or they will damn us to some very hot places in the afterlife for not doing something while the doing was cheap, easy and the RIGHT THING TO DO.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Won't happen. No administration will do it; not this one, not the next, not any. After having experienced the train wreck that is Iraq, no one and I mean NO ONE will even REMOTELY think about anything even REMOTELY APPEARING to be addressing a problem in advance of it becoming a crisis. Advanced thinking? Pre-emptive strikes in order to save lives and property months or years later?

In today's PC world, it will simply not happen. Americans do not have a stomach for it, unless it involves something EASY, something FAST, NO COMMITMENT and better yet, no PERSONNEL.

We'd much rather lay on the couch and watch "Deal Or No Deal."


A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - That is why I want to use one of those useless Arab Armies... Easy, check! Fast? well, if the rag-tag Northern Alliance could do their job in a couple of weeks against the Taliban, I really have problems seeing Syria last any longer, so check! No rebuilding! check! No American commitment beyond airpower, check! We seem to love airpower...

Now as to the rest of it... well, without *any pressure* in the Western provinces, an expanded Kurdish population and a sudden change in local pressure, the turnaround to Iraq is: ok, they are gone, can you get working on things now?

Yes, I know... I do dream... but also realize that this is cheap, easy, fast, as close to Zero Commitment as the Serbian bombing campaign, and leaves a few folks over there holding the bag...

Basically, the only thing that could be easier than this would be a thermonuclear device on Damascus and then the *complaints* we would hear! *sigh* 'You didn't do it right! Too many dead! Too fast! Too easy!'

Still, Syria *must* go. Or there the idiots in charge WILL start bartering away Friends, Allies and then Freedom.

Then it is too late to fight.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Yes, we do love our airpower from 27,000 feet.

Please understand me; I do not disagree with your logic on its face -- it is prominently unassailable.

How about a neutron on Damascus? I'm sure we've got them stashed away in the back closet of our arsenal. Kill the stupid shits and leave the equipment and infrastructure.

But I fear, alas, this: "Or there the idiots in charge WILL start bartering away Friends, Allies and then Freedom."

Once again, you Rock, sir.


PS: Hope your Thanksgiving is quiet, peaceful, centered and involves those you love.

A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - My thanks and my hopes to you are just the same!

Dropping a small neutron bomb kills the problem, but would not *solve* the problem of the Middle East unless you are prepared to back that up with devices dropping in Tehran, Riyadh, various parts of Pakistan, parts of Indonesia, in the Moro areas of the Philippines.... it is a long, long list, but we do have thousands of such devices.

By rebalancing the Middle East and addressing some of the major Post-WWI oversights of the British, French, Turks, Arabs and others, a 'dynamic tension' can start to be created to move from the 'zero-sum' game currently going on. Thus there is disproportionate reward in Iraq for co-operation and dissolution and chaos for not cooperating save that the Nation of Kurdistan will suddenly show up on the map with a SEAPORT. Turkey and Iran suddenly are put on extreme notice that the People who have the Peshmerga, some of the most effective fighters, man per man, on the planet and have civilian oversight and the People who brought forth Saladin would be Independent to 'do as they pleased'.

Persians, Arabs and Turks fear this much as the Greeks fear an independent Macedonia because of their history leading to a non-Greek leader. The basics are this: either agree to get along in Iraq or ELSE you will get a Kurdistan fully independent for supply, having its own oil fields and heavily supported by the United States of America. Be our Friend or we will HELP our Friends, the Kurds.

It is 'the lead pipe approach to diplomacy'. The Arab world would hate and demonize the US for nuking Damascus. They would fear angering us if we held the Key to an Independent Kurdistan. Iran is *already* having problems with its Kurdish and Azeri minorities and the hatred of the Turks to its own Kurdish minority is legendary. A Free Kurdistan would begin to protect ITS Friends and Allies and work to bring its brothers to their New Nation.

I would prefer some 'dynamic stability' but if the Arabs, Persians and Turks cannot settle their beefs in multiple directions, then the US will visit upon them the Nation of Saladin. And that Nation would be an ALLY of the United States. Fully supported with bases, armaments, training... all those things we have offered to the Arabs in Iraq will then go to the Kurds.

This is the implicit threat that many tribal leaders in Iraq will 'have a clue about' while the sectarian leaders will be shivering over, but they can't figure out *why*. My guess is that the tribes will assert local control and start to thoroughly cleanse the sectarian hot-heads as they are already starting to do in Iraq. They all have stories going back centuries of Arab glory... but they center around being led by Saladin. The Kurds are Sunni... but they are first, and foremost Kurds.

Bombing Damascus to vapor only achieves hatred. I want fear and fear of having to deal with the Kurds 'on the table'. Iraqis will soon learn that their choice is to either have a secular Nation that is accommodating the Kurds... or to have, sooner or later, a Nation RUN BY THEM. The Arab Islamic population remembers Empire. Those in al Qaeda and Iran wish to bring it back. They fear the People who actually welded the Arabs together to GET IT: the Kurds via Saladin.

The US is a 'distant Devil'.

The Kurds are their Neighbors and everyone there has long memories.

We decry that, but I put forth that such can be used to OUR ADVANTAGE as the Kurds will remember which Nation brought them to FREEDOM and Made Good the Treaties of the West. Arabs would curse us as 'devils' but the Kurds would hold us in high esteem for centuries. And the best and sweetest part of all of that is that the Arab cultures KNOW THIS THING and do not want to be held accountable for their treatment of the Kurdish People over centuries.

I am a Jacksonian and like to see problems *fixed*.

This solution *fixes* most everything, save for a bit of religious clean-up once done. But the Arab Middle East would not recover from this thing too soon. And Iraqis, across all of their tribes, would hate to work with the Persians to counter this. Better the Kurds who Brought Victory than the Persians who Lorded it over the Arabs for Centuries.

And the #1 huge bonus is that Israel and the Kurds already have established some affinity for each other and respect each other. Facing Israel is one thing, that the Arabs have now learned is not what they expected. What happens when the Israelis and the Kurds work *together*?

Yes, very long memories there, indeed.

Give the Arabs a wake-up call.

With a lead-pipe.

Because the formulation of the Middle East that this would portend is one the Arabs would fear all out of proportion to how they hate the US. We are distant: these are capable and competent Neighbors.

My guess is that the tribes in Iraq will want a better balanced secular Government with lots of local autonomy. A Federal Iraq. Because the Kurds will have and have bought into that. They, too can lead to Greatness, and have already shown the way to that. Much, much better to have them as *friends* and helping you. Much better than the Nation of Saladin staring down your throat with foreceps asking: "Now what is the problem here? Didn't you learn the LAST TIME?"

mikedevx said...

Since nothing in the Middle East appears to make any sense, we can only ask ourselves what is really going on.
I've got to believe that the problem is not the various players in the Middle East itself, but all the surrounding powers:
Russia, China, the E.U.

It would always have been absurdly easy to have warned Syria and then smashed then into ruins. Don't forget how Reagan fled in utter disgrace with the Marine barracks bombing, with its hundreds dead and its immediate legitimacy for Hezbollah. (If you want to blame Carter for establishing the legitimacy of the Iranian mullahs, you must equally blame Reagan for granting Hezbollah legitimacy.)

There is something about the Middle East that ties the U.S.A. into complete knots. If the explanation is not a shadow game between the USA and other powers, then the only other explanation is that widespread "stability" is thought to be required for secure oil production, and secure transport of oil. Therefore, short term stability at all costs may simply be the name of the game. It's not truly stable, of course, but who seems to care?

So, the thuggish regimes of the Middle East play the powers off of each other. Any one country - the USA - gains too much strength? No problem, you draw the others into a coalition to knock em back down - and the E.U., Russia, and China, supporting Syria and Iran, succeed in doing so.

The oil keeps flowing, and the terrible, bloody mess rolls on. No one country can change the equation. Should we give George Bush accolades for trying? Or curse him for failing so spectacularly? (And make no mistake - Russia and China have scarcely BEGUN to ensure we don't succeed in Iraq. If you're looking only at Iran and Syria, you're not looking towards the REAL problem.

The joker in this card game is Iran's nuclear ambitions and Israel. Russia and China don't mind raising an ante where, if they lose, the result a nuclear holocaust over Tel Aviv. Russia and China simply do not care about the terrible risk they are running here. Born in revolution, legitimized by Carter, supported further by Reagan, and now supported by Russia and China, the mullahs of Iran are extraordinarily dangerous to Israel and to this so-called short term stability in the Middle East.

What a mess.

A Jacksonian said...

Dear Mike,

Thanks for stopping by for a read!

I can say that I have no 'simplistic' view of the Middle East, but a multivariate view of simple underlying motives and forces at work... a best compendium of that is in my Post-Warism article but that is also built upon my understanding in the unreal 'Realists' article... plus various prior ones, like my Faultlines and Peace in the Middle East article. Both linked within those previous....

Now, I will say that Russian and China add an arms component and support component, but they are only working on what is already on the ground and adding some strength to those vectors. The basic concept that I see as America's problem with understanding the Middle East is that we do not understand the major problems of the Post-WWI Treaties and their overlay upon the basic Tribal, religious, ethnic, Great Culture and learning overlays already within the Middle East. Can't come to terms with the resultant problems if you don't address the underlying Faultlines.

That said the Post-WWII Era and the Cold War put those faultlines into a deep stasis from which they are now only emerging and having to shift due to demographics, cultural changes and needing to change to the modern world. Throw in the additional faultlines mentioned which are the shifting zones and throw in these lovely National boundaries and suddenly you have a hell of a mess to try and figure out.

To contain the USSR the idea of 'containment' and 'Realpolitik' had some basis: It was a relatively rational Nation State.

That said, applying that exact same template *everywhere* was ruinous to our understanding of the World in an attempt to oversimplify it. Nationalist outlooks in SE Asia were not, of necessity, rational, as there was and IS a strong ethnic bias across the cultures there. Thus, they do NOT behave rationally to neighbors that they have been fighting off and on for millenia. Literal millenia, not this figurative sort.

This started to come apart when Eisonhower visit LBJ and basically told him: "Look, sticking through it in S. Viet Nam is going to be one hell of a sell. But it has to be done as millions of people are depending on America to do this and keep things from going straight to hell there." That was in '65 or '66....

Eisenhower never properly stated THAT to the American People with his starting of 'advisors' to S. Viet Nam, Kennedy never had time to do much of anything as his foreign policy was on the grill from Day 1, and LBJ was too much of a 'Texas deal maker' to understand that you do NOT treat the Communists in S.E. Asia as political opponents, but as blood enemies. Kissinger and Nixon did not help that one whit, and the concept of 'shuttle diplomacy' wound up with Henry getting lots of frequent flier miles, but nothing accomplished. By the time Carter rolls around with his 'do nothing anywhere' policy, the entire concept of 'Realpolitik' for EVERY Nation had been enshrined. And Reagan I *also* blame for not seeking Justice for the American dead in Beirut in ALL of the Bombings there.

Yup! I am an equal opportunity, non-partisan Jacksonian when it comes to placing blame for this fine mess the 'realists' have gotten us into. There used to be a time when we could understand that someone would feel one way about something due to kinship, another way due to what he learned in church, a third way due to his upbringing, a fourth way due to what his education was or was not, a fifth way due to his trade and a sixth way due to just what kind of person her or she was. And all of that was understood because the entirety of that last had to reconcile all the others and come up with: 'What was right and what was honorable and what could you live with?'

Today we look for the 'simplistic' and try to fit those 'simplistic' scenarios on the world and never try to do this thing of understanding the *simple* motivations of people. The Left may ballyhoo that, but they are the very FIRST to step in with simplistic means to Elitist views and never want to dirty their hands in the understanding of People. The Right has gotten so divorced from understanding People and wanting to put forward some sort of social or economic Conservative 'pure view' that they no longer call this actual, real world, overmuch these days and will not stand accountable for the problems their simplistic purity chasing have caused.

The stability I want is for the LONG TERM and not the TERM OF THE GRAVE. There is no honor in that latter as a Strong Nation as it shows lack of want and ability to cope with our own shortcomings as a People. To do the former we must recognize that some large part of the problems go back to previous generations wanting to play 'power politics' and 'How much of the Map is MY color?' and ignore the underlying Individuals that they were using as pawns.

Oil is the force vector that drives this to the world's stage. If the Middle East were as resource poor as the Balkans, we would pay exactly as much attention to the Middle East as we do to the Balkans: which is ZERO. But as our economy will, for the next 30 to 50 years, depend upon Natural Resource exploitation, we must deal with things and learn the underlying faultlines that drive that region and guide their shifting in a way that honors the founding of this Nation.

Those that take up wanton killing to create Empire are Barbarians in that ACTIVITY. The Peoples who don't do those things and are trying to find a way to bring reconciliation of their families, tribes, provinces, Nation, religion, culture and teaching into the 21st century an era of totalitarianism have one helluva job ahead of them.

They are NOT helped by quivering, whining people who want to apply simplistic concepts upon them and try to FORCE them to be things that they are NOT just so that those simplistic notions have any way of fitting. If we do not drop this idea of 'realism' and 'geostrategic global pragmatism' or whatever its practitioners are calling it today, and all of the stinking garbage that goes with it in bargaining away rights for temporary peace but ZERO security, then we are all doomed and will be the final victims of the 20th century.

Because WE are just as damned for taking a fantastical view of the world that is not founded in understanding Peoples and what makes them seek honorable and just lives as are our Enemies who believe that some Deity will sweep us away just because they have waged jihad and killed lots of folks. Both of those are grasping at a fantasy that does not exist and both will end up with all of us dead because of it.

We must step from the 20th century, remember some parts of it as so-so, but forget the simplistic things foisted upon us and understand that we USED to be able to deal with these things as a People who understood simple motivations working at cross purposes to get us a complex world. Applying simplistic concepts to this end result is as wrong headed as applying a sledgehammer to a watch that needs a battery: both 'fix' the solution, and both leave you with less ability to keep track of things.

I can deal with all the ambitions, all the cultures, all the tribes, all the differences in religions and understand them as concepts because I have seen people walking around everyday of my life who DO cope with these things day in and day out.

So have you.

Because each of us does that every day of our lives.

So why should the Middle East get the 'simplistic treatment' when we know that doing that for ourselves comes to no good end at all?

But that is just my viewpoint, and I do think strange thoughts.