Now that the dust has settled in Paris from the latest “False Flag” mission to herd the sheeple into a pen of jingoistic fervor, the blood flow coming out of the latest version of Comité De Salut Public would make Robespierre proud. Setting the context, dauntless ex-CIA Michael Scheuer out does his usual perceptive analysis.
Who rises if Assad falls?
That question, which has bedeviled U.S. experts on the Middle East, may need updating to read: Who rises when Assad falls?
For the war is going badly for Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria since Richard Nixon was president.
Assad’s situation seems more imperiled than at any time in this four-year civil-sectarian war that has cost the lives of some 220,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians, and made refugees of millions more.
Last month, ISIS captured Palmyra in central Syria, as it was taking Ramadi in Iraq. A coalition, at the heart of which is the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, seized Idlib province in northern Syria and is moving toward the coast and Latakia.
Half of Syria has been lost to ISIS, the Nusra front, and other jihadist and rebel groups. All of Syria’s border crossings with Iraq have been lost to ISIS. All of the border crossing with Turkey, excluding Kobani, have been lost to ISIS or rebels linked to al-Qaida. Syria’s border with Lebanon is becoming a war zone.
There seems to be great Republican resistance to the idea that their interventions in Iraq and the Muslim world are the main cause of both the mess in Iraq and the growing and increasingly powerful worldwide Islamist movement. To the extent that Hillary Clinton and other Democratic senators and congressmen joined the Republicans in illegally delegating the war-declaring power to George W. Bush there is a point to the Republicans’ resistance. The correct formulation of the statement is that both parties are equally responsible for the mess in Iraq and for the formidable Islamist foe that now exists. Also a correct statement is that the bulk of both parties now want the United States to become an even stronger motivator of and recruiter for the Islamists by expanding the military re-intervention in Iraq that began in the summer of 2014. Before that occurs it would be best to review a few facts:
One: Reintroduce 10,000 ground troops and Marines to retake Ramadi and Anbar, and thousands more to retake Mosul and cleanse Iraq of ISIS. Another surge, like 2007.
Yet that does not solve the problem of the Islamic State, which would retreat to Syria and wait for the Americans to leave Iraq again.
Two: Adopt a policy of degrade-and-contain by continuing air strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq, while training and backing the Iraqi army and Kurds in keeping ISIS out of Baghdad and Irbil.
Three: Accept the inevitable — that the Shiite-led Iraq we created by dethroning Saddam and smashing his Baathist state and army is going to be in the orbit of Iran. For we cannot now, without a major and indefinite reintroduction of U.S. forces, alter the existing balance of military and political power in Iraq.