Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Can Europe Prevent a Generalized Middle East War?

Dear readers, once more the European Union has stepped up to an issue concerning the Middle East and the Arab Spring ahead of the United States. The EU announced Monday night that the general arms embargo against shipments to Syrian rebel forces has been lifted. From 1 June, EU member states will be able to decide individually whether to supply arms to the Syrian rebel coalition and its armed force, the Syria Free Army. European media commenting today believe that decisions to ship arms to the rebels may be made within days. EU foreign affairs leaders say the embargo was lifted to put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's regime ahead of planned peace talks in Geneva mediated by the United States and Russia. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the decision "sends a very strong message from Europe to the Assad regime." But the decision was far from unanimous and exposed the EU hesitation on sending arms to a foreign conflict only months after the 27-member bloc won the Nobel Peace Prize. No one is intending to "rock the boat" by sending arms immediately during the delicate period before the Geneva conference, according to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who said lifting the embargo was an effort to force Syria to participate in good faith at the "Geneva II" talks tentatively scheduled for June. The EU is also maintaining its stiff economic sanctions against al-Assad's regime, which also sends a message - to Russia. Moscow continues to support al-Assad and openly sends weapons regularly to the regime. EU arms deliveries could partially re-balance the civil war when it comes to firepower and this could level the playing field and force al-Assad into a negotiated settlement. As in the Libya insurrection, it has been Britain and France - the EU's largest military powers - pushing the EU and America, this time in Syria, to lift its embargo on delivery of weapons into Syria to help the out-gunned opposition. Austria, which has sent peacekeepers to the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel, was opposed. Several other EU countries argued that the region already has too many weapons. Everyone seemed to agree that everything possible should be done to control exports and make sure they do not fall into the hands of extremists or terrorists. Hague said Britain would only send in weapons "in company with other nations, in carefully controlled circumstances, and in compliance with international law." French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius returned to Paris Monday to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who are leading the effort to bring the two Syrian sides to the negotiating table. In Paris, officials traveling with Kerry had no comment on the EU arms decision. Meanwhile, on Monday US Senator John McCain, who has long proposed the arming of Syrian rebels, crossed into Syrian territory to meet with Syrian rebel leaders. The leader of the Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, who accompanied McCain across the Turkey-Syria border, asked him for increased US support, including heavy weapons, a no-fly zone and airstrikes on Syrian government and Hezbollah forces. McCain, who is a fierce critic of Obama administration policy in Syria, has never recommended sending US ground troops into the country, but he has called for a no-fly zone in addition to arming the rebel forces. Last week the US Senate Armed Services Committee, with a Democrat majority, sided with GOP Senator McCain in voting to arm and train vetted rebel groups. And on another front, France's Fabius added to the chemical weapons debate on Monday, saying there are increasing signs that chemical weapons are being used in the war by the al-Assad regime. Fabius said there are indications that the regime is mixing toxic gases with tear gas to camouflage their presence. ~~~~~ So dear readers, we are watching the world, and even his own Democrat Party, begin to pull away from the non-intervention Syria policy of President Obamma. But it is probably too late to salvage the results through intervention that Obama hoped for by his hands-off policy. The extremists are mingling with rebel forces; the death toll is fast approaching 80,000; and the war has spread into Lebanon with the active participation of Hezbollah; and Israel is endangered. Non-intervention did not work. Intervention comes late. All we can hope for now is that Europe's threat to arm the Syria rebels will bring al-Assad to a negotiation that leads to some sort of settlement before the real result of Obama's failed policy - a generalized Middle East war - sucks the entire world into its maelstrom.


  1. Concerned CitizenMay 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    This massive whirlpool of chaotic disconnect between the US and the Middle East that the Obama administration has caused with it's lack of involvement and lack of any coherent Foreign Policy structure has lead to exactly this ... that Europe MUST come to the rescue of Syria and aid the Syrian Free Army.

    As you noted Casey Pops - nearly 80,000 dead Syrians and Obama is still without any viable plan to rescue the Syrian people from Assad. That's about 110 dead every day for the past 2 years.

    What in the world is the OBAMA DOCTRINE. can anyone out there tell us. The USA is a country adrift in the International waters of politics without a rudder or oars to guide America through these troubled times.

  2. De Oppressor LiberMay 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Americans should be concerned about what has been happening in Syria, if only because it threatens to become another undeclared war like Libya but much, much worse. If the largely secular and nationalist regime of Bashar al-Assad falls, pitting Sunni against Shia against Alawite. Indigenous Christians will be caught in the meat grinder. Ironically, many of the Christians in Damascus are Iraqis who experienced the last round of liberation in their own country and had to flee for their lives.

    All this is being done far too late. This is a Civil War that will be all about "ethnic cleansing" in the end.

    NATO is clandestinely engaging off and on in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey sometimes taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.

    Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council.

  3. A Tool 4 FreedomMay 28, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Syria, where our policy seems to boil down to just hope for the best, our failure to confront the situation and find a solution has led to a civil war on the verge of genocide, a bloody suppression, and complete instability in a volatile part of the world. Instead of sending a message of strength and support for human rights and freedom, this president sends silence for all the world to hear.

    In the Middle East we have come up on the wrong side every time under Obama's leadership and his lead from behind foreign policy.

    Iran, Egypt, Syria,Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and our biggest failure in foreign policy Israel. All disasters for the US. Irreputable damage to our standing in the Middle East and the world stage and to our closest ally - Israel.

  4. Stand Up And Be CountedMay 28, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    I use to think that Obama's legacy would be what he did or didn't do here at home in the US. But as his blunders and failures continue in foreign policy ... I do believe that that will be his Albatross and the cause and effect that will put him into the Jimmy Carter class of presidents.

    He has so badly failed in the Middle East that nothing short of a declared war there could be his salvation. Then again would he raise to the occasion and do what would be necessary ... NO probably he wouldn't.

    Europe needs to accept the fact (if they haven't already) that Obama is in above his head as president. The job requires more than he either has to offer or is willing to give.

    He seems top believe that the "job description" is centered around what he thinks needs done. When the essence of being president is defending the Constitution, defending our borders, defending our friends, alias, and people who need defending against evil and oppression.

  5. "Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)".
    Ayn Rand

  6. Concerned CitizenMay 29, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    I think a war in the Middle East is coming - PERIOD.

    Certainly it will be due to Obama's lack of courage and being proactive. But it will also be the result of what the Muslin Brotherhood and various other Muslin terrorists groups want... A CLEAR SHORT AT ELIMINATING ISRAEL.

    These radical groups don't care about the massive death and destruction that will be part of a full scale war. Their death, the citizens of the Middle East death, our soldier's death, the elderly inhabitants death, the children, etc, etc. make for NO NEVER MINDS. Death is the aims of these fundamentalist Muslin terrorists. They seek it out. their career path ending point. Their validation of their service to Mohammad.

    After all in a war death comes quickly for the most part. it is not a long drawn out, painful process, A stray bullet, a car bomb, an explosive wrapped shopper - that's all it takes... BANG your gone. And when life means NOTHING to the assailants killing is easy (I guess).

    This will be a war (short or long) that will be like NO other I think.

    My dad had the "pleasure" of participating in 3 customary wars. And upon my first tour of duty in Viet Nam he told me that Viet Nam was like no other war.

    But with the coming war in the Middle East KILLING will be the objective. Not land acquisition, not real politics, not even conversion to Islam of the masses. The goal will be the simple act of killing all the Infidels and Israelis possible.

    The fundamentalist Muslin's believe they can win this coming war because death will not be in their factoring of winning or losing. It's a war they want at any cost.

    Is it time for the civilized community of nations to consider a FIRST STRIKE to minimize the tragic death toll we are about to see.

  7. Stand Up And Be CountedMay 29, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    From my view point I believe that the future of the Syrian people lay not with what we wanted Obama to do a long time ago, but rather with what they want to occur and how badly they want it. Sort of like our own revolutionary war. We wanted France to come and help us, but we didn’t wait, we dug in and fought. A losing fight for a lot of the time but we went after them with whatever was at hand.
    We somehow managed to stay the course and won, maybe a sweeter victory because we did it mostly by ourselves.

    I don’t think that the Syrians who wish to vanquish Assad from power have enough fire power to beat the supplies from Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, al-Qaeda, Islamic brotherhood, and whoever else wants to enter the Syrian Civil War… which is taking on the early stages of WWIII.

    So the question is - does Obama rise to the challenge and assist the Syrian or will he continue evading the question. My guess is still the Syrians are on their own. And therefore the task may rest with Israel to defend themselves to the North.