Syria-Iran

Bird Dog's picture

The fears of militant Islamists taking over Egypt turned out to be overblown. The Muslim Brotherhood has joined the democratic process and, for the most part, have not precipitated violence, so they're not the real problem. The Egyptian military is and, to date, has failed to relinquish power. Rather, they are tightening their hold on power as noted here (by the way, the Sandmonkey's offending post that caused his suspension is now here).

In Syria, militant Islamists are a more serious problem. Strangely enough, Obama and al Qaeda policy are the same when it comes to the country's dictator, although the means obviously differ. Do uppity Sunnis and al Qaeda terrorists justify the repression and oppression of Bashar al-Assad, and does this justify his remaining power? To me, no. I'll always take the risk of upending the leader of an "not free" regime for the chance of a freer society. But still, it helps to be aware that a good number of rebels don't wear white hats. It looks like this uprising will not end soon. The Iranian de facto police state is aiding the Syrian de facto police state.

Western and Arab experts and diplomats estimate that the number of troops and advisers from the Quds force in Syria to be in the high hundreds or low thousands. They have set up at least one base in Zabadani near the capital Damascus.

In another to strangle freedom, the Iranian has cut off Internet access. Other than sanctions, there's always some good old-fashioned saber-rattling.

UPDATE: Andrew Exum has salient points against any American intervention in Syria. So does Marc Lynch. If Assad is going to be upended, the Syrians should do it themselves.

 

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You forgot to add the murder of an Iranian university professor

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mmghosh's picture

[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/11/bomb-kills-iranian-nuclear-scientist]into the mix[/url], probably an Israeli, or Israeli-US joint operation.  And the Iranians [url=http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/02/2012213124113985940.html]appear to have retaliated.[/url]  Sweetness and light all around, it seems.

And this is why you fail

(#274661)
HankP's picture

and will continue to fail:

 

I'll always take the risk of upending the leader of an "not free" regime for the chance of a freer society.

 

This is the neocon philosophy in a nutshell, and it's so blindingly stupid and utopian that it's hard to know where to begin in taking it apart. But let's start with a few obvious flaws:

 

- Real conservatives (not radicals, which neocons are) understand that society is a complex organization, and the idea of smashing it in the hopes that a better one will arise are similar to the idea that hitting a watch with a hammer will fix it.

 

- In this view the US arrogates the right to go anywhere in the world and kill whomever it wants to "see what will happen". This only makes sense to people who are children in a moral and intellectual sense. And then people are surprised at anti-Americanism

 

- "Not free" is a useless concept, and let's not bring up single number indexes that obscure more than they illuminate. It also has nothing to do with who we support and don't support in our foreign policy (see "Saudi Arabia").

 

- More than anything else, it assumes that there is some sort of general "interest" that all countries can agree on. This is a naive and incorrect assumption.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Eh

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Bird Dog's picture

Hank proclaims it, therefore it is so, and for knowing what "real conservatives" think about things. Too funny.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

OMG someone is expressing an opinion!

(#274672)
HankP's picture

one that does have support in the words of Edmund Burke:

 

The very idea of the fabrication of a new government, is enough to fill us with disgust and horror. We wished at the period of the Revolution, and do now wish, to derive all we possess as an inheritance from our forefathers. Upon that body and stock of inheritance we have taken care not to inoculate any cyon [scion] alien to the nature of the original plant

 

and more recently Russell Kirk:

 

It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

 

... but what do they know about conservatism?

 

However, I do think it's wise that you refrain from actually addressing any of the points I raised.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Thank you,

(#274710)
Bird Dog's picture

for showing that you can cherry-pick what conservatives have said to fit your ideology.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Yes, evidence = cherry picking

(#274789)
HankP's picture

please feel free to show how traditional conservatism consists of seeking monsters abroad.

I blame it all on the Internet

Burke was in favor of the...

(#274792)
Bird Dog's picture

...resistance of arbitrary power, which explained his general support for the American revolution and initial support of the French revolution. Kirk's interpretation is more Paulish in nature. So, yes, you're cherry-picking and making overly broad generalizations. Ho hum.

Also, you apparently made the wrong assumption that I favored some sort of intervention in Syria since as you apparently tied the "neocon philosophy" to me. I don't support intervention, as my update attested. Apparently, you were too busy figuring out how to attack your political enemy instead of bothering to read diaries.

Also, I advised caution in a previous diary when it came to the Obama administration weighing interventionist options. So once again, either your memory is faulty or you're just engaging in more liberal fascism by attacking those Forvm members who don't conform to your left-wing ideology, not to mention trying to attack a commenter for its own sake, which used to be a PRV back in the day. Pathetic. Just put the spoon down and stop the banging.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I never said that you wanted to intervene in Syria

(#274794)
HankP's picture

I was commenting on one statement which you stated was representative of your belief in foreign interventions. And that belief is wrong IMO and is representative of the neocon view of remaking the world. It's also reflected in the beliefs many people had about Iraq, which were subsequently proven wrong in a painful and expensive way. So you can complain but that's my opinion and I'm free to post it here.

 

Burke supported the American revolution specifically because he believed it was a political separation while preserving the Englishness of American society. He opposed the French revolution when it became apparent that it was a radical remaking of society along lines he didn't approve of. Specifically, he supported the aristocracy because he thought it was "natural". But he opposed Imperialism, which is the point here - he even opposed British Imperialism in Ireland and India. So to claim that he's against foreign interventions just to shake things up isn't cherry picking in any way.

 

And to call Russell Kirk "Paulish" is pretty funny. Conservatism didn't start with Reagan.

I blame it all on the Internet

That's what you call...

(#274800)
Bird Dog's picture

...trying to have it both ways when it comes to intervention. You're wriggling.

As for Burke, the phrase "arbitrary power" means something. He became opposed to the French revolution only after it became apparent that the arbitrary power of the revolutionary government was no better than the monarchy. The Syrian people could very well make a Burkean case for removing the Syrian dictator, in part because of the way he is ruling his country in part since Assad cannot claim that his rule is by birthright or monarchy.

As for Kirk, duh. This is just you being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Quite tedious.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

It could be bloody revolution just for a Weimar Republic

(#274667)
brutusettu's picture

[quote]This is the neocon philosophy in a nutshell[/quote]

It feels like a good idea in the gut though.

[quote]the idea of smashing it in the hopes that a better one will arise are similar to the idea that hitting a watch with a hammer will fix it.[/quote]

I would guess it's more like the idea basically guaranteeing higher death tolls and risking very bloody civil war level death tolls in the hopes something gets better, which just might lead to much bloodier conflicts not far down the line. Which is basically the exact same thing you said, but I put some mention of Spes possibly dropping by in there.

Are you kidding?

(#274788)
HankP's picture

something like the Weimar Republic would be a huge, huge success compared to what we're seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I blame it all on the Internet

There`s no success like failure

(#274666)

Bound to fail may be correct but as long as others pay the costs for the risks BD and others so willingly assume, I see no change in sight. (There`s no success like failure, is a line from Bob Dylan`s song.)

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Obama and al Qaeda

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I dont think it is so strange that Obama and al Qaeda have the same goals. Al Qaeda is essentially an extention of Saudi Arabia, the most important middle east ally to the US after Israel. Al Qaeda want to replace secular rulers in muslim countries with fundamentalist religious governments. The dreaded Caliphate of al Qaeda ranting is nothing more than an expansion of Saudi influence over countries such as Libya, Syria and Egypt. US is enthusiastically backing this. There was a massive arms deal between the two countries recently.


In Egypt, the Muslim Botherhood and the Loyal Opposition, the Salafists, dont need to perpetrate violence against the public. The army does that. The problem with Eygpt´s elected officials is not that they were responsible for the massacre of dozens of christians some months ago, but that they have so little to say about it.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Al Qaeda an extension of KSA?

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Bird Dog's picture

Spurious.

The arms deal between the US and KSA was more to send a message to another theocratic regime, Iran. Al Qaeda and Iran are on reasonably friendly terms despite Sunni-Shia differences.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

the links between Iran and Al Qaeda

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I am curious about the links between Iran and Al Qaeda. Can you supply more information about this? I wasnt aware that such activists were on reasonably friendly terms with the heretics in Iran.

Obviously al qaeda is a shadowy group and we cant say for certain what they are doing, or even if they exist. The links between violent salafist fundamentalists and Saudi Arabia are well documented. If you dont want to call them `al qaeda` for whatever reason that is your choice.

 

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

it should be aired.

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I believe you are confused about links between al Qaeda and Iran. I believe instead of al Qaeda you mean the revolutionary guards, a militia in Iran closely linked to the Islamic regime. It was this group, the Revolutionary Guards which was accused of plotting the assassinations of Saudi diplomats in Washington not long ago, and this group is mentioned in some of the links as being involved in shoring up the Syrian government.

Though, like al qaeda, the Revolutionary Guards are muslim and ready to resort to violence, I dont think it profitable to confuse the two. Different people and different aims. Still if you have evidence that al qaeda is friendly with government of iran, and is working to advance the interests of Iran rather than Saudi Arabia, it should be aired.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

some disreputable blogs

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Are there, as I suspected, no links between al qaeda and Iran? What else could account for your silence?


I checked using google and there was nothing on the relationship except in some disreputable blogs touting that story. Are these your source? They are no better than the anonymous government and military spokesmen you usually pin your more dubious assertions on.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Links

(#274992)
Bird Dog's picture

People get busy, Micky.

The 9/11 Report outlines a series of cooperative links between Iran and al Qaeda (links). There are more recent reports of stengthening ties between the two. And here's something from a disreputable blog.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I hadnt till now thought this was controversial

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Dont you find the sourcing a bit thin? Did you actually read the report from the Treasury Department? What about it did you find so convincing? Sorry for all the questions but I'm quite surprised.


I have always thought that al qaeda was essentially salafist in orientation, an ideology that see Shiites as heretics and enemies. I hadnt till now thought this was controversial in any way.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

That last is a bit of projection.

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mmghosh's picture

The Saudis were not happy with the late Mr bin Laden.  9/11 was not planned by the Saudi state, either.  To regard al-Q as a rogue development, blowback etc is probably a better description.

I'm not so sure.

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Some grey there most likely - it does seem the Saudis are supporting AQ like activities in Iraq.


 


I'm not aware of any links between Iran and AQ. Maybe they're like the ones between Sadam and AQ.

I met a PhD student

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I`m not talking about the 9-11 attacks, and I have no idea the extent of Saudi and others involvement in them, but rather the actions today against secular arab nations. Bin Laden is not relevant. I think rogue operations can be used to further a state`s interest.

 

I met a PhD student of international relations the other day, a specialist on the middle east, no less, and he was saying the same thing, that if when we read `al qaeda`, we can safely substitute `Saudi interests´ and this will help us understand a little more about what is going on. This student is not American, to be sure, but Australian. With all the American PhD students reading and writing here, i `d be interested if they`d run across anything similar. Bird Dog, who I think is in business, and not a scholar, has noted the strange coincidence of US, Saudi and al qaeda interests for the first time.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh