Monday, July 23, 2012

The Kicking In Of A Rotten Door. Part Seven : The Road To Damascus Gets Bumpy.


It has been a very long time gentle reader. I must apologize I’ve been deep in the Gulag with Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn. He has been in my head thanks to the modern technology of audiobooks. 

But dear Aleks was interrupted by pressing news. Just a few days ago, on the 19th of July, 2012, Damascus exploded. A rather critical, if small, part of that city literally exploded. That part was in very inner sanctum of the Syrian regime, right under Bashar al-Assad over-large nose.

The world reaction to this bit of news was predictable. The United States went to the UN and attempted to impose greater sanctions. Russia and China vetoed the resolution in the Security Council; leaving the matter to fester.

The objections of both China and Russia make very little sense as anyone who has paid attention to the long March of history knows exactly where the present regime of Syria is going--straight into the dust bin. The very core of Ba’athist power has been breached. A group of malcontents were able to blow up military men at the very center of the Syrian Regime. A government leadership does not recover from that kind of thing. But with the Libyan example fresh in their minds, Russia and China have gotten in touch with their inner toddler and keep saying “no!” to any suggestions. There is not a whole lot of deep strategic thinking going on in Moscow nor Beijing I’m afraid, neither nation is thinking long term. Both seem to rather have Syria descend in to absolute chaos rather than have Western Hegemony advance a single millimeter further.

Thus Syria descends into another level of hell. The writing is on the wall dear reader. The powers that be in Damascus have been weighed and found wanting; only this time is not the farsi (the Persians) doing the weighing, it is the Syrian People.

The reckless slaughter brought about by Alawite militias on Sunnis has boomeranged badly on the Assad regime. Key personnel in the government, key groups are now eyeing the exits. The lynchpin of the regime, the Army, is disintegrating. Without a military you really can’t have a military dictatorship. That’s a bit of an oxymoron. There is no plan B for Bashar al-Assad if the military goes away. 
As if to bring this point to crystal clarity, the Free Syrian Army has tangled with the Syrian army in the major cities of Aleppo and Damascus. That Assad had to bring in the heavy armor just to secure the capitol is very worrisome if you are fan of the regime. The FSA is getting better at hit and run tactics and Syrian army has no real answers. It is all tactics and no strategy for the Army of Syria. And the tactics are ultimately counterproductive. 

By brutally suppressing the FSA, or at least trying to, the Syrian Army is helping to recruit new fighters for the FSA. Moral for the army continues to deteriorate as they play a deadly game of whack-a-mole with the guerillas.  With most of the Army being Sunnis, at least among the enlisted, there is no enthusiasm for supporting a murderous Alawite regime. Why stick your neck out? Why face possible charges of war crimes for those Alawi heretics?  May as well defect to the winning side when such a defection still has some value. 

The only real question here is how long it will take for the Assad government to fall. The regime is on the wrong side of historical power curve. Nothing that they can do can change that. The real question is does Assad hold out to the very bitter end, or does he cut a deal? Does Assad take up the offer of the Arab League, or does he follow the example of his fellow Ba’athist Saddam Hussein and end his days in some foul spider hole?

It is hard to guess what the exact end game of Assad will be. It is hard to guess what a post Assad Syria will look like. There are far too many imponderables. Just trying to figure what Bibi and the Israelis might do makes one’s head hurt. Bibi might go once more into the breach of South Lebanon. (There’s water in them thar hills and mountains.)

Also, with Assad and company struggling just to hang on, you just have to know that the house of cards that is Lebanon is going to rearrange itself in very unpleasant ways-- even if Bibi and company resist the temptation to big-foot there way into that small unstable nation.

Meanwhile the major hegemons have managed to neutralize each other and themselves. Washington is unable or unwilling to lead because it has no appetite for another intervention in Arab lands. Russia and China play a mostly negative role, afraid that the US will pull another mission creep like Libya, leaving Moscow and Beijing out in the cold again.  No one is willing to lead. No one is willing to follow. No one is even willing to get out of the way. 

Maybe the Syrian people will find a way to cut this Gordian Knot. Maybe they will find a way. In the end, it is up to them to create a new identity when Assad finally shuffles off the national stage. Still, I can not escape the feeling that far too much death and destruction will occur before even that possibly happens. 

I fear that Syria could become a failed state and vortex of chaos. I fear the Israelis would use the collapse of Syria to further entrench the suicidal idea of Greater Israel. I fear that the US would, not of its own accord, get sucked into that gaping maw. 

I then see our brave men and woman of the Armed Forces being maimed and killed in Syria for no good reason; men and women sent by craven fools who are trying to cover their political backsides. I can see brave patriots being sent by dilettantes who have never spent one day in the military; by people whose idea of Gand Strategy is informed by the "Risk" games they played in College. I have zero confidence in our present "leadership," both Democratic and Republican, to do anything right once they decide to intervine in Syria. 

My only hope that the people of Syria, who have been part of one or another civilization ever since people got the bright idea of walled cities, will find a way; that the nation will not subside into barbarism. It's a thin reed to place my hopes on, but it is the only reed I have.

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