Irrespective of Israel, Free World inaction in the face of non-conventional military systems in the hands of rogue regimes – such as Assad, or worse yet the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda – aggravates the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and beyond; transforms tactical threats to strategic threats; adrenalizes Iran’s megalomaniac aspirations and pursuit of nuclear capabilities; poses a lethal threat to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing, pro-US Arab countries; makes chemical and biological weaponry easily accessible to the growing number of anti-US Islamic terrorists and emboldens the scores of terrorist sleeper cells on the US mainland. Therefore, non-conventional military systems in Syria, constitutes a clear and present danger to vital US economic and national security interests.
However, when you sow the wind, expect the whirlwind. A policy of misconceptions, inconsistency and ambiguity has provided a tailwind to the Arab Tsunami, while intensifying public ambivalence about the increasingly anti-US, fragmented, shifty, unpredictable, treacherous, violently intolerant and chaotic Arab Street.
For instance, upon entering the White House in 2009, President Obama initiated a policy of multi-nationalism (shaped by Samantha Power, a personal friend and one of Obama’s mentors on foreign policy), considering the UN to be the quarterback of international relations, while disavowing American exceptionalism and leadership, apologizing for past US unilateral actions and preferring to lead from behind. As expected, but contrary to Obama’s policy expectations, the US was deserted by the international community – especially by NATO – when faced with the Syrian challenge.
In response, Obama reasserted America’s power projection, announcing a forthcoming unilateral US military operation against Syria, which (unlike a declaration of war) does not require Congressional authorization. Nevertheless, Obama swiftly mellowed the threat to Syria, passing the buck to Congress and putting any military operation on hold. Furthermore, he has subordinated America’s independence of national security action to a multinational initiative by Russia, the core supporter of Assad, the lead obstacle to effective sanctions on Iran, the key supplier of advanced missiles to Iran and Syria and the chief adversary of the US in the UN Security Council, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Thus, the US is collaborating with a Russian ploy to advance the delusional option of international inspection – and not obliteration – of non-conventional weaponry, which has failed in North Korea and Iran, undermining critical US interests.
On September 6, 2013, Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, stated: “we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran – itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 – to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people.” Power’s assumption was resoundingly refuted by Ali Akbar Velayati, a national security adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “An Attack on Syria is considered an attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.” It was equally demolished by Russia bolstering military reinforcement to both Syria and Iran.
Secretaries of State, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were members of a tiny group of US legislators that believed – until the recent atrocities in Syria – that Bashar Assad was a generous, constructive leader, a reformer and a man of his word. Kerry was a frequent flyer to Damascus, dining with Assad and his wife, considering Hafez and Bashar Assad partners for peace.
On September 3, 2013, Kerry assured Senator Johnson (R-WI) that “the Syrian opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation.” And in the House hearings, he told Congressman McCaul (R-TX) that “there is real moderate opposition that exists” and that it is “getting stronger.” Just like earlier references to the imploding Arab Street as “the Facebook revolution” and “transition to democracy,” so has Kerry subordinated the grim reality of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda-dominated Syrian opposition to an oversimplified vision of the Middle East. Thus, while Assad’s goals are confined to the boundaries of Syria, the mission of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda transcends Syria, sweeping Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the “Abode of Islam,” as a prelude to the grand assault on the “Abode of the Infidel.” Both the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda are anti-US, Islamic supremacists, Shariah-driven, anti-democracy, violently intolerant of fellow-Muslims and the “infidel” and pursue their imperialistic vision via conventional and terroristic means.
In Syria – just like all other Arab countries – the weaker the traditional autocratic-military regime, the stronger the transnational Islamic terrorism becomes. However, John Brennan, the CIA Director and Obama’s mentor on international terrorism, does not recognize the existence of Islamic or Jihadist terrorism. On August 6, 2009, John Brennan presented his worldview, stating: “The President does not describe this [challenge of Islamic terrorism] as a ‘war on terrorism….’ Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against Jihadists…. Jihad meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal ….”
The attainment of worthy US national security goals – such as a surgical obliteration of the Syrian infrastructure of chemical weapons – does not require boots on the ground. It requires realism, clarity, determination and consistency.