(VIDEO: Fareed Zakaria Before Obama Intervened)
President Barack Obama has decided to begin giving weapons to Al-Qaeda linked rebels in Syria. Beyond seemingly invalidating all of the anti-terrorism policies the Obama Administration has used to kill American citizens without due process is the issue of geopolitics. Many are weighing in with claims that America’s strategy for intervening in the Syrian Civil War is a bad idea.
The Syrian revolution isn’t democratic or secular; the more than 90,000 fatalities are the result of a civil war, not a genocide — and human rights violations have been committed on both sides.
Moreover, the rebels don’t have the support or trust of a clear majority of the population, and the political opposition is neither credible nor representative. Ethnic cleansing against minorities is more likely to occur under a rebel-led government than under Mr. Assad; likewise, the possibility of chemical weapons’ falling into the hands of terrorist groups only grows as the regime weakens
That is getting lost here. This is not Darfur or as Bill Clinton may infer Rwanda. This is a sectarian civil war where the Sunni majority is taking on a Shiite aligned government as part of a larger factional struggle in the region.
Strangely, despite having committed to arming the rebels, Mr. Obama has yet to exhaust diplomatic efforts, which were inadequate and poorly constructed from the start. The White House’s actions and rhetoric have deprived diplomacy of its most basic prerequisites. Once it called for Mr. Assad to step down in August 2011, the United States fully abdicated the role of a credible arbiter — the core ingredient for eventually moving civil wars toward power-sharing arrangements. Then Washington insisted that Mr. Assad’s departure was required for a political transition to begin. (Its position only recently evolved; now America believes negotiations must end with Mr. Assad’s departure.)
In what world is that a way to launch peace talks? America is not neutral (and to be fair never has been) but starting off negotiations by claiming one of the parties at the talks must leave power is not going to advance the ball very far.
Getting in the middle of a regional conflict like Syria may even be dumber than Iraq, which is really saying something. And what if the rebels win? Then Al-Qaeda and friends come to power. After they are done massacring the losers and sectarian minorities they can help launch attacks against America. The Syrian intervention is all kinds of stupid.