Op-Ed: Syria and Serbia, Kurds and Israelis
Gerald A. HonigmanThe author is an educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Mid-East Affairs and has conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth. He gives lectures and participates in debates around the U.S. Read his new book to be found at http://q4j-middle-east.com.
American and possible other Western military action aimed against the Assad regime in Syria has suddenly become the "moral" and pressing issue of the day.
It seems that Syria actually used some of its enormous stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against Arabs instead of the "Zionist Entity", which is where they are meant to be used. In everyday language, WMD means poison gas - you know, what Iraq's Saddam "didn't have" once he had used them to kill thousands and transferred what was left to Syria. Who knows what the world reaction would have been had Assad used them against Israel? Of course, Syria, as it is known today, would probably cease to exist afterwards, but not because of the West's moral posturing.
Analysts whom I respect are talking about doing this the "right way" and cutting off the head of the snake - targeting the Assads themselves.
I don't want to see anyone gassed - or killed in any other way - as long as they're not targeting others first.
But, the West has ignored the true forces of moderation in Syria - and millions do exist, like the Kurds, some more tolerant Sunnis, some Christians, and Druze, for example, who begged for support. Instead, Obama's Washington, in particular, has been gravitating towards Muslim Brotherhood clones as long as they do not overtly wear al-Qaeda headbands. Recall that the war began back in spring, 2011, and poorly equipped, moderate militias, like "Sheikh Omar's" Ghurabaa al-Sham, were soon rendered incidental by the much better organized, funded, and equipped Islamist and Al-Qaeda groups such as Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra who then stepped in at the chance to take over the country.
Now, what I am going to state next may first sound a bit distasteful, but please think carefully about what I am saying.
Since the choice in Syria today, after the West ignored those early cries for support, really comes down to supporting a murderous, totalitarian despotic regime or enabling the creation of yet another murderous, totalitarian, Muslim Brotherhood/al-Qaeda-type state (which will undoubtedly be even less tolerant than that which it supplanted), my feelings are that the opponents should be allowed to continue to blow each other apart.
The reality is that the Islamists will do what they need to in order to gain sympathy and power (as was done in Morsi's Egypt and elsewhere), but will return to their true colors if they succeed. That, indeed, is part of Islamist teaching. Both sides use women and children as human shields - that is what Israel faces each time it has to go after the latter-day Arafatians of Fatah or other Islamists in Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
After both sides exhaust each other, perhaps there will then be a chance for the true forces of tolerance to make their move and actually gain some world support. And If it means Syria splitting tribally into at least 3 parts - with an independent Kurdistan bordering Iraqi Kurdistan, etc., for example, then so be it.
The reality in Serbia was the same as it is now--atrocities were being committed by both sides and had been going on for centuries.
There are about five million Arabized and non-Arabized Kurds in Syria. When representatives of the latter met with "moderate" Arab opposition forces in Washington recently, they had just one favor to ask. The Kurds and some others wanted the post-Assad state to be known as the Republic of Syria: instead of the Syrian Arab Republic. They were virtually laughed out of the room.
Unfortunately, that is the dominant ruler and ruled mentality in the so-called "Arab" world and it does not bode well for tolerance or Western-style democracy. It was typical, for example, for Kurdish children to be forced to use Arabic and adopt Arab culture in Syrian schools, among other measures. You can tell what is documented in Professor Ismet Cherif Vanly's book on the subject by glancing at its title, "The Syrian 'Mein Kampf' Against The Kurds" (Amsterdam, 1968).
As in Egypt, while there are some moderate forces in Syria, the best armed, organized, and most powerful are, once again, the Islamists who are funded and supplied by Arab oil potentates, Turks, and other like-minded sources. President Obama and the State Department seem to have an attraction for them as well. They will be the beneficiaries and successors to the Assads after we do unto the Alawis what we did unto the Serbs during President Clinton's days and for other deceptive reasons of State.
The reality in Serbia was the same as it is now in Syria - atrocities were being committed by both sides and had been going on for centuries. The first Battle of Kosovo was in 1389 with the Serbs trying to stop an earlier jihad, this one with Turks in the lead.
So, forgive me, but I disagree with Ambassador John Bolton, The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens and others with whom I am frequently on the same page.
Let's do nothing "explosive" right now, with the possible exception of trying to better organize, develop, protect, supply, and work with the true forces of moderation in that artificial country. This is something with which the State Department and our current President seem to have a problem.
While I am aware of some of the "complicating factors" involved in this (especially when the word "Kurd" is mentioned), similar complications do not seem to hinder President Obama's and the State Department's push for the creation of a destabilizing 22nd Arab state in the region for an artificial people - knowing that this will result in a new Fatahland or Hamastan, and regardless of the consequences for a minuscule Israel.
Furthermore, what's perhaps even more disturbing is that, after the dust settles, Washington would probably support the new Syrian Islamist regime in its attempt to squash the Kurds' - a real people's - bids for some semblance of justice and freedom after the Assads' exit.