Op-Ed: AIPAC: Stop Lobbying for a US-Syria Attack!
Mark LangfanThe writer, who specializes in security issues, has created an original...
As a Jewish security-essayist who for 18 months has vigorously argued for US lethal support for the Syrian Rebels, I say AIPAC is courting disaster in actively lobbying for the Congressional resolution for a US Syria attack. What's worse, I believe AIPAC is writing Israel's death warrant.
At the outset, I want to make clear that I have consistently publicly opined that the US must support the Syrian rebels. I have argued then, and now, that Assad must be toppled because it is in the supreme national security interest of the United States.
I believe the Assad Regime, as a geographically pivotal Iranian proxy, must be defeated at all costs. Assad's demise would be an essential element to the permanent destruction of Iran's nuclear adventure to control all of the Persian Gulf's oil reserves it doesn't presently control.
I have repeatedly argued that US support of the Syrian Rebels is no less necessary, distasteful, and gruesome today, than was the US supplying Stalin in our fight against Hitler in World War 2. I believe Assad-equals-Iranian nukes, no Assad-equals-no Iranian nukes.
Nevertheless, as much I have supported the Syrian rebels, I believe AIPAC's lobbying Congress to push passage is a catastrophe for Jews, Israel, and America for the following reasons:
1)American Jews are blindly supporting President Obama on a complex foreign policy issue Obama has self-created from his own appeasement policies, and no one knows exactly what Obama's plan really is. If Obama's "strategy" in his upcoming Syrian attack is as incoherent as his strategy for the last 5 years, it will end in a disaster for America and Israel. An AIPAC and the American Jews will be rightly held directly responsible because AIPAC actively supported it.
2)As a prime example of Obama's Syrian "policy" incoherence: Why hasn't Obama sent a single rifle to the rebels although he was expressly congressionally authorized to do so three months ago, but now seeks a special additional authorization to fire a few cruise missiles against buildings that are likely empty or are housing human shields? Instead of first lobbying to empower the rebels to protect themselves, AIPAC is lobbying for the US to kill Muslims without the UN and Arab League mandate.
3) Obama's invoking Israel as a reason to stop the Shiite chemo-genocidal massacre of Sunnis in Syria is as inaccurate as having invoked Israel as the reason to militarily reverse Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Obama's incendiary linkage of the safety of Israel to the legitimacy of his attack on Syria achieved nothing except to give Assad legitimate reason to counter-attack Israel. Instead of delimiting Hezbollah's likely counter-attack on Israel, Obama maximized the likelihood and severity of Iran's counter-response.
4) AIPAC's active involvement in lobbying for the Obama attack will be correctly seen by the Iran-Syrian axis as a casus belli of Israel against Syria. Hence, AIPAC's lobbying has only guaranteed there will be a horrific, possibly even unconventional, blow-back against Israel. AIPAC isn't prudently lobbying for the safety of Israelis, they're lobbying for the safety of Obama's foreign policy.
5) AIPAC is wading into an issue where there a is strong majority of Americans who - reasonably - vehemently believe we shouldn't get overtly involved in Syria. AIPAC has now given the Jew-hating Buchanans of the world an actual legitimate basis on which to attack American Jews and their "lobby." Instead of publicly making the case to the American public, AIPAC's direct lobbying of Congress on an issue likely to result in dead american soldiers is a gross abuse of AIPAC's moral capital.
6) AIPAC's political shilling for the Democrat Obama is transparent to the Republicans. AIPAC's gambit will be seen as a purely political ploy. Where was AIPAC for the last 2 years when Assad was genocidally murdering 119,000 Sunnis because they were Sunni? Why now, all of a sudden, when Obama wants an inexplicable "unnecessary" authorization for an action he claims he's already authorized? Has AIPAC lost its reason?
To the Republicans the answer will be simple: AIPAC is in Obama's political camp, not a steady bi-partisan lobby for American Jews wanting a secure Israel, a vital American security interest.
7) AIPAC is advocating for an American strike where (given Syrian Yakhont missiles) US forward-deployed forces are thin, at best, and wholly insufficient at worst. The US forces seem prepared to attack from far away(Tomahawks have a range well over 1000 miles), but not to absorb a close-in Syrian counter-attack. Syria possesses Russian deadly Yakhont missiles that have a range of 300 kilometers from the Syrian shoreline. This will limit a close-in US deployment without a preliminary massive debilitating US first-strike which clearly isn't in the cards.
This again means a much greater likelihood of a Syrian counter-strike (most likely against Israel) where Israel will have to fight alone.
To compound the escalation problem, US Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh recently stated that, because of the sequester, in Syria, "We are not going to be as ready as we would like." Gen. Welsh added that two capabilities likely needed would be F-16CJ Wild Weasels, which are specially configured for suppression of enemy air defenses, and F-22s. Squadrons of both those capabilities were also grounded earlier this year, "That's not a good place to be for us," he said.
Last month, Air Combat Command chief General G. Michael Hostage III was also quoted saying “If Syria blows up or Iran blows up or North Korea blows up, I don’t have a bunch of excess forces I can immediately shift to that conﬂict. I’m going to have to pull them from other places.”
So, is AIPAC lobbying for a war where Obama starts it, can't defend anybody from a Syrian counter-attack, and Israel is left to finish it at Israel's cost in blood?
In conclusion, after 5 years of Obama's pro-appeasement, pro-Iranian, anti-Saudi, anti-Israel foreign policy, Obama's "legitimacy" with our allies is at a longtime low. In fact, Congress' rejection of Obama's Syrian policy might raise the "legitimacy" of the Congress because it would then have rejected Obama's current overall appeasement foreign policy.
For 5 years AIPAC has passively watched Obama refuse to draw any red-lines on Iran's nuclear program, which is the real existential danger to the US and Israel. But, when it comes it an Obama ad-libbed red-line on the chemical weapons that killed a fraction of the 120,000 dead Syrians, AIPAC goes into lobbying mode for an undefined, limited, slap-on-the-wrist attack. If, G-d-forbid, US body-bags come back from Obama's misadventure, the Jews of America should expect virulent anti-Semitism as a direct result of the ill-advised lobbying.
American Jews got wrongly accused of pushing America into the Iraqi war, despite the fact that the then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly warned Bush against it. AIPAC has positioned Jews as the scapegoat once more. Catastrophically, American Jews will be excoriated for actively pushing America into a war.