Posted on 27-08-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

With Secretary Kerry’s speech Monday American military intervention into the Syrian quagmire seems inevitable.  Last year Barack Obama allowed himself to be backed into a corner by saying that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government constituted a red line.  Last week that line appeared to be crossed as horrific images of casualties from a nerve gas attack near Damascus emerged.

So like Libya, a human rights calamity is driving the United States to war.  The Syrian government and their Russian patron have of course denied that they used chemical weapons.  With the military balance slowly tilting in its favor the use of chemical weapons at this juncture is puzzling.  However the United States enters into a quagmire that it will be hard to extricate itself from.

Stupid comparisons to the Kosovo intervention have started.  The virtues of air power are once again being touted.  Yet in Kosovo the Yugoslav government only capitulated when the exasperated American government intimated that boots on the ground were on their way.  Here boots on the ground have been ruled out.  After the example of Libya the Russians are adamantly against any regime change.

American airstrikes by themselves are unlikely to solve this conflict.  Unlike Gaddafi, the Baath regime is backed by communities like the Alawites who have every reason to fear a massacre.  The Syrian opposition itself is now dominated by radical jihadists so the merits of them replacing the brutal Baathist regime can be debated.

But after a year, the warmongerers have their wish.  America is about to militarily intervene in an ethnic conflict where it has absolutely no idea as to the end result it wants or can achieve.  The suffering of the Syrian people is appalling.  However, the explanations as to why an exhausted America must be the gendarme of the world are not compelling.

It does not bode well for the prospects of war with another country in the region where Barack Obama against his better judgment was compelled by the outcry from the media, the right-wing and the Israeli government to draw a line in the sand – Iran.

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