Monday, October 5, 2015

The war in Syria

ISIL has reported destroyed the ancient arches at Palmyra. 

As everyone knows, the bitter civil war in Syria continues on, with a growing humanitarian crises as the result.

Russia has now intervened, and in the past week the Russian air force has flown 60 combat missions in support of the Syrian government.  Western forces, in the same time period, report having flown about 16 against ISIL.  The Russian ones are directed at enemies of the Assad regime in general.

The Russians are taking a lot of Western criticism for propping up Assad, and their support has likely kept him from falling so far.  But close observers of this situation know that the Russians are gravely worried about ISIL recruitment of Chechen Islamic fighters, with those fighters returning to Chechnya.  They have reason to be concerned, as it does seem to be occurring.  The Russian position in Syria is no doubt self serving, but they may have a more realistic view of the potential victors than we do.

We seem to have thought, early on, that any opponent of a fascistic regime is a democrat. We certainly now know that's not true, as one of the primary victorious forces, so far, in Syria has been ISIL.  Chances are very good that should Assad, whom we justifiably have no love for, falls, the replacement will be some species of radical Islamic theocracy.  In the current environment, that may well prove to be something that's worse than Assad, and unlike Egypt, where we briefly saw that occur to a lesser degree, there's no long standing army with its own traditions and institutions that would be ready to step in and effect a coup in the name of some species of reason.  Should Assad go down, his army is going down with him, and if he goes down to ISIL, which is what seems the most likely outcome should he fall, that army's equipment will equip ISIL. 

And ISIL in turn will turn towards killing the Christians and likely anyone who is not a Sunni.

It's nice to believe, as Americans do, that at heart everyone is a democrat. But that can't be the basis for an international policy, as it isn't true.  In Syria, there's only one combatant with a serious chance of winning the war that's somewhat Western in its outlook. Unfortunately for us, that Western outlook is fascistic, which of course was a product of the West.  But we have to serious question whether we would prefer a fascist regime or an Islamic radical regime in power, and those are the choices.  Chances are, quite frankly, we're better off, or at least were better off before completely alienating it, with the fascistic one, which we could at least pressure and which would at least not have been an anti Christian, anti Druze, anti Shiia, anti Alowite, theocracy.

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