So the United States government is whining about Assad killing some of his own citizens. The same United States government that has killed probably a million Iraq civilians over the course of its twenty-five-year long war against Iraq’s civilian population, and furthermore, has completely written its own genocides against its own peoples out of its history books. But wait, that’s right, the Native Americans that we committed atrocities against — killing thousands of women and children — weren’t really people. Because they weren’t white. Alrighty, then!
So anyhow, White House spokesperson Nazi Spice went on to say that Assad was worse than Hitler, because at least Hitler didn’t gas his own citizens. Then a reporter asked, “What about the Holocaust?” and Nazi Spaie went on to explain, “but that was against people gathered into Holocaust Centers.” Which, I guess, are like daycare centers. Except more Holocaust-y.
Most ridiculous of all is the notion that Assad has any real control over things in the first place. He’s basically a figurehead, an English-educated eye doctor who is head of the Alawite sect. The Alawite sect wants to be on top in Syria because the last time they weren’t, the Sunni majority tried to genocide them, a genocide that failed only because French troops marched in after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and started shooting people. The Alawites then flocked to the French side and ended up dominating the Syria Corps that was comprised of Syrian natives who’d volunteered for the French Army. This Syria Corps became the Syrian Army in 1946 upon Syrian independence from France, with a primarily Alawite officer corps, and then the Army staged a coup in 1949 that put the Army — and thus the Alawites — in charge. There’s been multiple governments in Syria since then, but since 1970 when Poppa Assad took over in yet another military coup, Syria’s government as well as its army has been dominated by the Alawites.
So, what happens if Assad gets killed? Well, another Alawite takes over. They aren’t going to stop fighting. They view this as a war of survival. The Alawi feel that if the Sunni Islamists take over, they’re going to exterminate every single Alawi as a heretic and just on general principle. We’re talking hundred-year-old grudges here, people — long predating the involvement of the United States in the region.
So: nothing the United States does there is going to make the Alawi stop fighting. We can kill Assad. We can kill whatever #2 steps up in place of Assad. It won’t matter. The Alawi view it as a war of survival — if they lose, they’re likely to be exterminated to the last man, woman, and child. Nothing the United States does there is going to make the Alawi “fight fair”. The Alawi aren’t interested in how many Sunni women and children end up dead, they’re interested in winning the war so that they don’t get exterminated, in their view it’s either “them” or “us” and the Alawi are more interested in their own survival than in the survival of some Sunni Arabs in a world overrun with Sunni Arabs.
In short, this is the sort of conflict that the United States has no business being in. The Sunni view themselves as getting vengeance for a hundred years of Alawite offenses against their community, and the Alawi view it as a matter of simple survival. Nothing we do short of spending a trillion dollars invading Syria with hundreds of thousands of troops is going to stop all this slaughter, and even then, all we would be able to do would be to reduce it to the slow murmur that we brought it to in Iraq, a slow murmur that went back to full scale sectarian war once we pulled out. And do the American people have the stomach for a *third* war in the Middle East? More importantly, does the United States military even have the resources anymore for such a war? We wore out a shit-ton of equipment in Iraq-nam and Afghanis-nam, and we haven’t made a whole lot of equipment to replace it. The factory that built the M-2 Bradley troop carrier is now a soccer stadium. The factory that made engines for the M1 Abrams has been dismantled, and its worn-out tooling is now at an army depot but not being used to make new engines. And so forth. The U.S. military is worn out, and U.S. industry appears to be incapable of fixing the problem given that we, well, just don’t have much industry left here other than the auto industry.
My guess: We aren’t going to invade Syria.
My guess, plus $3, will get you a crappy cup of coffee at Starbucks.
– Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin