Category Archives: Syria

Goodbye Syria

Since the opening days of rebellion against the dictatorship of President Assad in Syria, there has been blood flowing in the streets of Syria. The growing numbers of dead has progressed year after year until when we see a new number, our minds are so numbed that we ignore it, and go on with  our evening meal. One day it is a hundred thousand dead, the next month it is two hundred thousand dead, and now it appears Russian, Syrian and other allies of  Assad are ready to give the final blow to wipe out the Syrian people who oppose Assad.

Russian planes are ready to completely demolish any and all rebel forces currently in the eastern section of the city of Aleppo. They will bomb,they will destroy,they will wipe out any and all rebel forces. Reality, we Americans are so consumed about the latest nonsense of Trump/Pence, we pay no attention to what is happening in the death throes of the Syrian people. Here today, all gone tomorrow!

Death In Syria

Death is not taking a holiday in Syria. The city of Aleppo for the past few  years has been divided between forces representing the Syrian government, and rebel insurgents. Rebels control about 25% of the city and government troops control the  other 75%. It is rather a strange situation to have a city divided in the midst of  a civil war. Russian planes and Syrian planes are bombing and bombing rebel sectors of the city. They have specifically targeted hospitals, and it is now clear there are no important medical facilities still working to meet the needs of those who are wounded or sick.

A nurse reported the situation: “you cannot imagine what we see every day. Children are coming to us in body parts. We collect the body parts and wrap them in shrouds and bury them.” This is happening in the 21st century, not in the Nazi Holocaust of the 1940s.

Oops, Bombed The Wrong Guys

It is not surprising that American planes bombed the wrong guys the other day in Syria. Of course the real issue is exactly who are the “right guys” to bomb. A US air force spokesman admitted that a bombing carried out in Deir al-Zour to wipe out members of ISIS sort of wiped out about forty or so Syrian soldiers. I guess they where in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just imagine being in Syria in a plane going hundreds of miles an hour, gazing down and seeing people, who the hell knows if they belong to ISIS or al Qaeda or the Free Syrian
Army. They got  weapons is all one knows.

The Russian government blamed failure on the part of the United States to coordinate its bombing mission with Russia for the debacle. The Syrian government, however, offered the real reason for this bombing, the United States is an ally of ISIS!

Cease Fire In Syria?

A few days ago US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian diplomats and they agreed that tomorrow there would be a cease fire in Syria. Of course, it has been months,if not years,since peace and quiet reigned in this sad nation. Naturally, the past two days Russian planes bombed and bombed. After all, what does one do in preparation for a cease fire–bomb away since you, technically, will not be supposed to be bombing away. There are numerous deaths in this prelude to a cease fire.

Prediction: people will die during the cease fire. Bombs will be dropped since this “cease fire”does not include bombing ISIS or al Qaeda. Somehow, some where, bombs will wind up falling on the innocent. Their problem is they are in Syria,and anyone, any time is an open target for the Russians.  I realize Donald Trump agrees with these Russians. I suspect his Great Plan for Syria is to join with Russia and bomb away.

Democracy Dying Daily In Turkey

I confess to mixed feelings about the recent failed coup in Turkey. One one hand, thee is need to end the rule of  President Erdogan who has stifled democracy in Turkey. As a result of the failed coup he has already fired  25,000 teachers, 1,500 Deans of colleges, 20,000 government officials, and arrested one third of generals and admirals in the armed forces. Not a single one of these people was presented with any criminal charges, they will not have a fair trial–that is, if they actually have a trial.

If the coup had succeeded then Turkey at this moment would have been the scene of another Syria. Conservative Muslims would have picked up arms and initiated a civil war that would make the Syrian a side show. A Turkish civil war would have sent over 2,000,000 Turks into the EU which would have created a disaster.We express our sorrow for the people of Turkey as they witness the end of democracy in their nation.

Turkey, Nation Doomed

Since becoming, first the prime minister, and then the President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan has increasingly gained complete control of the nation. A democracy increasingly has become the personal domain of Recep Erdogan. A group of Army officers attempted to overthrown the president, and the coup was crushed. Nearly 20,000 people, army officers, lawyers, judges,government officials, and journalists have been arrested. The days of democracy in Turkey are getting fewer and fewer.

Much as we wish a real revolution could have swept Erdogan from power,its defeat bodes well for the world. A successful coup would have transformed Turkey into a giant Syria mess. Once this civil war began, millions of Turks would have attempted to enter the EU causing chaos and allowing right wing fanatics to gain power in France, Italy, Hungary and Poland. It would have been the end of the European Union. Alas, people of Turkey, the failure  of the coup avoided an even greater tragedy.

So, What About Syria?

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have made income inequality the main issue in their contest to become the candidate for president, but one more terrorist attack and  many Americans will be more interested in physical security than financial security. Neither candidate has offered any sort of foreign policy program that deals with this key issue. There is a large segment of the American population that is scared stiff. So, what can Bernie or Hillary offer that might address this issue?

1. It is time to be realistic. It is time to call for a new anti-terror alliance that involves the US, Europe, Russia and Iran.

2. During World War II the US and England formed an alliance with the Soviet Union. Yes, the Soviet Union was led by a dictator who would make Vladimir Putin come across as a choir boy. But, VICTORY was the name of the game.

3. Iran has boots on the ground in Syria–the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, so let the US offer Special Operations and air might.

4. It is time to make clear to Turkey the Kurds are part of the anti-terrorist equation.

Yes, terrorism can be defeated in Syria. So, Bernie and Hillary, offer a damn plan!

Putin Scores A Goal For Russia

No, Barack Obama is not responsible for problems in the Middle East, but he IS responsible for failure to develop a coherent diplomatic strategy for the region. A few years ago I asked students in a graduate course dealing with international relations as to how would they describe America’s foreign policy in the Middle East, not a single student had any conception. On the other hand, Russian leader Vladimir Putin HAS been pursuing a foreign policy. What is it?

1. Create an  image that Russia is a powerful nation which shapes world policy.

2. Enter the Syrian mess with a short term strategy of attacking anti-Assad forces and then getting the  hell out of there. Obama has insisted that ANY policy that dealt with Syria would result in America getting bogged down in Syria. Putin has proved there were other alternatives other than -full military commitment to the region or NO involvement.

3. Putin pulled off a fast one. He is now a key figure in determining what now happens in Syria. Any American led effort must now meet the approval of Vladimir Putin.

4. In one sense, the Putin policy simply buys time for President Assad, it is specifically a short term policy that enables Russia to accomplish short term goals in Syria while still retaining the option to get the hell out of there.

The question remains– did the Obama administration have other options in  Syria other then get involved or remain out?  Reality is that President Obama never had any policy other than –have nothing to  do with the Syria calamity.

So, What About Syria?

It has become increasing clear that neither General Trump nor General Cruz have much to offer about  the situation in Syria. I know they want to carpet bomb some place but just about every place in Syria has been bombed and bombed. At this moment, believe it or not, there is a strange quiet in this forlorn area of the world. The guns are sort of silent, trucks with food are creeping into isolated cities, and just about every group has reached the point of exhaustion. Al Nusra,the al-Qaeda group is furious at ISIS which stole its prominence, and the Free Syrian Army just is tired of the year after year attempt to overthrow President Assad.

The Russians are leaving, but the Iranian Revolutionary Guards remain to support President Assad. I do realize Republicans want to shoot someone, but there is simply no group around willing or ready to shoot anyone. The reality is that President Assad will be with us for the near future. About the only effective fighters against Assad remain the P.K.K. Kurds and they are hated by the Turks.

Anyway, all is quiet on the eastern front–at least for a day.


All Quiet On Syrian Front?

Believe it or not but we have now witnessed two entire days without massive fighting in Syria. I realize this sudden interlude is bothering Republican military heroes such as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz who want to carpet bomb someone to prove they understand how to win wars against terrorists. However, for the most part, rebels against Assad are enjoying the first quiet time in years. OK, so the cease fire agreement is not 100% satisfactory since Russia retains the right to bomb “terrorists.”

The real question is whether this strange interlude could result in something that is long term in Syria. So, what are the options for American leaders?

1. They must accept the reality that for the immediate future, there will be a President Assad in Syria.

2. They must accept the reality there will be areas set aside for various rebel groups.

3. The US must realize that Russian is now a power in the Middle East.

Any good news in sight?

1. It is now time for the US to work with Iran in order to get the Russians out of the Middle East. Sorry, Republicans, but Iran is the only hope right now to create some sort of quiet time.

2. It is time for Israel to shut up about the “Iranian menace.”

3. The people of Syria need PEACE AND QUIET so they will cease heading for Europe.

Such is reality. A concept that is foreign to the minds of those seeking to become president of the United States.