Syria, In Short
Syria has a brutal and dictatorial government—on a par with some of the nasty regimes with which we enjoy kissyface relationships in that part of the world. Nevertheless, the Assad regime in Syria is the legally recognized authority. It’s a member of the UN and other international organizations, and has even signed on to the Paris environmental agreement. It has an embassy, though currently vacant, here in Washington.
For decades, Washington and its Israeli
advisors have sought to overthrow the Assad government and replace it with a tractable one. They have two reasons for this: to get rid of an insubordinate regime, and to deny Russia, which has long had a naval base in Syria, one of its two outlets to warm water (the other being Crimea). The Russians understandably regard the second reason as vital to their national security even at the risk of war.
Seven years ago, civil war broke out in Syria, with the Russians and Iranians supporting the recognized government at its request, and the U.S. arming and advising anti-government rebels. The difference is that the Russians and Iran were acting legally while the U.S. was once again committing aggression, the worst crime under international law.
When that civil war began, then President Obama assured us that the Assad regime would collapse in a matter of weeks. He was dead wrong. As in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, Washington had again underestimated its enemies, this time in Syria. And so our Middle East wars have dragged on from years into decades.
The reason why our leaders habitually discount their adversaries is hubris. They believe that America, being the greatest, has nothing to learn from the not-so-great other 95 percent of the world. So far, there is no cure for this condition.
Thus we are wedded to never-ending war, a horror that benefits only military contractors. As I write this, our president is bragging that his missiles are smarter than Russian ones and that he’s about to prove that in Syria. Since, he always tells the truth and is never wrong I guess we don’t have to worry.