Uncertainties and the Waiting Game

26-06-2013 04:17 PM

By Abdulillah

Today’s reality in the Middle-East is getting more complicated by the hour; the Syrian crisis being the most paramount of these today.

The west lead by the United States has been reluctant to use NATO or US military power to quell or overthrow the Assad regime. They have chosen the waiting game. One wants to ask why this is the case. Commentators and others, even in the US congress have asked this question. Why are they choosing the waiting game?

It seems much clearer now, at least from what I have been reading. Many of the strategic thinkers such as Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski a former national security adviser to President Carter, a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies now dean at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, believe that aiding the Syrian rebels whom he claims “are certainty not fighting for democracy, giving their sponsorship by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other GCC states” would not only be problematic, but not provide the US and its allies with a “clear objective that’s its suppose to serve” .

Basically he is saying why should the US and its allies aide the rebels (those like the Al-Nusra front) knowing that they will not serve the ultimate objective of what the west defines as democratic principles and are not friendly to US interests, and knowing that the forces allegedly sympathetic to democratic values and US interests are the weakest of the present rebel forces.

More importantly Dr. Brzezinski, states “if we are to engage in political warfare with strategic outcomes. And we insist of victory for those allegedly with us and a victory particularly for us, we have to do it whole-hog … in effect invading the country”. He goes on by stating some uncertainties and dangers would still be present even if this is done. He would not be sure if all fighting in Syria will stop (he might be referring to the Shite, Sunni divide), or a possible collision with Iran may occur leading into a protracted war and would that be the better than just leaving Assad in power.

He like many strategic thinkers believe that aiding any side or the other at this time while not having a clear strategy or a strong partner on the ground in Syria and hoping that things will come out in your favor “is not a strategy. It’s an evasion of strategy”. He states that the present US strategy is baffling and devoid of any strategy. He is worried that their will be no end game to this crisis as it is rooted in sectarian and in the long term issues.

He also feels that to make headway in this crisis it should involve not the British or the French (indirectly implicating them in the Sykes/Picot agreement, widely discussed in this very forum) but the Chinese, Japanese and India as well as Russia, who have a stake in the peace of the region and can put pressure on Iran and others to stop the war.

That all being said one has to agree with him regarding why the west has issues with the aiding of the rebels and wants to do very little to support one side over the other. Couple this with the fact that nothing at this time compels them to see any strategic objective to getting more involved than they are, they appear to be content with allowing the two sides to duke it out for the time being, by providing small arms and equipment, waiting to see where this will lead to. In either case both sides will be wore out if they do end up coming in later, giving them a leg up both in future negotiations and or military conflict.

That is fine but what about the humanitarian crisis that is occurring? Although this may be harsh, they do not feel that this really affects them so much. The burden of this will be borne by Jordan and Turkey as well as some other border states, thus this is of very little immediate concern to them. What they will care about however is if this humanitarian crisis ends up destabilizing any of these Border States and as such they will prop them up with defensive weaponry as well as monetary aide until such time they see another avenue or change in the situation. This bodes badly for Jordan in the short term and possibly in the long term depending on what ends up as pointed out in my earlier article.

How about the GCC states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the rest? At present they do not see the danger to their instability and as such will be content with fanning the militaries of these countries into purchasing more expensive military equipment further depleting their treasuries and increasing their military sales.

The strategic role played by Saudi Arabia, The GCC states and Iran for the US in the long term is dwindling. The US and the west are less and less dependent on the oil rich middle-east and see that it really is only affecting the Chinese, Japanese and Indians, and as pointed out earlier, they are their economic competitors.

Over the long haul they do not see any strategic nature in the middle-east outside of Israel’s protection, which they feel can be easily handled as Israel presently has, and they will make sure it continually has, the military power to not only protect itself but to instill heavy damage on any state that it deems hostile to those interests.

The Palestinian cause has been thrown out with the bath water; making peace is the last thing on their mind right now as it too has little or no short term strategic objective. Israel will be left to Judaize Jerusalem and the West Bank, where all the Muslim and Arab cries for justice will be met with lip service.

The next five to ten years will be interesting for sure. I often wonder to myself who are the strategic thinkers for the Palestinian, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari, Jordanian, Egyptian, Turkish, Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, peoples, etc... They better start now for I can tell you our region is either going to head into sectarian war, slowly killing each other off, with no clear winner, just a whole bunch of losers to go around, while the rest of the pushers of weaponry and death will win out.

As pessimistic as this maybe, there can if all sides wish it to be so, a glimmer of hope, where instead of fighting each other they will soon see this futility before it’s too late and join forces towards a strong middle-east, one to be reckoned with, if they only took time to think about the waste of humanity and wealth this will cause them to endure. Only time will tell, but one cannot wait while others are playing the game so much better.

As for Jordan and its people, let’s start to see it in light of our best immediate and then our long term interests for the middle-east that we will always be part of. We can start by cleaning and strengthen our house, first economically, then long term through education of our people to see Jordan and its neighbors and people as a united whole.

God Bless Jordan and its People

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