Why little or nothing will happen and why the Regional Powers have the Most to Lose

[03-09-2013 02:58 PM]

By Abdulillah

OK we have heard and read all the rhetoric about the Syrian conflict, but what we have not really focused on is why for the last two years little or nothing has been done to try to stop the carnage in Syria, and why the regional powers will lose the most.

Well to know this we have to examine what has been said and done by the allied western powers, the axis powers as well as the regional powers, since the start of all of this. Once we go over it we will understand the complexities of why this conflict has seen or will see little or nothing being done and why the regional powers have already lost.

Let’s first start with the allied powers led by the US, UK and France as follows as I see it from the plethora of articles read:

• From the start of the war the US has drug its feet. Why pray tell? Here are the reasons as I see them.

o The US has been playing god and fighting in the middle-east and against the rise of fundamental Islam in the region since the 1950’s, and especially since the first Gulf war in 1993 and September of 2001; however lacking much of the reasons as to why it has not seen any gains in the region since these endeavors were undertaken.

o Its war treasury and economy having being struck hard in 2006 where active wars in Iraq and Afghanistan depleted its treasury and its present capabilities to fight two (2) simultaneous wars across the globe, as defined by its past and present military leaders.

o Its inability to reconcile the fact that supporting either side in the war in Syria will not bring the war to an end and that its people are weary of making war with little or no gain in the last 20 years.

o Its inability to recognize that it has lost it best opportunity to have done anything early on for a political compromise between the warring parties. This it could have done diplomatically very early on by bringing the Assad regime into the sphere of reconciliation. Its leadership however allowed this chance to overtake it, when it allowed others to fill the void. As such its prestige and leadership were questioned and the warring parties and regional escalations took this opportunity out of the picture. Too many lives have been lost on both sides; too many people now have too much to lose.

o This will be their seventh attack on a middle-east nation and they have learned now (albeit a bit late) that the situations on the ground are very complex in each nation and indeed have very many long term consequences where the old policy of one rule for all serves little to enhance its regional role.

o They did not foresee or even partake in the role of enhancing regional Islamic understanding or the role of Islam in the region, where they opted to allow allies, both external and regional, as well as internal commercial players to advocate for the role to play assuming all had one regional goal, which was far from the truth.

o Its people congress and the present administration were and are divided, and internal issues were allowed to sideline the external ones to such an extent that although many educators and learned nongovernmental agencies pointed to the void being left, little was done to rectify it, as such events overtook them and knee-jerk reactions culminated.

• The role of the UK and France are wholly different then the US’s. The UK and France recognizing that they were the first to lose if the instabilities in the middle-east were allowed to continue advocated strongly at first for intervention. Remember they are being crowded out since they were at one time the prominent powers to play a role in the region since the Sykes-Picot act.

They first advocated and got the US to fly cover and lead in the war in Libya thinking it would be that easy in Syria. They forgot that the US ended up as the biggest loser in that war, and they assumed wrongly that it would be easy to get the US to do the same thing in Syria.

They advocated for the one side, as they both recognized that the axis powers were likely to take the upper hand in any settlements and future gains if the present regime was allowed to win the upper hand. As such they pushed the US to arm or in fact to enter in war against the regime as they wanted to ensure that they were not left out of any monetary or regional gains.

As dishonest as this was towards their ally who would do the heavy lifting of such an endeavor it was a clear strategy to win, where-as the US had no strategy at all, but was weary and lethargic, and they could not come up with a decisive or clear future strategy which still exists to this day.

They did however come up with one, which was to make the UK and France stand in line in a coalition of the willing. The UK government believing that it could deliver easily after the use of chemical weapons in Syria, by a yet to determine perpetrator, put it up to a vote in parliament and lost and could not deliver even a collation of the willing to the Obama administration which opted to do the same thing, by allowing it to go to vote in Congress.

I however believe that a token agreement will be reached in Congress to give the Obama administration the green light to slap Assad lightly, but little will come from this endeavor as it will not be backed by any coherent long term strategy for the region. Couple this with a lame duck president and a presidential election coming up in 2016, this story will see less and less of the daily news in the next year or so.

It should be noted many conspiracy theories have arisen as to the perpetrators of the chemical attack. It is however somewhat clear to all that the culprits of such a heinous attack did not and may not unless discovered suffer the consequences of it. Look for the ones who have the capability and the motives to gain in the short and medium term from this attack and this may lead you to know the advocates and culprits.

• The regional players are well known to all. They are the Gulf States, Turkey and Israel who are on one side for the reasons everyone already knows, but for explanation purposes will be restated for clarity. The other Arab States such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are advocating neutrality for various reasons as we will go over below:

o The Gulf States have been from the start and from prior to this conflict been arch rivals of the present Syrian regime as they see the regime and the present civil war from a mostly sectarian perspective and one of regional power. If they lose they lose power over their role in the region and possibly even their territories.

They have advocated for and gotten rid of the Muslim Brotherhood in support of military rule in Egypt even though they were its advocates in the early 1950s and 60’s. Many middle-east scholars state that use of the MB and Salafists of the democratic electoral process to rule could have been viewed as a long term threat to the present rulers.

o Turkey has from the beginning asked for the international community to intervene, and although they have many thousands of refugees in its territory it sees the region less from a sectarian view point of view as the Gulf States than that of a regional leader. Also it being a part of a NATO alliance makes it opinions important to the allied powers.

o Egypt at first under Mursi advocated for the rebels to win. They believed that the gain of the rebels would strengthen its Muslim brotherhood role in the middle-east, but since its downfall and replacement by army rule, it has changed it role to “not in favor of the military option in Syria”. I am still trying to figure this out as I see a contradiction here? With all the money being pumped in to Egypt by the Gulf States you would think that they would be on the side of the rebels, but I believe because of their own Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist issue, they have opted for so called neutrality, even to the point that the largest Arab nation will not partake in the discussions to be held in Jordan this coming Monday.

o Israel already launched three air strikes on Syria after so called missiles fell on the occupied Golan territories formally Syria’s. It originally stated it wanted to stay out of the crisis but really has not been the case from day one as it has supplied the rebels with intelligence through other nations and has been the only nation to attack Syria, even though the Syrian front has been the quietest of all the fronts.

Its motives are clear. It wants Hezbollah and Iran to be drug into a regional conflict (it is half way there), where they will suffer not from its military but from those outside. It is always cheaper to get someone else to do your dirty work, as they did so successfully in Iraq. Its regional goal it so diminish its rivals regional power to a minimum and divert attention from its own atrocities and internal failures such that it can exploit it hegemony over the Palestinians first and then the rest of the neighboring countries. Its belief is and will always be what makes our rivals weaker will always make us stronger. With Syria gone and military power back in Egypt is on its way to success, not that the Arab nations can do much about it in the short term.

o Iraq, already classified as a failing state, can neither control its own territory let alone anyone else’s has also claimed neutrality. It is however afraid that if the rebels win this war it could lead to more sectarian strife in its borders. I guess they do not feel what they have today has already reached this point if not earlier than even the Syrian conflicts start. I guess they feel if they keep their head in the sand nothing will happen around them.

o Jordan and Lebanon, both hosts to a huge number of Syrian refugees have also stated their neutrality and believes that political reconciliation is the only way forward. Jordan has asked and gotten US support, most probably since the Syrian president used veiled threats against it territory, after Jordan advocated for the Syrian president to step down in light of his people’s protests early on in the conflict. And although it hosts a US air base and defense missile batteries in its territory it says it does not want to be used as launch pad for attacks on Syria.
Lebanon on the other hand is barely surviving the onslaught of the refugees in its territory. Its economy is in shambles and Hizbollah is the defacto ruler of the state. Its military is of no consequence to anyone. A quick look at this nation and you can see where the Arab nations will be in the next 20 years or more.

• The axis powers lead by Russia, China and Iran want the Assad regime to win.

o The Russians for two reason; the first is they want to be seen as a world super power and leader again which they lost after the collapse of the Russian confederation. The second is for military and monetary reasons. Who in the region were they going to have on their side if the Syrian regime fell to the rebels? Who was going to buy and pay back the debts for all the military equipment sold since the 1970’s?

They however have been playing a better hand than the US and its allies; first by calling for an international dialogue between the warring sides, knowing very well that this was more of a delay game early on because of the heavy losses that the Syrian regime was experiencing, and a lot less now because the tables have turned since Iran used it proxy Hezbollah to fight on the regimes side.

o Iran sees this from a sectarian conflict since the early days of the Shah, who was once the main power that the US and its allies sought for anything in the middle-east. It too has the same role as the Gulf States; it wants nothing to do with electoral elections, it just wants more of a role as a regional player, where it will be seen as a middle-east power broker.

It has gained since the US won Iraq for it, and with Hezbollah in power in Lebanon and now playing more of a regional player since it threw its lot in with the Syrian regime, it sees it can make a change, or at a minimum throw monkey wrenches into the Gulf States and allied powers regional desires.

o The Chinese are a bit trickier to figure out. But it is present it is clear that since their rise to power and the use of capitalism whilst maintaining a tight communist party rule, the regime has quietly but affectively risen as a world power state and feels that it is time for it flex its might. It and Russia do not want the US and its allies to be the only countries who can take economic and military advantages in the world. At present the Chinese import up to 60% of the Iraqi oil and a whole lot of Sudanese, Saudi and even Iranian oil, and need the regional energy sources to power its factories and it burgeoning economy.

One can see now better the complexities of the situation not only in Syria but the region and the world. The losers of all this will be the region as a whole, except for maybe Israel. Israel will gain in the short run but may end up losing in the very long term (after 50 years or so) as its short term gains will be security and strength over its neighbors and region, but even more hatred of the local populations in the long term.

The Arabs states will lose both in the short term and in the long term (by long term I mean in the next 20-50 years), as their populations will suffer economically and many deaths in the short term, whilst in the long term their populations will suffer massive educational losses, and in turn long term prosperity is left in question where they will bought and sold to the highest bidder.

Does anyone realize it took Germany till the 1980’s to rebuild after WWII, and that was with the Marshal plan in effect. Its people starved for the first five years after the war. I guess we have not taken to account what has happened in Lebanon, which still has not recovered from its 20 year civil war, Iraq where sectarianism and division are pervasive, Afghanistan, and Somalia where poverty, lack of education and infighting has ruled them for over 20 years.

Digging out of the present day issues will be long term. The educated and wealthy will leave in droves at first, leaving only the poor and thuggish peoples, to be used and abused by those who lord over them and finally by outsiders. It will take a lot longer for recovery than imagined. Whoever ends up being the victor it spells poor news for the Arab States.

So my brothers and sisters, how do you feel about what we can do in Jordan to stop this from taking place here? I can tell you it is only by recognizing, that to be a bastion of stability, we need to see beyond what divides us but see as to what unites us, only then can we overcome.

God Bless Jordan and its People.

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