February 26, 2012

The Syria Conundrum

Almost a year ago in this space, I wrote regarding the unfolding situation in Syria:

It is impossible to predict with certainty, but I cannot see a turning back now or restoration of calm. The genie of increasingly insistent protests seems out of the bottle, and one now wonders whether Bashar is ultimately willing to kill, not scores, but thousands, in a desperate gambit to cow his populace, a terrible eventuality that will only lead to the regime's ultimate demise regardless…given promises of reform…are proving instead horrifying rivulets of blood on the streets of myriad cities, towns and villages through Syria, it seems highly likely protests will gain in size, breadth and insistency, shortly spreading to the downtowns of Aleppo and Damascus.

Fast forward a year and we see the apple does not fall far from the tree, when it comes to the Assad family. While subduing the insurrection to date has not been conducted with quite the same singular, brutish decisiveness his father (or, more particularly, his uncle Rifaat al-Assad) had manifested in the full-bore, scorched earth campaign that was 1982 Hama, the incremental escalation and toll is ratcheting up mercilessly to equal these historical horrors on an aggregated basis. In particular, the increasingly incessant shelling of districts like Babr Amr in Homs (not to mention the deprivations visited on forlorn towns like Idlib and Dara’a)—with zero regard for the many scores of civilians felled weekly—showcases tactics in equal measure cowardly and repulsive in the extreme.

The stench of death rising daily from Homs is an indelible black mark on Bashar, and were there even a smidgen of legitimacy left the regime could pretend to enjoy, this increasingly crude campaign has extinguished any semblance of same. One must add to this gory list documented use of torture (including against children), use of fragmentation mortar devices without warning, mass executions, among other horrific fare documented in a recent U.N. report. Indeed, it is manifestly clear that despite rosy optics around his ophthalmologist background, his attractive British-born JP Morgan alumnus wife, and such Knightsbridge style trappings—the man has now been nakedly revealed to be nothing more than a mass-murdering thug--happy to visit such horrors on his own people, no less--in a manner which already warrants war crime charges. Given these grim realities, we are facing an onslaught of elite opinion that ‘something must be done’ to remedy the increasingly intolerable situation. This past Friday, we had three opinion pieces splashed prominently across each of the New York Times (Anne-Marie Slaughter), Wall Street Journal (Fouad Ajami) and the Financial Times (Emile Nakhleh). Unsurprisingly, the best of the lot is Nakhleh’s (the FT consistently has a far higher caliber of opinion writing than either of its two other main competitors), but I want to touch on each in turn.

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s effort, I’m afraid, was the sloppiest, almost offering up something of a parody respecting the over-reaching ‘liberal hawk’ wing’s more excited exertions. Perhaps emboldened by the relative ‘ease’ of the Libyan campaign (see her indecently hasty post-Libya ‘victory lap’ in the FT last August, indecent given post-Gaddafi Libya’s many ongoing travails, some of them sketched out here), Slaughter offers up a chaotically concocted brew of ‘kitchen sink’ policy recommendations. These generally military policy prescriptions (worth noting, Slaughter is not a military expert) most prominently include the creation of “no-kill zones” (near the Turkish, Lebanese and Jordanian borders, no mention of the Iraqi or Israeli ones, unsurprisingly), said zones to be managed by ‘already active civilian committees’, but requiring countries “like Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan” to arm opposition soldiers with “anti-tank, counter-sniper and portable antiaircraft weapons”. Slaughter then adds special forces to the mix, to be inserted from Qatar, Turkey and “possibly Britain and France” (Slaughter, I suspect speculating about Turkey, writes: “some may be there already”, regardless, the countries listed will doubtless be gratified by her volunteering their services). We are advised these special forces will allow opposition troops “to cordon off population centers and rid them of snipers."

Said Special Forces now hard at work in the alleyways of Aleppo and the Damascene suburbs, Homs and Hama, or the 'no kill zone' committees now perched on the Jordanian, Lebanese and Turkish frontiers (never mind King Abdullah, regardless of whether he inherited any of the ‘pluck’ of father, would likely not agree to this action—given how lucky he has been to date to avoid an uprising in his own back-yard--he may well have other priorities just now; as for Lebanon, you can imagine how a ‘no-kill zone’ there could instead rapidly transform into another “kill zone” instead, alas), the “no-kill zones” would then expand, almost as if by osmosis-like magic (recall for Slaughter these zones are meant to have as “absolute priority” simply “public safety and humanitarian aid”, not serve as spear-head for offensive moves). All this would simply require “intelligence focused on tank and aircraft movements, the placement of artillery batteries and communications lines among Syrian forces”. In turn this will, per her telling, allow for the weakening of pro-government forces so they agree truces on a regional, and then national basis.

In case anything should get out of hand (say revanchist killings by Sunnis of Alawi, to take an obvious example) Slaughter casually avers: “revenge attacks will not be tolerated” (by whom, the Gulf States that would ostensibly be bank-rolling the effort? Cameron and Sarkozy? The Turks? Others? And how would this punitive, behavioral ‘claw-back’ type mechanism get enforced?). With all due respect, might she have a better peek at Libya since her triumphant FT piece of last summer where the ‘hard-hearted’ realists were remonstrated, not only for their callousness, but also their piddling policy chops and lack of requisite intestinal fortitude? And if all the above weren’t enough, Slaughter treats us too to rather racy talk of “remotely piloted helicopters” (for delivery of “either” cargo or weapons, and for good measure, “to attack Syrian air defenses”). Little discussed is the sophistication of Syrian air defenses, which the Russians (and Soviets before them) have assisted Damascus with for decades now. There is also talk of the ‘leasing’ of drones (something akin to Hertz meets Northrop?), just in case the one’s Ankara already has on tap aren’t quite enough for the task at hand (Ms. Slaughter should be reminded Turkey's current drone capabilities are middling at best).

I provide all this color not to gratuitously take pot-shots at Ms. Slaughter, who is doubtless a competent, well regarded policy practitioner. But she simply cannot have it both ways. She introduces her op-ed saying “simply arming the opposition, in many ways the easiest option, would bring about exactly the scenario the world would fear most: a proxy war that would spill into Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan and fracture Syria along sectarian lines… [and] could allow Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to gain a foothold in Syria and perhaps gain access to chemical and biological weapons.” Does Ms. Slaughter genuinely believe that her veritable cornucopia of military recommendations, ‘no kill zones’ on at least three borders of the Syrian Arab Republic, Special Forces inserted, drone strikes, helicopter sorties, and all the rest of it, somehow provides a more coherent road-map to a peaceful post-Assad Syria characterized by multi-sectarian harmony and stability than, say, a more conventional ‘train and equip’ effort? Or is it all a rather elaborate attempt to package up something that superficially sounds credible and doesn't involve dreadful sounding things like 'boots on the ground' (at least ours)? After all, were one to strip out all the noise, and besides the laudable humanitarian goals behind the no-kill zones (though good luck to an inhabitant of say, Babr Amr, getting there, more immediately let’s be focused on ensuring the ICRC can access the most beleaguered areas, no?), these zones per Slaughter’s plan are really meant in the main to allow for the very thing she warns could allow for unpleasant policy outcomes, that is, they are focused on allowing for the arming of the opposition to help expand the territorial remit of the ‘no kill’ zones. So let us at least be clear that essentially we would be embarking on an armed conflict with Syria, with the buck needing to stop somewhere beyond Doha if matters started heading south.

Mr. Ajami’s WSJ op-ed, meantime, reads like the typically lyrical musings he regularly dishes out to the (I suspect far too credulous) readership of the Wall Street Journal. And in case this tidy Journal venue isn’t enough, Ajami has a regular seat around Anderson Cooper’s table, where in sagacious tones he plays wizened dispenser of prophetic apercus (too often dutifully lapped up by the anchor), which have a common theme: Obama is a weak declinist, presiding over America’s Great Abdication, the Arab Street more than anything else is befuddled by Obama’s manifold weakness (“[in] a battered Syria, a desperate people await America’s help and puzzle of its leader’s passivity”), instead we should man up and charge the ramparts (though not sending the Marines via frigates into the Alawite heartlands of Latakia, Ajami reassures), rather than “frighten ourselves with phantoms of our own making.” Along the way Ajami treats us to misleading bromides about how it is Assad who has created the possible Islamist radicals in his mix (dispatching them to Iraq to fight the American Crusaders with a “promise of pardon”, we are told, with little to no evidence to speak of), essentially suggesting were radicalized Sunnis to get a tad rowdy amidst an escalating Syrian civil war, Assad would simply be getting his just desserts via such merited blow-back. After all this titillating foreplay, and with the anti-Barack aspersions having gotten the Journal’s editors in animated tizzy, when it comes to concrete policy recommendations, Ajami volunteers relatively thin gruel: take advantage of a demoralized Syrian Army via training, weapons, and “safe havens”, while recognizing the Syrian National Council as Syria’s rightful leaders (little discussed are the schisms within the SNC and how they do not necessarily represent all minority groups within Syria, not to mention other factors to include suspicions by various domestic players of nefarious intent by outsiders attempting to wield influence with the SNC, depending, Turkish, Saudi, and/or Western influences, among others). While portions of these recommendations, as I will touch on below, are not all wholly objectionable, they are certainly no panacea, or even close.

It is Emile Nakhleh’s op-ed however which is the most persuasive, not only because he dispenses with Ajami’s Obama as Appeaser claptrap, or Slaughter’s Qatari forces parachuting into Homs, but also more because he makes a very fundamental point which I have agreed with since at least last April. The pillar of his argument is that this regime is doomed, already resigned to the dust-bin of history. The longer the denouement, the bloodier it will prove. So why not act now? To be frank, I agree, but with many reservations. These include:

1) Unlike with Libya, the opposition do not yet control territorially contiguous areas of operations, making any effort to assist them far more complicated;

2) Syria’s strategic location in the Levant involves far more complex regional dynamics (again, as contrasted with Libya), implicating at minimum its immediate neighbors of Lebanon, Turkey (particularly with respect to Kurdish areas of Syria emboldened amidst the chaos to pursue irredentist claims), Iraq, Israel and, lest we forget, Jordan (heretofore a reasonably stable, reliable ally amidst the Arab Spring despite widespread dissatisfaction among its Palestinian majority with the Hashemite throne);

3) The relationship between Syrian opposition outside the country and inside is still tenuous and patchy, at best, so that attempts to recognize the Syrian National Council do not guarantee a positive, ‘bankable’ spill-over impact in-country given this still evident lack of cohesion;

4) Related to “3”, even the external opposition itself is far more divided than Libya’s was (at least at the conception of the Libyan uprising), largely a function of Syria’s more complex ethnic and sectarian make-up, and the same issues with lack of cohesiveness applies to the so-called Free Syrian Army within Syria (they are more simply a series of localized militias, if the local opposition itself generally has a more unified agenda, namely, for Bashar to be ejected from power, but then what, regarding preservation of consistent goals?);

5) Assad’s Army is larger than Gaddafi’s, and he will unfortunately also likely retain more loyalist units until the bitter end;

6) Assad enjoys large stock-piles of perilous chemical weaponry, we can suspect if his own skin is on the line in an existential end-game he may well employ same (once a war criminal it is a slippery slope of cascading horrors, and he has already well proved his despicableness), and/or there are risk presented by whom may gain control of these stock-piles were the regime to chaotically implode;

7) The prospects of revanchist violence and horrors are at least equal to Libya, but given the crazy quilt-work of villages, town and cities where such internecine horrors would unfold, could prove far bloodier;

8) The possibility that Lebanon were pulled into the mire of a full-bore Syrian civil war is very high, and the prospects of border instability will also greatly concern Amman and Tel Aviv (there are also Iraqi issues that would concern, not only Iran, but also elements of the Shi’a leadership in Baghdad);

9) The Russians have proven so dismal in their naked-self interest (historic client state relationship, arms contracts, the naval base in Tartous, etc) that one would have to be concerned about possible retaliatory machinations in the broader neighborhood if they over-step to defend their client; and

10) Turkey’s role cannot be seen as simply that of a Good Samaritan, while they are arguably the key player in the entire equation (of which more below) they will have critical interests regarding Kurdish minorities among other priorities that may not wholly gel with those of Washington, or those of the (rather juvenilely named conclave) ‘Friends of Syria’.

There could easily be another ten reasons besides (notably the unclear mandate emerging from the recent, inaugural Friends of Syria meeting and various divisions thereto, as well as more details around the Free Syrian Army’s highly inchoate bearing touched on above) but this list provides at least some of the main cautionary factors to keep in mind as we attempt to address this extremely complicated and combustible situation.

Ultimately, however, I believe the Assad regime has crossed various red-lines and the international community must become more proactive in its approach. To me, in the main, this largely rests with the Turks. I say this as I don’t believe ‘safe havens’ can credibly be erected on either the Lebanese or Jordanian borders (putting aside Iraq’s), for reasons alluded to above, at least not as of today. This leaves Turkey, and Nakhleh is right to point to the example of northern Iraq in 1991. The Arab League must work closely with Ankara to assure that Turkey would be willing to maintain and supply the zone (funded by the Arab League, particularly the Gulf States), and as Nakhleh says, if Syrian forces cross a further red-line and “violate the sanctuary” (assuming it were credible to create one after discussion with Turks), select members-states of the Friends of Syria could then move to arm the opposition (depending on Assad’s posture and actions as these pressures mount, timing and scope of the arming of opposition forces could be re-appraised on an ongoing basis). The Turks may be resigned to needing such a buffer zone regardless given internally displaced and refugee flows increasing in the coming weeks and months. The internationalization of the conflict in this more limited fashion could actually prove more realistic while at the same time ramping up the pressure on Assad. Importantly, there would also need to be reasonably concrete, pre-agreed protocols in place to restore full-fledged sovereignty over the entirety of Syria's territory at a later point, perhaps guaranteed by a concert of powers in collaborative manner with Ankara.

Meantime, and putting aside China and Iran (the former I believe will conclude they may have over-stepped with the UNSC veto so downplay next moves, the latter are more constrained given no direct border with Syria and major issues at home given the ever brewing nuclear imbroglio), Obama must better work with Putin to persuade him that his client in Damascus is doomed, and that the Arab League (and/or Friends of Syria) and Ankara’s move to establish a ‘safe haven’ in the north is but another death knell in his coffin. Russia should be given assurances around its naval base in a post-Assad Syria, and other inducements, with the aim of Moscow goading Assad to relinquish his seat of power on a more expedited basis (perhaps in return for safe passage out of Syria, though the growing war crimes dossier should optimally not allow for same). This Russia reach-out is not meant to necessarily constitute an attempt to resuscitate a UNSC mandate, though we should not necessarily give up on same, but the above actions would likely instead need to be taken under the aegis of the Arab League, Friends of Syria, or under duress (and sub-optimally) a smaller grouping of Gulf States, alongside Turkey too, and with some ‘blessing’ from interested Western powers. Meantime, we can fully expect Assad--esyping both the risk of greater international pressure, but also deep divisions on the specifics around precise approaches--attempting to stave off the specter of more concerted international efforts via largely meaningless gestures like intermittent ICRC access, reducing the intensity/pace of shelling, or the latest sham ‘referendum’ on constitutional reforms underway as I write this, and other such fare. Yet the regime has already crossed the rubicon, its true character revealed, and there is no going back, as we can be quite sure atrocities will continue moving forward.

Speaking of such atrocities, the name Ibrahim Qashoush may not be familiar to many readers, but this amateur poet found his voice during the uprising as this embedded YouTube attests.

Reportedly, in revenge, the regime not only killed him, but with sadistic savagery tore out his vocal chords and dumped his mutilated corpse in the Orontes River which flows through Hama’s ancient, and beautiful, water-wheels. This malice painfully showcases the character of this increasingly odious regime. The Arab Awakening is about many things, from disgust with endemic corruption, limited prospects characterized by chronic unemployment, and much more, but it is certainly also about revulsion at the grotesquely brazen totalitarian thuggery of episodes like these.

The U.S. has tried to navigate on a country-by-country basis its reaction to these inspiring, wide-spread uprisings, attempting to calibrate its approach to no one’s true satisfaction (including I suspect, the Administration’s, if they are being honest with themselves). But these are immensely complicated problems, none more than Syria. For instance, listen carefully to the YouTube embedded above, including the passing comments made about America in this spirited, revolutionary anthem. Recall too, after the hundreds of thousands of fatalities in Iraq (civilian and military), after the trillions spent there by the United States, all this blood and treasure expended, the Government in Baghdad is not even quite sure of its wherewithal security-wise to host an Arab League summit in late March. Let us show some humility and dispense with the farcical notion that Libya changed everything (particularly here given no NATO airpower is being contemplated), and recall the disaster that was Iraq, while keeping too a wary eye on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Having better acknowledged this will not be easy, and that it is not that we fear only phantoms, like fretful cowards per Ajami’s caricature, but rather have very legitimate concerns. We cannot know the precise consequences that lie ahead in Syria, but if some combination of the Arab League, Friends of Syria and notably Turkey are willing to create and subsidize a territorial enclave in Syria’s north (optimally with UNSC support at a later date, even with some abstentions), this should be the beginning of better internationalizing the Syrian situation, elevating the status of the SNC and opposition forces, ratcheting up the pressure on the regime, and hopefully allowing for more defections amidst the majority Sunni conscript army on the heels of this greater international involvement. But let us cast a calibrated die with modest expectations, and with utmost sobriety. The situation in the Levant is littered with unknowns, unknowns that have not remotely been convincingly answered by the intonations that ‘something be done’. And yet, something must. This is the conundrum that Syria today presents the international community.

Posted by Gregory at February 26, 2012 11:13 AM | TrackBack (0)

Thanks for your thoughts. Illuminating, as always.

"...Ms. Slaughter, who is doubtless a competent, well regarded RISK PLAYER (policy practitioner?)..." There, fixed it. Or, to paraphrase: Damn the details, full speed ahead.

"...if some combination of the Arab League, Friends of Syria and Turkey are willing to create and subsidize a territorial enclave in Syria’s north..."

While vastly more realistic than magical "no kill zones," do you believe that it would be prudent for Turkey to take on this pivotal role without broader and deeper international support and legitimacy, and without clear, guaranteed international military commitment? "Friends of Syria????." Really? It seems a lot to risk, even given their exposure.

Posted by: Adams at February 27, 2012 12:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Typically the knell would be in the belfry, not the coffin.

Posted by: David Tomlin at February 27, 2012 01:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


To what extent does Israel's anticipated and sub rosa-to-calculated (non)- sub rosa attack of Iran's nukes deter any multi-purpose cleansing of the Assad regime?

Unless I missed it in your overview, wouldn't you connect the two dynamics?

Posted by: resh at February 29, 2012 01:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Your next assignment:

Thoughts on DPRK s'il vous plait!

That is all.

Posted by: h at February 29, 2012 03:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

hello all, just wanted to briefly take these comments in turn:

adams: agree potential turkish role contains many unknowns. part of my hypothesis is that situation ultimately deteriorates enough that growing humanitarian crisis will require some from of greater turkish involvement regardless (as likely most impacted border state), so that such a maneuver (safe haven modeled on '91 n. iraq) could be viewed by some in ankara as a way to 'contain' spillage. further agree 'friends of syria' rather unserious affair, at least to date. no easy anwers here obviously. your comment is certainly a fair one.

david: nit/error noted, tks. an editor would help here, on multiple counts, including brevity! i have to write these posts quickly w/out extensive time for proofing etc given time constraints.

resh: i am not sure i wholly understand your query. but i agree for some policy-makers regard to the iranian situation would play a role re thinking through/fashioning overall syria response. however, one would think those keen to 'de-fang' the supposed teheran-damascus-hezbollah axis (putting hamas to the side, partic given recent developments) would view unseating assad in the 'plus column' re dealing more 'proactively' w/ iran. for my part, as someone generally opposed to military intervention (adventurism) in iran, i think assad's demise would bolster the West's diplomatic hand vis-a-vis iran, arguably helping bolster those favoring diplomatic initiatives to air strikes w/r/t the islamic republic.

h: will think about post on dprk going forward but candidly have a 'back-log' of posts meaning to write, including thoughts on gaddis' recent george kennan's biography, ows moving forward, and republican primaries, among other topics.



Posted by: greg djerejian at March 1, 2012 06:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Turkish Ambassador last night on the Newshour:

Look, I think, the key word here is legitimacy. Legitimacy is more important than anything else. What I mean by legitimacy, there are two aspects of the legitimacy. One is the internal aspect. The other one is the international aspect.

"The international aspect of course should be, I think, designed or engineered by the U.N. We don't have any U.N. decision, resolution from the U.N. Security Council. We failed, as you know.

"So, we should also have a legitimate -- legitimacy, I think, domestically, which means I think should be, I think, full -- full embracing, and I think powerful opposition which covers every aspect of the people in Syria. So, in both fronts, we have not gotten really quite at that stage yet."

On the other hand:

"...we were very instrumental in putting up this so-called Syrian -- friends of Syrian people group, and it had a very, very successful meeting in Tunisia on Feb. 24.

And I think that's one of the steps that we're building on. That's a platform that would create some legitimacy. That's what we are trying to do."

Posted by: Adams at March 3, 2012 11:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Commenting on Greg's post on this subject of last April, I wrote, "whatever happens in Syria is going to happen." This is what I meant.

I have no clairvoyant powers I'm aware of, but it doesn't take more than a casual acquaintance with recent Syrian history to have predicted that a regime long preoccupied with internal security and with a track record of vicious suppression of dissent and rebellions would respond exactly as Assad's regime has. The United States could stop it if it were prepared to attack Syria. It isn't, and won't be. The United States and its allies could prevent complete destruction of the rebels and create a kind of "Kurdistan-lite" -- a protected zone enforced by Turkish troops and allied air power along Syria's northern border. It doesn't look to me as if we're prepared to do that either, except maybe on the cheap, a little aid here and there, in the hope that something may turn up.

The people of Homs, Dara'a and other Syrian towns and cities do not deserve what is happening to them now, and the region would be well rid of the current Syrian government, other things being equal. Questions arise as to the ability of American foreign policy to stop what the Syrian government is doing now, or alternately to secure that government's fall. Practically speaking, we don't have the ability to do either.

That's why I looked askance at the American position, or to be more precise the public statements of Obama administration officials, during the Security Council resolution discussion a couple of months ago. Statements from Sec. Clinton and Amb. Rice were emotional and overwrought, underlining impotent American frustration with a situation that could easily have been anticipated. Following their chief, Obama administration officials wanted to sound bold and inspirational, declaring who does and does not have "legitimacy," and especially when it is "time for X dictator to go" -- which is fine, if you have the ability to back up what you say. Otherwise you just look impotent and ineffectual, an appearance official representatives of the United States should always seek to avoid.

There's something else, about which I also wrote last year. A lot has changed since then within Syria, but outside it Egypt is still the Arab country that matters, because of its size and historically close relationship with the United States. And the battle to replace Mubarakism with something closer to the political system of a normal country is being lost, while the American government frets about Syria as it preoccupied itself last spring with Libya. The Obama administration remains wedded to the Arab Spring narrative it fell in love with a year ago, according to which dictators long coddled and "propped up" by the West were being driven out "by the Arabs themselves," with newly enlightened Westerners cheering them on.

A new triumph every few weeks, according to The Narrative: first Tunisia, then Egypt, then Libya and finally, Syria. But The Narrative never made any sense applied to Syria, one problem with it from our point of view. An even bigger problem is that the triumphs of one day can be undone the next. Ten years from now the story of the Arab Spring will be the story of what happened in Egypt, plus some other stuff. Egypt, at this point, is shuffling toward a military-dominated government with an opportunistically Islamist face -- at best, a suboptimal outcome both for the Egyptian people and for the United States.

I wish it were possible for the West to do more about Syria than to offer some limited succor for the Syrian government's victims (also to use that government's conduct as a way to embarrass the Iranian government among the Arab countries). It may not be. While the Obama administration is struggling with how to resolve the crisis of the day, I fear it is allowing American influence in a vastly more important Arab country to lapse.

Posted by: Zathras at March 6, 2012 06:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I read your learned posts, Zathras and, as an aside, I would suggest that you text GD and volunteer to supplant him during his absences; what we lose in GD's intimate, first-person diplomacy-type macroviews, we'd gain in your surgical prognosis of the street fights. Impressive on both counts. Besides, you two have long exhibited a kind of Hatfield-McCoys interplay, and it makes for good theatre.

One serious question: You keep talking about Egypt like it's the day of the pyramids. Exactly why is Egypt still the rooster in that stinkin' mideast henhouse? I don't get it. I'm no mideast geopolitical genius but I don't see anything worth getting excited about by Egypt. So what if the M-Bro'hood gets the nod from the less-than-we anticipated "liberalized" body-politic and becomes the face of Egypt.

Is it a rapprochement with AQ by them that conerns you? Is it that a more-theocratic and military government, say in the vein of Pakistan, will threaten Israel? What, exactly, is the big deal about Egypt running amok, politically, assuming that were the case?

Frankly, I never bought into the send-them-a billion-yearly-in munitions-and-they'll-cover-our-asses machination. So I'm not really worried if they head toward non-democracy, non-west posturing. I say they're yesterday's news, but I'm happy to hear why I'm wrong.

Posted by: resh at March 7, 2012 10:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.

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