"Anyone know if President Obama intends to perform background checks on the Syrian rebels before providing them weapons?" - Senator Ted Cruz, June 18, 2013
No, Sen. Cruz, Obama's background checks only apply to those suspected enemies of the United States known as the American people. Actual enemies of the United States and her allies, such as those found among the Syrian rebels, just get the guns. Obama's decision to arm the rebels, which is opposed by 70% of the American people, will send arms to people like the Muslim Brotherhood and Gen. Salim Idris, the head of the Syrian National Council, who has proclaimed he is an "enemy of Israel". Terrific.
Here's a breakdown of the groups comprising the Syrian rebel forces:
Numbering 50,000 men, the Free Syrian Army, a self-declared non-sectarian group of early army defectors, remains the largest opposition group in the country. But during the past year other factions have entered the fray. If their numbers, as well as their political views are anything to go by, the possibility of a united front seems remote.
The Syrian Liberation Front, numbering 37,000 fighters, and the Syrian Islamic Front, numbering 13,000 fighters, operate in Syria's southeast and northeast respectively. Both of these groups espouse an Islamist ideology, in contrast to the self-declared non-sectarianism of the Free Syrian Army.
However the real challenge to the unity of the Syrian opposition lies in Jabhat al-Nusra, to whom thousands of Free Syrian army fighters have apparently defected. Numbering only 5,000 fighters as of January, but now perhaps many more, al-Nusra's core fighters come from Iraq's post-war insurgency and have recently pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Thus, we will be arming the Islamists . I'm sure that will work out well for us. It almost makes one long for the days when the Obama administration was merely arming Mexican drug cartels. Maybe we should name our Middle East policy Faster And More Furious.
They say everything changed after 9/11, but this sure hasn't changed. We've been arming Islamists for decades. We arm one group of America's enemies in the Middle East to fight against another group of America's enemies in the Middle East. In Syria, the Assad government, who we are aligned against, is supported by Hezbollah and Iran, who both hate America too. Which America haters will emerge victorious in Syria ? Enquiring minds want to know.
This is what you call a no-win situation. It reminds me of the old days when we armed the Mujahideen to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, or when we armed Saddam Hussein to fight Iran. Even if "our side" wins the war, we lose.
In spite of this history, some people never learn. On the Republican side of the aisle, the interventionist view is led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who invariably seems to hold the opinion that we should intervene first and find out on who's behalf we are intervening second. Has McCain ever met a war he didn't like ? McCain says we should send "the right kind of arms" to the Syrian rebels, with the right kind being anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons. What, no aircraft carriers, F-16's, or nukes ? C'mon Mac, what are we, pansies ? McCain's problem with President Obama is that Obama hasn't intervened in Syria enough, which McCain called "disgraceful". Maybe they should get McCain off the Armed Services Committee, and he can spend his time figuring out how to secure the Arizona border.
We intervened in Libya, and that country has destabilized into chaos, with militias running amok and the Islamists taking more control.
We stood against Mubarak in Egypt, and as a result, the Islamists have taken control.
We spent a fortune in blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the power struggles continue in both of those countries. We don't know what the ultimate resolution will be.
I was against the Iraq War in 2003, though my opposition had little to do with WMD or the evils of Saddam Hussein. He was certainly a monster. I was opposed because I thought Bush's idea of bringing democracy to Islamic countries was a pipe dream. Obama's subsequent policies in Libya, Egypt, and Syria have only reinforced my belief. When we remove the evil dictators, they are generally replaced by the Islamists. How that serves any American foreign policy or national security goal, I have no idea. Apparently, too many American political leaders still fail to realize that when free elections are held in the Middle East, the Middle Eastern people tend to vote freely AGAINST American interests, and we end up looking like fools.
The way I see it, we have two choices. One - keep fighting in the Middle East for the next hundred years until we bring those people out of the dark ages. Two - get them all hooked up to the internet and let them figure out the modern world for themselves. In the meantime, we can switch our automobiles over to running on natural gas.
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