This is a point-by-point refutation of an article by Gregg Roman and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi about how Trump should handle the Syrian war.
| Gregg Roman, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
|As investigators rush to connect the dots between the recent spate of tragic terrorist attacks in Berlin, Ankara, Zurich and Karak – we must not lose sight of the fact that in one month, President-elect Donald Trump will come face-to- face with one of greatest man-made humanitarian disasters of the modern era.
||Oh God. Just thinking about the responsibility Trump now has is making me quiver. At least his Syria policy, and middle-east policy in general, is better than Hillary Clinton's. You know your policy is bad when Donald Fucking Trump is better then you.|
A little perspective
|Nearly half a million people have died, millions have been wounded, and half the population of Syria displaced in five years of civil war, while the flood of hundreds of thousands of refugees into Europe has profoundly shaken the security and political climate of the continent.
To make matters worse, the president-elect is taking over from an administration whose Syria policy was not merely a resounding failure, but was so middling and contradictory that the most important takeaway isn’t self-evident.
|So Obama said "Assad must go", started giving thousands of vehicles, machine guns, radios, training from the CIA, and anti-tank missiles to the rebels, and threatened bombing after a chemical weapons attack by Syria, but this is somehow a contradictory policy? Apparently anything other than "let's invade and topple evil Assad" is "contradictory".|
Our real enemy is
ISIS! the Syrian government?
|Put simply, the Trump administration should jettison the Obama administration’s assumption that the Islamic State (ISIS), Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra), and like-minded Salafi-jihadist groups in Syria constitute the paramount threat to American interests in the country.
||Yeah, so according to these folks, the organization that did the original World Trade Center attack against the US, the bombings of US embassies in Africa, the bombing of the USS Cole, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the US heartland, that organization isn't our main enemy. Of course. The group that beheaded many American civilians and killed hundreds of American troops on the battlefield, and vows the destruction of America and the death of billions of people, that organization isn't our main enemy. No, our main enemy is the Syrian government. You know, that government that never attacked us? The one that hasn't fired on the thousands of American sorties over its airspace, or fought with the hundreds of American troops illegally inside its sovereign lands? That should be our enemy according to these clowns. Why? What justification is offered for this?|
There is a long-winded section about ISIS' ability to conduct attacks that is equally stupid that I won't cover.
Fuck Operation Overlord
|Another reason for patience in reducing the remaining strongholds of ISIS in Raqqa and eastern Syria is that there is not yet a credible local force to take over those areas.
While the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have proven to be a useful ally in fighting ISIS in Syria, they should not be forced into operations to retake these predominantly Arab areas, which will be deeply hostile to a Kurdish military presence.
|So according to this racist bigot, parties in a war shouldn't be allowed to fight each other if they're fighting on land that's of a different ethnicity. What the fuck? You're basically saying war can't be allowed. How do you think the Allies won World War Two? Were those hundreds of thousands of people who landed on the beaches of Normandy all "credible local" French moderate rebels? No, they were Americans, Brits, and Canadians. Were the brave soldiers who closed in on Berlin in 1945 all local Germans and Poles? No, those were Russians. This idea that we literally aren't allowed to fight ISIS unless we have troops that are the same ethnicity as the land they're conquering is profoundly inane. It casts aside the harsh realities of war in favor of idealistic fantasies that don't translate into the real world. You know the US tried to train Syrian Sunni Arabs to fight ISIS, right? You know how many passed the training? Sixty. Sixty fucking people. That's how many "moderate" "local" Sunni Arabs want to fight ISIS.
These men either don't understand how war works, or they legitimately don't want us to fight ISIS because they're scared of Kurds. Ahhh! Evil Kurds! They shouldn't be allowed to fight ISIS even though they're in the perfect position to capture it's capital city because they're of a different race!|
The lesser of two evils
|The Obama administration’s obsession with fighting ISIS and slow progress toward that goal ultimately led to its acquiescence in Russian military intervention on behalf of the Iranian-Syrian regime axis.
This amounts to a de facto alignment with Iran, which remains deeply hostile to U.S. interests in the region – a much bigger threat in this regard than the Islamic State – and is committed to Israel’s destruction.
|I won't totally dispute the first point, but I'll dispute the conclusions Tamimi and Co. draw from it. They basically say that we are de facto aligned with Iran, and we shouldn't be because they are hostile to our interests, mainly Israel. So here's where things get dicey. Iran wouldn't mind if Israel disappeared tomorrow, and I wouldn't mind massively either. But even if Iran does want Israel destroyed, why has Iran never fought Israel? Countries like Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq have warred with Israel many times, yet we are allies with all but one of those countries. Besides, Iran lacks the military power or positioning to even pose a somewhat competent threat to Israel. It doesn't share a land border with it, instead being hundreds of kilometers away. Hezbollah fought one war with Israel which was a stalemate, and it does not possess the manpower to overpower Israel. Iran's missiles can be easily shot down by what is the world's best missile defense system, Iron Dome, as can its nuclear weapons which it doesn't have.
To continue the World War Two analogy I introduced in the previous section, what Tamimi is proposing is analogous to the US considering Russia our primary enemy. How do you think that war would've turned out if America never helped Russia? (spoiler, Hitler would've won)|
|Rather than obsessing over driving the last nails in the coffin of ISIS or modulating its involvement in Syria to advance some chimerical peace plan, the Trump administration must focus its attention on more realistic aims. While it is perhaps too late to challenge Russia’s presence in a country Vladimir Putin sees as the cornerstone of his expanding zone of influence in the region, neither should Washington accept it.
||So the destruction of ISIS isn't a realistic aim? Yeah, it's not like they've lost many times their original troop count, their ability to replenish their supplies and fighters, most of their leadership, and much of the territory they used to control . . . Oh wait. Well, it's not like we're about to take their two main cities, righ- Oh.
Why shouldn't Russia be allowed to build airbases and military facilities in Syria with the government's permission? You know, like America did with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Djibouti? That sounds like a massive double standard. I wonder if Tamimi is calling for the US to leave all those bases?|
|Though there have been hints from the incoming administration of ending support for rebel groups. It would make better sense to continue the support and perhaps increase it, not in the belief that one can bring about a political settlement, but rather to bog down the regime and its allies and minimize the future threat they may pose to U.S. interests in the region.
||This guy, and believe me it's the Sunni Muslim here speaking, is literally saying the only real reason we should be giving AK-47s, RPGs, and anti-tank missiles to the Syrian rebels is to kill Shi'a soldiers. I have no doubt this is his actual opinion. He's a Sunni who has already demonstrated he dislikes the Shi'a-majority nations of Iran and western Syria, so it makes sense his foreign policy might be biased by this bigotry. His view is crazy and shouldn't be taken seriously.|