Why Syria Will Not Be Another Libya

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And that’s the other shoe. Saddam developed and executed a plan to deal with an American invasion that involved building an insurgency and hiding away his deadlier toys. His partners in that plan were in Syria. The people suppressing the insurgency in Syria are the same ones who oversaw the insurgency against NATO in Iraq. There are mutual grudges on both sides, but the Syrians know how to play the other side of the board.

Finally there’s one more explosive element. This isn’t the conflict between a dictator and his people that every media outlet is trying to present it as. This is a religious civil war between Alawites and Sunnis. The Alawites have slaughtered plenty of Sunnis and if the Sunnis win then the butcher’s bill will come due. As repugnant as the Syrian elite may be, they are not only fighting for power, but for the lives and futures of their families. And they may be willing to do things that the Libyan forces would be unprepared to do.

The likely scenario is still a No Fly Zone aiming at the destruction of the Syrian air force and much of the heavy stuff on the ground. This should be doable, but it will be more expensive than we envision. Even Libya managed to outlast Obama’s initial assessment by several months. Syria may take even longer unless a great deal of firepower is committed to the task.

That could mean another indefinite conflict that ends in another Saddam scenario complete with sanctions and a permanent No Fly Zone. That could have been the outcome in Libya; it still might be the outcome in Syria with Sunni Islamists operating in a limited territory under our protection. If the Democrats screw up that badly and create their own Iraq, then they really will have come full circle.

But assuming that Syria’s capabilities are significantly degraded, and that NATO aircraft safely prowl the sky taking out any remaining command and control centers and armor, then the conflict boils down to a straight civil war in which bands of insurgents on both sides do their best to butcher each other. Syria has some rather nasty special forces and its Baath elites have experience running insurgency operations against which NATO airpower will be mostly useless.

That breaks down into Iraq, complete with both sides carrying out the kind of Sunni-Shiite terror that sent the country spiraling down into hell. And it’s hardly an implausible scenario. The basic elements of religious fanaticism, guerrilla experience and trainers on both sides are available. With NATO and Qatar providing training and strategy on one side, and Russia and Iran doing the same on the other, this could end up being worse than Iraq, except that American troops probably won’t be in the middle of it.

That raises the question of whose troops will be. The Arab League wants a joint UN Peacekeeping Force. That isn’t likely to happen except as a completely useless paperweight. A UN force would prevent NATO from implementing regime change and prevent the Assad regime from butchering its enemies, thereby serving no one’s purposes. More likely though the UN force would be absolutely useless at both these things and would stand and watch, while providing occasional targets for either or both sides.

Turkey’s Islamist AKP thugs are raring to go, but a Turkish deployment might be too much even for the Arab League, which is on the same Islamist page as the AKP, but still might feel uncomfortable about what might look like a Turkish conquest of Syria. Sarkozy might be dumb enough to commit French ground troops, but that would end up carrying its own price. Some joint Friends of Invading Syria force might be able to throw together the Turks, the French and the Saudis for a comic version of the Coalition of the Willing, to secure Free Syrian Army territory and dispense humanitarian aid. And on the other side of the line would be the Baathists who have some experience fighting occupation armies. The end result might not be very pretty at all.

There is still an alternate scenario in which the Russians manage to trump NATO with some coalition of top Baathists and the Islamist opposition, while sidelining Western-backed leaders, but that’s not too likely. For one thing the Russians aren’t really any better at this than us. They showed that in Afghanistan. For another this isn’t just about Russia, it’s about Iran and its own religious solidarity. The Alawites are useful for a number of reasons, most of them having to do with being an isolated minority. End the isolation and suddenly Syria wouldn’t make quite as good a pawn.

That brings us to the showdown. NATO has become the arsenal of the Arab Spring, much as Al Jazeera has become its propaganda arm. But this time around the scenario is much more complex than a loony colonel with an army that couldn’t beat African militias. And there is no telling who will win or what the cost will be.

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  • Alvaro

    I really see no reason why the West should use billions to destroy another Baath party, who represent secular Arab nationalism (like in Iraq). Ten percent of the population are Christians, and the fall of the Assad regime will probably put them in the same situation as Christians in Iraq after the invasion in 2003: Violence against Christians rose, with reports of abduction, torture, bombings, and killings. Some Christians were pressured to convert to Islam under threat of death or expulsion, and women were ordered to wear Islamic dress.

    There is really no good solution here, but staying the hell out of it and not arming thugs is a good start.

    • aspacia

      Yes! What annoys me is the fact that almost all ME nonMuslims are targeted, often murdered and the left ignores this or makes excuses for this violent bigotry.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpgiYe6LToc Roger

        It doesn't fit with the pc talking points about the religion of peace.

        Ask the Coptic Christians.

  • Bamaguje

    Mr Grenfield, you failed to mention an important for NATO intervention – crude OIL.
    Libya has lots of it – high grade, low sulfur good quality stuff – Syria hasn't.
    So there's really no Western economic interest at stake in Syria, and military intervention is highly unlikely despite Hillary Clinton's gallery playing noise making at the UN.

    By the way, how is the NATO imposed 'democracy' working out in Libya with out-of-control armed militias running amok perpetrating heinous crimes that has Amnesty International demanding for war crimes tribunal?

    As for Sarkozy possibly committing French troops in Syria, that's highly unlikely.
    Not with French elections around the corner. The last thing Sarkozy's election campaign needs now is French soldiers returning in body bags.

    So let Syria be!! Assad will eventually succeed in crushing the Al-Qaeda linked Syrian rabble rousers.
    I'm not sure that's such a bad thing…a secular tyranny being preferable to an Islamist one. The devil we know…

  • maghrebchristians

    They also found Libyan missiles in Algeria today, the full article is here,



  • carckerjack

    What we are experiencing is the decay of US control and influence in the entire Middeast. all involved are now setting their stakes in a whole new game of cards.

    • ziontruth

      "What we are experiencing is the decay of US control and influence in the entire Middeast."

      And the rise of Islamic imperialism. I hate to break it to you, but the West does not have a monopoly on aggression and belligerence.

      "all involved are now setting their stakes in a whole new game of cards."

      Or preparing for the imminent collapse of a house of cards. The Copts are already packing by their thousands. Contrary to your customary portrayal of those poor widdle Muslims as "the new Jews," it's the non-Muslims of the Middle East, especially the ancient Christian communities, who most resemble the Jews in the 1930s.

      • crackerjack

        After almost 2 centuries of Christian nations invasion, occupation, colonization and exploitation, should we be expecting anything else?

        • Steeloak

          After 1400 years of Muslims invading, slaughtering, occupying, colonizing, and exploiting non-Muslim countries, we should not expect anything else.

          • crackerjack

            In view of Christendoms genocide of whole continents , both world wars and the Holocaust, should it be pointing fingers?

          • Steeloak

            Don't have a clue what you are talking about.

            The only wars I know of that were fought for Christianity were the Crusades( to take back land conquered by Muslims), religious wars during the Protestant reformation, The reconquest of Spain (conquered by Muslims), and the wars to beat back invading Muslim armies from Europe.

            The conquest of the Americas had nothing to do with Christianity, that was an justification after the fact.

            WWI was an Imperialist war which had nothing to do with Christianity, other than all parties were Christian nations.

            WWII was a war against National Socialism, Fascisim, and Imperialism. The Japanese were officialy Shinto, The Nazis & Fascists were atheists.

            The Holocaust was done by atheists against Jews.

          • ebonystone

            "Christendoms genocide of whole continents "
            Assuming you mean North and South America, the annihilation of the native population was due almost entirely to the introduction of Old
            World epidemic diseases, like smallpox, to which the natives had no immunity. The outcome would have been the same if the New World had been discovered by the Asians, Arabs, or Africans. It just happened that it was the Christians who brought them.

          • ebonystone

            "In view of Christendoms … world wars "

            In WW2, the European theater was basically a war of the Nazi empire against the Soviet empire. Although both had large Christian populations, both were ruled by specifically anti-Christian regimes. The Asian theater was basically a war of the Japanese empire against the Chinese Empire; neither one was a Christian regime, nor did either have any substantial Christian population.
            As for the involvement of Christian countries like the U.S. and the U.K., they were merely responding to attacks on them by the anti-Christian Nazis and the non-Christian Japanese.

          • ebonystone

            "In view of Christendoms … Holocaust"

            The Holocaust was carried out by the anti-Christian Nazi regime. It was one, and not the largest, of many mega-murders carried out by anti-Christian and non-Christian regimes in the 20th c. Others included those conducted by the Bolsheviks, the Maoists, the Pakistanis during and after the partition, the Turks, the Khmer Rouge, the North Vietnamese, the Ayatollah's Iran, Saddam's Iraq, the Sudanese, and the Nigerian Moslems.

        • ziontruth

          "After almost 2 centuries of Christian nations invasion, occupation, colonization and exploitation,…"

          Well, well… did Ward Churchill die recently, as you're channeling his spirit? This "comeuppance" line is straight out of his infamous playbook, of suggesting that those who jumped off the burning towers in 9/11 were "little Eichmanns" who were paying for being part of "the war machine."

          So it is with Marxists everywhere: The scumminess they exhibit bears the same unmistakable stench.

          Marxism is treason! Marxism must be criminalized!

  • Amused

    What ! ??? Not about a dictator against his people ?? What the heck are you talking about Greenfield ? Whatever is said about any outside interests getting involved in this conflict , it is most certainly JUST THAT ….A Dictator against his people . Just like his father in the massacre of 10000 decades ago And here's a NEWSFLASH for "crackerjack " ….the US NEVER HAD any control or influence in the M.E. If anything the US got "played " in just about EVERY instance . Aside from aiding it's ALLY Israel , militarily and financially , the US has not had any influence on ANY of the players in the M.E . Events as far back as the mid 60's should substantiate that notion , indeed back to the very recognition of the State of Israel .

  • BS77

    Syria, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya…..what's the difference, really? Barbaric violence, terror, ignorance, slavery, misery and grief…..I feel sorry for the women and children in these countries. Reform is possible, but not on the horizon at present.


    Obama won't go after Syria because it is already in loony jihadist camp (via Iran). The same reason he didn't even support the Iranian popular uprising a couple of years ago. His and the world left's strategy is to uproot only *secular* dictators who can be fruitfully replaced by Muslim Brotherhood type of loonies. Here assad is already in that camp, although not quite a muslim brotherhood dude.

  • AntiSharia

    I don't care who wins as long as we don't get involved.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    Any consideration of direct U.S. involvement in Syria is FOOLISH. Stow the air raids, no-fly zones and all that baloney. The rebels are a determined force focused on regime change and with some supplies from the Arab League, they can succeed. Let the Iranians and Russians waste their money and harm their prestige supporting a losing, genocidal cause instead of placing the U.S. in harms way. .Let the rebels have supplies and surplus Soviet weapons and Assad will be defeated and Hezbollah, Iran and Russia will be weakened.

  • Flowerknife_us

    We should be thanking Russia for blunting Obamas plan of placing the MB in complete control of North Africa and the Middle East. Like the shift in control of the region to the MB is expected to make the place better???

    Israel should offer safe haven for all the Jews and Christians in these areas and thet the rest go after each others Throats to their hearts content..

  • Brain

    I think Israel should wait for a number of power plants to go online in Iran then bomb the holy sh@t out of them. Then we won't have to worry about that region for a really long half life.

  • LindaRivera

    ALL pro-Gaddafi people are targeted by anti-Gaddafi Muslims. US/NATO's war against Gaddafi and Libya unleashed HELL ON EARTH in Libya. Is it ethical for US/NATO to ignore the agony and massive suffering their unjust, illegal war created? And just walk away and leave HELL ON EARTH in Libya?


    UK DAILY MAIL: Pro-Gaddafi supporters in Libya are being tortured, says United Nations
    A United Nations report reveal that up to 8,000 pro-Gaddafi supporters were being held by militia groups in Libya.

    Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay claimed they are being held in appalling conditions and are being abused and tortured.

    Torture and violence is widespread.

    General Director of MSF Christopher Stokes reinforced the UN assertions and said: 'Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation.

    'This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.

    Rights groups have repeatedly raised concerns about torture being used against people, many of them sub-Saharan Africans, suspected of having fought for Muammar Gaddafi's forces during Libya's nine-month civil war. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2092125/L

    Which country is targeted next?

    • UCSPanther

      Gaddafi was crazy and aggressive towards the west to begin with, but at least he was no more than a blowhard and had been tamed down by the time of his defeat.

      The next pack of inmates that take over Libya will require more of the same if we are lucky.

  • LindaRivera

    Gaddafi was AGAINST the genocide in SUDAN and SUPPORTED the innocent Black Muslim and Christian victims of barbaric atrocities and genocide perpetrated by Sudan's Arab Muslim Bashir.

    Rights group condemns Libya visit by Sudan's Bashir
    01/07/2012 18:59

    Sudanese President al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for orchestrating Darfur genocide, pays an official visit to Libya.

    TRIPOLI – Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, arrived in Libya on Saturday, drawing criticism from a human rights group.

    Bashir, wanted by The Hague-based court on charges of orchestrating genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, was met by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council, at Tripoli airport.

    Abdul Jalil, who visited Khartoum in November, has said Sudanese weapons and ammunition helped Libya's former rebels oust Muammar Gaddafi last year and take control of the North African country.

    Relations between Khartoum and Tripoli were strained during Gaddafi's rule because of his support for rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region and in South Sudan, which gained independence in July under a 2005 peace deal. http://www.jpost.com/VideoArticles/Video/Article….

  • LindaRivera

    Why did US/NATO go to war against Gaddafi and Libya? Gaddafi was fighting against Al-Qaeda.

    Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the commander of the U.S. European Command told the U.S. Senate
    that Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah fighters are among the Libyan rebels
    currently receiving support from the US and its NATO allies. This was
    confirmed by one of the Libyan rebel officers, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, who leads one of the Al-Qaeda units.
    (US Aid to Israel’s Enemies, Oct 13th, 2011, frontpagemag)

    U.S/NATO joined with Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorists to wage relentless war for months. Bombing Libya back to the stone age.
    Barbaric Al Qaeda and Hezbollah who MURDER our troops in Iraq were considered desirable for placing in power in Libya. Making the world a safer place for Muslim terrorists. US/NATO have great guilt in making the world a far more dangerous place.

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,Qaddafi did attack Americans repeatedly throughout the 1980's. He bombed Pan Am Flight 103. I'm sorry but I have no sympathy for Qaddafi. He had the blood of innocent Americans on his hands.

      • LindaRivera

        Is it ACCEPTABLE and MORAL, that U.S/NATO joined with Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorists to wage war for months?

        Is it ACCEPTABLE that barbaric Al Qaeda and Hezbollah who MURDER our troops in Iraq were considered desirable by US/NATO for placing in power in Libya?

  • Stuart Parsons

    It seems to me when we help Muslim countries and support there fight fo an Islamic style non-democracy, they thank us by becoming even firmer worshippers of the non-existent Allah, They also use their new found 'freedom' to murder their non-Muslim minorities.

    The lesson to be learned is don't help those who are ever ready to bite the hand that helps them. We try to help the Afghans but I see few signs of thanks.

    Islam is a far, far greater threatt to the well-being of mankind than Fascism and Communism ever were.

    • John Rutley

      Couldnt agree more!

  • dave

    OBAMA a SOVIET TROJAN obama volunterally ended usa allies tunisia egypt yemen,,, syria russias base in the ME look how russia fight tooth and nail for its survival.

    1 + 1 = 2
    that simple obama advancing russia's intersts

  • RoguePatriot6

    "But no matter how eager they are to roll the Arab Spring forward with a month of bombing raids, this won’t be a relative cakewalk like Libya."

    You know, it's almost as if most people are counting Libya as victory. We have the Muslim Brotherhood digging in and establishing shari'a rule and their desire to start attacking Western allies and their interests. We already read the article or articles and seen the evidence of the threats already in Tunisia of what would happen if the citiizens wouldn't vote for an Islamists in the new "democratic" government in that nation. In Egypt we have a drop in what was once a favored tourist spot, all turned to crap by, the "New Free Nation". When will people get it? All we are seeing is the transference of power from one tyranny to another one, called ISLAMISTS!!!

    Ladies and Gentlemen, make no mistake about it, this is no mistake by the Obama administration. This was a plan and it's working.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The first dictator to go down in the Arab Spring to give the Muslim Brotherhood_control of the Middle East was ???????????Ta da!!! Sadam Hussein, funny how_the way it is rolling started back in the Bush Administration, who gave us_Barry Hussein as our President, the connection can be made and is our_reality, one World Government desired by George Senior, the New World Order_and the Muslims get their Caliphate but how will they cooperate, probably not_at all….. The Islamists will forever be killing each other and Order will always be_one blood bath after another…………………………………………..William

  • Fred Dawes

    why is money

  • John Rutley

    To my mind and to use a simple analogy: its like Alien versus Predator…which monster do you want to win in Syria: Moslem Brotherhood with Al Qaeda support or the Awalites supported by Iran and elements of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Al Quds force? Basically do not let ourselves become involved in this sacrificing lives and treasure on a cause for which we will not get any thanks no matter what the outcome.

  • tagalog

    Is there a tangible link between the events going on in Syria and the security of the United States? If there isn't one, why are people talking about the United States getting involved in Syrian internal conflict? We should have stayed out of Libya too.

    The revolts over in the Middle East are all going to result in shar'ia-based Muslim religious states, so what the hell do we think we're going to accomplish, helping those who would exult in wiping us off the face of the earth to get into power?