THE SYRIAN SLIPPERY SLOPE

            On Saturday, the Iranian government issued a statement saying that any attack on Syrian would be considered an attack on Iran. As Russia looks for a back door to slip out from under their commitments in Syria, Iran appears to be upping the ante. An aid to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made these statements of unconditional support during a review of troops conducting an offensive air raid against the rebels. What should we make of such dogmatic positioning?

            Probably little.

In the first instance, Iran continues their exercises in muscle flexing from a safe distance. The pronouncement would not be unlike President Obama declaring we would consider any attack on Canada to be an attack on America. Second, Iran’s intentions are to establish a regional network to make them the foremost power in the Middle East. Their statements are aimed at the surrounding countries to impress the locals. Third, such statements confirm the concern that a fundamentalist religious government remains an unpredictable and frightening presence in the region.

On the other hand, would they be crazy enough to go to war against the world? Afraid so.

Iran has already placed itself outside the circle of responsible nations because of its nuclear program. They could care less what the United Nations thinks or says. Of course, at this time the United Nations does not carry must weight anywhere. Their treatment of Israel and ineptitude in handling the Syrian civil war has sidelined the international organization. Britain and France have urged the United States to stop blocking countries like Qatar from providing the rebels with more sophisticated weapons and intelligence assistance.

During this past week, the leader of the Syrian opposition council met with representatives of the United States and Russia in a discussion of the issues to end the Syrian Civil War. Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib came as the leader of the Syrian opposition.

Russia and the United States mutually blame each other for the current stalemate. When Joe Biden repeated America’s demand that Assad step down, Russia immediately responded that the United States’ position was the single reason the war continues.

Al-Khatib proposed direct talks with Assad, but European officials responded that if al-Khatib was serious, his colleagues would force him to backtrack. Consequently, another closed door!

The situation reminds about where we were a hundred years ago. At the end of World War I, a proposal for a League of Nations went nowhere partly because it could never be approved by Congress. Nations wrangled with each other in a game of push and shove. The Fascist fought a bitter civil war in Spain that proved to be the dress rehearsal for World War II. Leadership failed and the quagmire because the pretext for the actions of the Nazis that started World War II.

America rightly doesn’t want another war, and the fundamentalist radicals are itching for one. No one seems to have the courage to provide decisive leadership. And the Syrian people just keep on dying.

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Filed under America, Iran, Syria

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