Thursday, May 30, 2013

McCain Visits Syrian Rebels

As I was headed to the office today I was informed of some rather concerning developments about Republican Senator from Arizona John McCain. He made a surprise visit to Syrian rebels and is the first American senator to do so since the civil war broke out in Syria. McCain crossed into Syria, illegally, from Turkey and spend roughly two hours meeting with General Salim Idris and several of his opposition fighters.

This was a terrible mistake by McCain who calls for military intervention, assistance as well as arms sales to Syrian rebels. It is clear that McCain belongs to the old brass that still believes the U.S. needs to police the world and can combat every enemy it encounters. Afghanistan is just one case that proves him wrong. Unfortunately McCain is a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relation committees and also backs the creation of a no-fly zone in order to assist the rebels.

It is clear why the Assad regime is hated by the developed world. Their financing of Hezbollah and close ties to Iran are counter-productive for Syria and definitely a problem which needs to be addressed. Having said that, an invasion of Syria is 100% the wrong step to take and needs to be avoided at all costs. We do not need a repeat of Libya where several European countries as well as the U.S. have invaded a sovereign country because they were able to do so.

Colonel Gaddafi did not pose a threat regional security. People may dislike what he did inside is country which is nobody’s business. The rebels decided to fight the regime which is perfectly fine, but the international community had no right to interfere. In essence the developed world assisted criminals to overthrow a regime it did not favor and now Libya is in much worse shape than before while the international community stands on the side telling them to fix their problems.

Now with the Assad regime we face the same issues, rebels decided to overthrow the regime and started a civil war hoping for assistance. We send the wrong message to every country which faces issues. Rebels pick up arms, cause chaos as they know they will receive international assistance as long as the regime they battle is disliked by enough countries. McCain’s visit was extremely counter-productive and sends the wrong message.

The rebels knew the dangers and decided to start a civil war and now they need to either keep fighting until they win or are all eliminated or put down arms and face executions before there is a chance for peace to return and a long rebuilding process can be initiated. Arms sales to rebels will not solve the problem and the same arms will be sued against U.S. installation after the conflict is over.

We may not like the Assad regime for very good reasons, but it does not give us the right to invade or sovereign country or assist rebels to overthrow the regime there. In the long-term the impacts will be counter-productive and cause an even more severe negative impact. McCain fumbled the ball and there will be some fall-out over the next few weeks due to that. 

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