Syrian dictator goes to war against … Syria

posted at 9:30 am on April 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Let’s have a foreign policy quiz this morning.  In fact, let’s set this up as a media quiz, which means that if you’re a member of the Obama administration, there are no wrong answers.  What does a “reformer” do when the people under his dictatorship strong central government erupt in protest against his regime?  Does he (a) agree to hold immediate elections to form a truly representative government, (b) ask the UN to mediate the dispute, or (c) shoot unarmed protesters one at a time until that gets boring, and then send out tanks and troops to suppress dissent?

Oh, no fair peeking:

Syrian leaders deployed tanks and troops against unarmed demonstrators Monday in a sharp escalation of their effort to crush the widening protest movement, prompting the Obama administration to condemn the deadly crackdown and weigh additional sanctions against the embattled government.

The Syrian army entered the city of Daraa, the cradle of anti-government unrest near the border with Jordan, and other southern towns as protesters massed in the streets. According to witnesses and news reports, about 25 demonstrators were killed in Daraa and the coastal city of Jableh, where witnesses said snipers opened fire on the crowd.

The government’s show of force, the largest in weeks of street demonstrations, is sharpening the choice facing President Obama, who has attempted to balance calls for democratic reform in the Arab world with concerns of allies that have counted on President Bashar al-Assad to preserve stability in the volatile Middle East.

In case you don’t recall this, the current Secretary of State tried explaining to an astounded Bob Schieffer last month that the difference between Libya and Syria was that Moammar Gaddafi had threatened to use military force and that Bashar Assad was a “reformer” (via Greg Hengler):

Roger L. Simon at PJM couldn’t believe his ears at the time, asking whether or not Hillary Clinton was as moronic as she sounded:

No, she is not, but our secretary of State was certainly acting like an idiot when she branded Bashar Al-Assad a “reformer” on Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” that is unless she was going for laughs. The Assads, pere et fils, are reformers in the sense Pol Pot was a reformer. The major difference between the Alawite dictators and the Cambodian was the extent of their brutality. Not only that, Bashar is now allied with Iran, the nation, as we all know, whose religious fanatic leaders are busily trying to construct nuclear weapons.

Not to mention that Syria openly supports Hezbollah’s stranglehold on Lebanon, despite (or more accurately, because of) their status as an Iranian-backed terrorist network.  Even before the tanks rolled into Daraa, the idea that Assad was a “reformer” was a patently ridiculous statement.

Now that Assad has declared war on his own nation, the White House is in a very embarrassing position.  The administration used that excuse to attack Libya after European nations got the UN to back military action to protect civilians their oil fields.  The UN rested its mandate on a “responsibility to protect,” shorthanded into the R2P doctrine, which stated that the UN had the duty to intervene to protect civilians and to determine the validity of sovereignty based on a government’s handling of R2P.  Rolling tanks into its cities in order to stifle dissent is exactly what Gaddafi did in Libya.

Will the UN act on Syria?  Will Obama even go as far as he did in Egypt by demanding Assad’s removal, even though Hosni Mubarak hadn’t fired a shot on dissenters at the time?  Or is this administration still more interested in keeping this “reformer” in place?


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SUPER Smart Power !!!!!

PappyD61 on April 26, 2011 at 9:34 AM

our secretary of State was is certainly acting like an idiot

There. Fixed it. Smart Power!!! Can we send Billary over to China and appoint her to their Secretary of State position? She’ll get a chance to wear her Mao fashion!

search4truth on April 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM

More Syrians have been killed by Assad than Libyans were killed under Gadaffi…which, according to The One, was our reason for intervening in Libya, months not weeks, ago…to stop the killing and save the “democratic” movement in Libya.

The major difference, it appears, is that the Syrians fighting and protesting and dying against the yoke of Assad are not infiltrated by Al-Qaeda, or the Moslem Brotherhood as is the Libyan “democracy movement.”

Take from this what you wish…but it certainly does show a bias toward “progressive” neo-Islamism on the part of the Obama Administration.

coldwarrior on April 26, 2011 at 9:37 AM

I think the difference is that Syria is a puppet of Iran, which also got a pass on shooting its own people.

Iran has also gotten passes on arming the insurgency in Iraq and the Taliban is Afghanistan.

Wonder why.

Akzed on April 26, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Obama Definition Of “Reformer”

He who uses various means to re-form the physical geography of cities, villages, streets, buildings, sidewalks, people’s faces, various body parts, etc.

pilamaye on April 26, 2011 at 9:42 AM

What a joke our Badministration is.

blatantblue on April 26, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Another strongly worded statement should stop all this…

PatriotRider on April 26, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Have recently been reminded of a stand up comic, circa very early 1990s. He imagined a bureaucrat in Iraq going to Saddam Hussein and saying, “Uh, sir, Bob and I were talking about this whole “killing our own people” thing and wondering if it was such a good idea. You see, we — oh, you’ve gone and shot Bob. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Bob’s a traitor. Yeah, I’ve suspected him from day one. I’ll go now, OK? We’ll find you some more people to kill….”

apostic on April 26, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Will the UN act on Syria? Will Obama even go as far as he did in Egypt by demanding Assad’s removal, even though Hosni Mubarak hadn’t fired a shot on dissenters at the time? Or is this administration still more interested in keeping this “reformer” in place?

They won’t lift a finger. They can’t because A)Libya was attacked over European oil, not civilian casualities and B)Obama knows he can’t do anything to Syria and risk any further political fallout. The left(particularly the anti-war crowd) has already sacrificed whatever shred of credibility they had left by looking the other way with Libya. They won’t do that if another country is attacked.

Doughboy on April 26, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Folks, this is all a big SETUP for the Palestinians to ‘rise up for freedom’ against their eeeeeevil Jooooooooo oppressors. Obama will take advantage of the precedent he’s already set in Libya and move on Israel.

Mark my words.

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 9:51 AM

The difference between Syria and Libya is that Syria is harder to get to and has more allies nearby.

Count to 10 on April 26, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Maybe somebody will be smart enough to use a dagger instead of a sword this time.

Slowburn on April 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Let’s have a foreign policy quiz this morning. In fact, let’s set this up as a media quiz, which means that if you’re a member of the Obama administration, there are no wrong answers. What does a “reformer” do when the people under his dictatorship strong central government erupt in protest against his regime? Does he (a) agree to hold immediate elections to form a truly representative government, (b) ask the UN to mediate the dispute, or (c) shoot unarmed protesters one at a time until that gets boring, and then send out tanks and troops to suppress dissent?

The answer is letter 5: 42! Hey, there are no wrong answers.

rbj on April 26, 2011 at 10:10 AM

This proves he’s reformer.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/04/028900.php

NickDeringer on April 26, 2011 at 10:11 AM

For anyone still unclear as to the motives behind The One’s interactions with foreign powers, Obama has been “perfectly clear.”

If you in the past were aligned with the US, he is against YOU!

If you are now, or in the past, have directly worked against American interests you’re his BFF’s!

There is not one ally he hasn’t stabbed in the back while simultaneously, at a minimum given a pass(see Iran & Syria)to your actions. In some cases he outright assists our enemy’s as they work against us, see Chavez & Zalaya vs. Democratic Honduras.

Quite simply we have put an enemy in the Oval Office, is any surprise that things are not going particularly well at the moment?

Obma is The Manchurian Candidate President!

Only the adage, if true, that God protects fools, drunks and children, can possibly save us now. And even then, the odds are not that good.

Why you say?

Vaclav Havel (Who actually desereved a Nobel) summed it better than I can possibly hope to.

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

Archimedes on April 26, 2011 at 10:12 AM

The difference between Syria and Libya is that Syria is harder to get to and has more allies nearby.

Count to 10 on April 26, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Bingo! Syria has a rather large and well-equipped military. Throw in the fact that even Israel, which regards Assad as a hemorrhoid, is concerned about what replaces him, and you have a no-win.

Remember, Assad and Syria’s ruling elite are Alawis, who are not considered Muslims by the Wahhabi lobby. Yes, they have made Lebanon a quasi-puppet, but Assad doesn’t have gradiose dreams of a caliphate, for example.

Given Egypt’s cloudy prospects right now, I can easily see how Syria could be much, much worse–especially with a stable regime in Tehran (thanks, 44) roiling the waters.

DRPrice on April 26, 2011 at 10:14 AM

So when are the drones going to be unleashed on Syria? Or is this another “reset button” moment?

GarandFan on April 26, 2011 at 10:14 AM

GarandFan on April 26, 2011 at 10:14 AM

No drones. This is a job for an assassin.

Slowburn on April 26, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Gosh, Ed, is it really all that hard to figure out?

Syria, Iran = active threats to Israel.

Egypt, Libya = not active threats to Israel.

Kafir on April 26, 2011 at 10:22 AM

You guys just have to follow the advice of my liberal friend. He said, “Obama’s smarter than you think.”

shick on April 26, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Re “Roger L. Simon at PJM couldn’t believe his ears at the time, asking whether or not Hillary Clinton was as moronic as she sounded…”

This is due to propaganda that was shoved down our throats during Hillary’s run at the presidency. Remember ‘the smartest woman in the world’? Just as with little Bammie, the liberals carefully construct a narrative of brilliance around their leaders, when in reality they are nothing of the sort. In the case of both little Bammie and Hillary, they are of pretty average intelligence, in positions that demand far more.

slickwillie2001 on April 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Assad knows that he has but a short time … to put this rebellion down.

OldEnglish on April 26, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Is it time for another one of Nancy Pelosi’s burka wearing, high profile trips to visit her very good friend Assad?

Roy Rogers on April 26, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Syria, reforming living opponents into dead ones for over 30 years!

Dictators who want to fight a war don’t even have to go over a single border… they can have a cozy fight right at home whenever the first crack of weakness shows.

Syria needs to reform into a tiny autocratic state going out about 10 miles beyond Damascus. That should only mean a few small nuclear labs and continued drug smuggling to support it from its agents in Lebanon. Of course that would leave the rest of the provinces to figure it out on their own… you gotta wonder what the Kurds in the eastern part of Syria would opt for… and if the regime falls this is one of the major outcomes that would be in the offing. Not immediately, but in the immediate future.

The road to peace does, indeed, go through Damascus. With much blood as peace then rolls right on through the place.

Change I can support! Not much hope, though, but lotsa change….

ajacksonian on April 26, 2011 at 10:54 AM

This whole thing validates the domino theory from years ago.

I keep asking myself… what if Obama had backed the rebels in Iran and over turned that government, what would we be dealing with today?

Probably, a much different looking outcome over all.

Dominoes can fall in two directions.

petunia on April 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM

If there is a bigger laughingstock on the world stage than Obama, it would be Hillary. Like Obama, she is totally incapable of the truth and just as big a coward. The sad truth, the only people who doesn’t know this are themselves and the brainwashed illiterates with the single digit IQs who keep them in power.

volsense on April 26, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Has anyone asked the fabulous Asma what she thinks of all this?

SukieTawdry on April 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Again, the only reason The One decided to go into Libya is he was hoping it was a quick war he’d win. Libya wouldn’t put up much of a fight, the Syrians much more so. Libya is a stalemate and moving to the lose column. Clauswitz said “War is a mere continuation of policy by other means.” Clauswitz also said “… war is no pastime; no mere passion for venturing and winning.” Obama uses the military like turning on a light switch except it’s us who’ll be doing the dying.

TulsAmerican on April 26, 2011 at 3:25 PM

What do you want? She said that what has been happening in Syria’s version of the Arab Spring is “deeply concerning”. I think that’s all we can and should expect of the leaders of the last, best hope on earth for freedom and world peace.

/s

MJBrutus on April 26, 2011 at 3:39 PM