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There is no US national security interest in a Syrian intervention

I just wanted to make that clear as we look at the Turkish jet shoot down and the fact that Turkey has invoked chapter 4 of the NATO treaty:

That is the provision that calls on NATO member countries to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.” Turkey’s Islamist foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has announced that Turkey is calling for an emergency consultation of NATO members under Article 4 to consider a response to what it deems Syrian aggression.

Now the backstory, so you at least understand why this presents a possibility of NATO, and thus the US, being pulled into such an intervention (possibly willingly, I’ll get to that later).  It comes from Andrew McCarty at PJ Media:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a Sunni Islamic supremacist with longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Sunni supremacist organization. The Brotherhood is leading the mujahideen (called the “opposition” or the “rebels” by the mainstream media) that seeks to oust the Assad regime in Syria — dominated by the Alawites, a minority Shiite sect. Unsurprisingly, then, Turkey’s government has taken a very active role in abetting the Brotherhood’s operations against the Syrian regime, which have also been joined by al-Qaeda and other Sunni militants.

On Friday, a Turkish air force jet entered Syrian air space, and Assad regime forces shot it down. Turkey claims the jet “mistakenly” cruised over Syria, and that, by the time it was taken down, it was in international air space over the Mediterranean. One need carry no brief for Assad to conclude that, given the interventionist drumbeat for no-fly zones and direct military and logistical aid to the “opposition,” Syria rationally took the presence of a Turkish military aircraft in its air space as a provocation. Turkey insists it was not “spying” — that this was just an accident to which Syria overreacted. That would be a good argument if the regime were not under siege and if the Syrian and Turkish governments had not been exchanging hostile words (mostly, threats from Erdogan) for months. That, of course, is not the case.

Confused?  Well don’t be.  This is just another chapter in the eternal war between the Sunnis and Shiites and between the religious and secular.  Turkey happens to be an Islamic Sunni enclave (some want you to believe the country is “secular” but it isn’t thanks to Erdogan) and Syria is ruled by a “secular” Shiite government which, by the way, is ideologically identical to Saddam’s Iraq.  You know, the Syrian government headed by a man this US administration labeled as “a reformer” not so long ago?  Well, it’s “under the bus” time for him.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia – that would be Wahhabist Saudi Arabia (Sunni) – have been arming the Syrian rebels along with who, oh yeah, the Muslim Brotherhood.  And that has ended up seeing good old Al Qaeda show up on the rebel side, which apparently is fine with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Brotherhood.


The Obama administration, from its first days, has cozied up to the Muslim Brotherhood — both Brotherhood branches in the Middle East, and Brotherhood satellite organizations in the U.S., such as CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America. Obama has also been quietly supporting the Syrian mujahideen: coordinating with repressive Islamist governments in Turkey and Saudi Arabia to arm and train them, and reportedly dispatching the CIA to facilitate this effort. But it has thus far resisted calls for more overt participation — calls by pro-Brotherhood progressives in both parties for something along the lines of what Obama did in Libya, meaning: without congressional approval and toward the end of empowering virulently anti-Western Islamists.

There was no US interest in intervening in Libya but we did (we used R2P as the excuse and NATO as the tool).  Syria, of course, would present orders of magnitudes more difficulty militarily.  It is a much more sophisticated military power than was Libya.

The problem?  Well while Obama may be reluctant to intervene alone, NATO might provide a perfect excuse/vehicle.  And the benefits would be fairly obvious electorally.  It would “change the subject” again.  It would make him a “war time” president (yes, technically he is now, but A’stan isn’t “his” war so he doesn’t quite get the benefit public support for his continuation in office).  And he could cite “treaty obligations” as a reason without having to go to Congress.

He also has the “good experience” of Libya as a sort of enticement to try the same thing again.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia make out rather well too.  They  get the crusaders to fight and die in their battle all so the Islamists can eventually take the prize.  The US and NATO would end up fighting to help put Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Syria.

Ironic?  Uh, slightly.

Point: This is not a NATO or US fight.  This is something that we should stay as far from as we can.

Politics, however, will be integral to any decision made at this point, at least in the US. Domestic electoral politics.  What scares me is the possibility the Obama administration may conclude it is a good idea politically to use NATO to “change the subject” and make Obama a “war time President” hoping the advantages of that situation will make the difference in November.  And it wouldn’t be a unilateral decision, but instead receive bi-partisan support as Sen. McCain and other GOP members have been outspoken in their desire to intervene.

Call me paranoid but I find nothing in my analysis that’s at all infeasible or improbable.  In fact, having watched this administration at work, I consider it to be a completely possible scenario.


Twitter: @McQandO

17 Responses to There is no US national security interest in a Syrian intervention

  • One thing is certain. In conservative sites they same old actors have been sounding the war drums. It is amazing that a certain type of conservative mindset falls for this military crap so easily.
    We have had a decidedly interventionist stance in the middle east for a long time now, and what do we have to show for it?
    Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, all controlled now by anti-western jihadists.  Nice going.

    • You left a certain country out…. I wonder why

    • In the case of Egypt and Libya putting jihadists in place was the US plan.
      You might have a point with Turkey and Pakistan, but in Turkey and Tunisia, jihadists were greenlighted by this sitting President.  Jimmy Carter gave us the Ayatollah and today’s Iran.  Syria is already antogonistic to the US which is why the Obama hasn’t started dropping bombs.
      I’m sorry but the worst examples are from us ‘getting out of the way’.  Maybe we spilled the milk, but all walking away appears to do is let the milk sour.

      • Let me clarify.  I’m not saying we should intervene militarily, but the whole idea of walking away and not looking out for our interests where we can, does not have a peaches and creme outcome from what I scene so far.

      • Jimmy Carter gave us the Ayatollah and today’s Iran.

        As much as I loathe Jimmy Carter, I don’t see how you lay the Islamic revolution at his feet.  I’d fault him for failing to solve the hostage crisis, but the primary reason for the popular resentment towards the Shah was his brutal authoritarian rule. Meddling by the UK and US, from the Churchill/Eisenhower Operation Ajax coup to the oil industry, as well as the pro-Western cultural changes generated resentment among the Islamists.
        How you fault Carter for that uprising, I have no idea.

  • And then there’s the Russian support of Assad to consider.
    Does NATO really want to prod the Russians at this point over a downed Turkish plane when they may have provoked the crisis?
    Given that Putin is throwing his weight around, is now a good time to call his bluff, when we have a Russian President who’s idea of a good time is to go whale hunting from a zodiac boat with a hand held harpoon cannon versus our President’s idea of a good time riding his wife’s bicycle with his daughter’s helmet on?
    If EVER there was a President less ready to stare down the Russian Bear THIS one is the one.
    Then add in turmoil in Greece (people, starving!  starving I tell you!), Spain and Italy, can NATO REALLY afford to play intervention games in Syria on behalf of Islamist Turkey?
    Sure, we (NATO) can probably beat Syria up, and the Russians will probably back down because they really don’t want a shooting war, but when the smoke clears, how is Islamic Brotherhood Syria, installed by the US personally, a good thing?

  • Turkey sure helped us in Iraq right? Eff them

  • OK, allow me to provide some Devilish Advocacy:
    1) US does have some national interest in Syria. Consider Syria’s effect on Lebanon and Iraq and terror in general and its location near the Gulf. This is not Rwanda or Kosovo.
    2) NATO is a treaty for all its members. We invoked it to get help after 9/11. I see no reason why Turkey should not have that right as well in this incident. That does not mean invading Syria though. Be very cautious in re-defining what a treaty means. McQ ‘s question “what if someone else did that to us, how would we feel?” applies. You don’t help Turkey in this instance, where it feels it was attacked, then what happens if Russia invaded Estonia or if we need NATO in Afghanistan? The Turks have troops in Afghanistan or did IIRC) Now, since they didn’t help in Iraq, we may have an out of some kind, but I’d suggest offering SOME assistance. We still have airbases in the country.

    • “I see no reason why Turkey should not have that right as well in this incident”

       NATO was designed as a defensive alliance.Turkey violated Syrian airspace and Syria defended that airspace. If the Turks really want to “consult together” our response should be “Stay out of Syrian airspace”.

      “I’d suggest offering SOME assistance”

      Sure. Give them maps and GPS systems so they can avoid ‘accidently’ violating Syrian airspace. Problem solved.

      • Ennnnnh, come on. Sending a couple of AWACS isn’t the end of the world.
        But you got me thinking…this could be a set up. We need an “incident” and now we have one!

    • Adding to what Harun said, we invoked NATO on Iraq and Turkey told us to screw off.

  • The Russians claim to see NATO as an aggressive organization. Expanding it to Russia’s borders in the wake of Russia’s withdrawal from Germany et al., then overthrowing the Libyan government certainly did nothing to convince them otherwise. Attempting to overthrow the government of a country allied with Russia and in which Russia has a naval base would not help. Let’s remember, there are Russian military forces in Syria, and collateral damage from airstrikes is not an unknown occurence. ‘Remember the Maine’. 

    They say every cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in the 2008 election was the defeat of John McCain.