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 drum-beat 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.