The Assad family has been ruling Syria in a brutal dictatorship since 1970. The Ba'ath Party toppled the Syrian government in 1963 and was largely controlled by an ultra-leftist faction. Hafez al-Assad, a Baathist operative that helped bring the coup to fruition, became Minister of Defense in 1967, presiding of Israel's recapturing of the Golan Heights. In 1970 he engineered and executed a bloodless coup in which his military faction of the Ba'ath party seized control and purged the government of the leftists. Since then, Assad rule (including that of the eye doctor turned dictator, Bashar al-Assad) has been marked by brutal repression of human rights and tight secret police control.
So while the Assad regime is killing its people in the streets, UNSG Ban Ki-Moon is only asking Assad to show "maximum restraint." No calls to the international community to leap into action to stop the killings though. Pampers issued his usual statement "strongly" condemning the Syrian government's repressing the demonstrators. Oooh. I'm sure Assad is quaking in his loafers.
So what gives? What is it that is isolating Syria from international military action? Perhaps it's the fact that the regime is backed by Iran, and has provided a haven to Hamas and Hezbullah operatives. Perhaps it is because Syria has stockpiles of chemical weapons and an unchecked nuclear program. Perhaps it is because Syria has a large ballistic missile arsenal thanks to North Korea, Russia, Iran, and China, an arsenal it could use effectively against all of Israel.
Let's face it, the UN and its Arab/Islamist masters are bent on using the international body to cripple Israel in any way possible. Why would they lift a finger to harm the one regime that is positioned on Israel's border with the ability of dealing it a serious blow?
So the big question is, what should Israel do? The Pampers administration has made it clear that it will not use force to depose Assad. Hezbullah and the Iranian Republican Guard is heavily involved in repressing the protests. Assad has allowed al-qaeda to move through Syria to Iraq. Toppling Assad could allow the Muslim Brotherhood to assume control there. But there is a wild card as Caroline Glick points out: the Kurds.
The Kurds make up around 10 percent of Syria's population. They oppose not only the Baathist regime, but also the Muslim Brotherhood. Represented in exile by the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, since 2004 they have sought the overthrow of the Assad regime and its replacement by democratic, decentralized federal government. Decentralizing authority, they believe, is the best way to check tyranny of both the Baathist and the Muslim Brotherhood variety. The Kurdish demand for a federal government has been endorsed by the Sunni-led exile Syrian Reform Party.
This week the KNA released a statement to the world community. Speaking for Syria's Kurds and for their Arab, Druse, Alevi and Christian allies in Syria, it asked for the "US, France, UK and international organizations to seek [a] UN resolution condemning [the] Syrian regime for using violence against [the Syrian] people."
The KNA's statement requested that the US and its allies "ask for UN-sponsored committees to investigate the recent violence in Syria, including the violence used against the Kurds in 2004."
The KNA warns, "If the US and its allies fail to support democratic opposition [groups] such as the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria and others, [they] will be making a grave mistake," because they will enable "radical groups to rise and undermine any democratic movements," and empower the likes of Hezbollah and Iran.
[Well gosh gee, that's exactly what the US did in Egypt. Why should Syria be any different? The US under Pampers has already allowed Hezbullah to effectively assume control of Lebanon, and has no plans to do anything about the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of Egypt.]
Glick asserts that the Israelis should arm the Kurds and support them. How things would turn out in the chaos cannot be foreseen, but seeing how they oppose the same forces that Syria lends support to, it would make sense strategically. In any case, as Glick points out, all this domestic unrest is forcing Assad to turn his attention away from supporting Hezbullah, as well as stirring up civil unrest in Jordan via Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
As long as Syria is the benefactor of anti-Israeli terrorists with Iran serving as its ultimate puppet master, it serves the desires of the pResident and the UN, a potential tool for destroying Israel. Regime change is the last thing they want. If Israel were to become involved in a conflict with Hezbullah and Syria I wonder how fast the pResident would act with R2P insistence from the UN? Probably faster than you can say "falafel." Arming and supporting the Kurds makes perfect sense. I wonder if Israel will fail to seize the initiative here as it did during the so-called Cedar Revolution, when Syria was ejected from Lebanon? Israel could have created a situation where Hezbullah was marginalized and driven out as well. It failed to do so. The stakes are much higher now.
Proper handling of this situation by Israel could mean choking off supply lines of WMD to Hezbullah, crippling IRG forces in Syria, as well as rounding up and shutting down Hamas in Damascus. There is great opportunity here for Israel to undo the plans of its enemies. May HaShem bless the leaders of Israel with the wisdom and resolve to do what needs to be done.