2124Condoleezza Rice on Syria: America must act - ARM THE OPPOSITION!
- Nov 21, 2012Condi says arm the unified Syrian opposition!
Syria adds to Mideast perilby Condoleezza Rice
The civil war in Syria may well be the last act in the story of the disintegration of the Middle East as we know it. The opportunity to hold the region together and to rebuild it on a firmer foundation of tolerance, freedom and, eventually, democratic stability is slipping from our grasp.
Egypt and Iran are states with long, continuous histories and strong national identities. Turkey is as well, but there is the matter of the Kurds, who are still largely unassimilated, mistrusted by Ankara and tempted by the hope of independent nationhood.
Every other important state is a modern construct, created by the British, who drew borders like lines on the back of an envelope, without regard for ethnic and sectarian differences.
The results: A Bahrain that is 70 percent Shiite, governed by a Sunni monarch. Saudi Arabia was created with a 10 percent Shiite population in its richest provinces to the east. Iraq is 65 percent Shiite, 20 percent Sunni, and a mix of Kurds and others, all ruled until 2003 by an iron-fisted Sunni dictator. Jordan's population is almost 70 percent Palestinian. Lebanon is roughly evenly divided among Sunnis, Shiites and Christians. And then there is Syria: a conglomerate of Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and others, ruled by the Alawite minority.
This fragile state structure has been held together for decades by monarchs and dictators. But as the desire for freedom has spread from Tunis to Cairo to Damascus, authoritarians have lost their grip. The danger is that these artificial states could fly apart.
In Iraq, after overthrowing Saddam Hussein, the United States hoped that a fledging multi-ethnic, multiconfessional democracy could do what authoritarians could not: give all of these groups a stake in a common future.
The conflict in Syria is pushing Iraq and others to the breaking point. At the same time, U.S. disengagement has tempted Iraqi politicians to move toward sectarian allies for survival. If Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cannot count on the Americans, he will take no risks with Tehran.
The great mistake of the past year has been to define the conflict with Bashar Assad's regime as a humanitarian one. The regime in Damascus has been brutal and many innocent people have been slaughtered. But this was no replay of Libya. Much more is at stake.
Tehran no longer hides the fact that its security forces are working in Syria to prop up Assad. In this context, Tehran's sprint toward a nuclear weapon is a problem not just for Israel but the region as a whole.
So where is the United States? America has spent 12 months trying to get the Russians and the Chinese to agree to toothless U.N. resolutions to "stop the bloodshed" in Syria, as though Moscow will abandon Assad and Beijing really cares about chaos in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin is not a sentimental man. But if he believes that Assad can survive, he will do nothing to undermine him.
In recent days, France has stepped into the diplomatic vacuum to recognize a newly formed opposition that is broadly representative of all Syrians. The United States should follow Paris' lead and then vet and arm the unified group on the condition that it pursues an inclusive post-Assad framework.
Certainly there are risks.
After more than a year of brutal conflict, the most extreme elements of the opposition - including al-Qaida - have been empowered. The overthrow of Assad could indeed bring these dangerous groups to power. But the breakdown of the Middle East state system is a graver risk. Iran will win, our allies will lose and for decades the region's misery and violence will make today's chaos look tame.
War is not receding in the Middle East. It is building to a crescendo.
Our elections are over. Now, America must act.http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Syria-adds-to-Mideast-peril-4055414.php
Condoleezza Rice is the leader of the free world
Wikipedia: National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forceshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Coalition_for_Syrian_Revolutionary_and_Opposition_Forces
Syrian National Coalition
Peter Dow of Rice for President Yahoo Group comments -
Yesterday, Britain, following France, officially recognized the Syrian National Coalition
In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament that Britain had decided to recognize the recently formed coalition as the "sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people."- New York Times
and now with Condi's clear lead, the supreme, paramount leader of the free world has spoken and there can be no more excuse for the Obama administration to delay following suit and also recognizing the Syrian National Coalition.
Enough of the US "leading from behind" already!
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