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6 reasons not to intervene in Syria


By going to the UN to defend France’s position at a time when his popularity is at its lowest in France, François Hollande is persisting in his strategic mistake and his wish to make a military intervention in Syria part of a UN resolution. This proposition will never be accepted by the Security Council because, although the use of chemical weapons in Syria is recognized by the UN, there is no direct proof that this was initiated by Assad’s regime, allowing Russia to affirm the opposite.
A part from there being no legitimate international right without a UN authorization -that the Americans did without when they went to war in Iraq, pretexting the presence of mass destruction weapons- here are six reasons why a military intervention in Syria would be a strategic and geopolitical mistake.

1. War would be added to war. What will happen if an occidental missile hits a chemical weapon depot and causes the deaths of thousands of Syrians? This may be what already happened on the outskirts of Damas. According to UN inspectors, shots were fired by Al Assad’s forces but chemical weapons experts have suggested that these shots could have hit the clandestine lab of a rebel group making Sarin: “Sarin is not a difficult substance to manufacture, with a few chemical engineers and explosives experts it’s possible to produce enough to destroy a city. Remember the attacks perpetrated on the Tokyo underground by the Aum sect on March 20, 1995. Haruki Murakami’s excellent book “Underground” illustrates this well. There are also risks for the people preparing the Sarin. Mistakes are always possible and could have dramatic consequences on their environment. A loyalist’s artillery or mortar shot could also have hit such a laboratory ”. What will happen if after the air strike Al Assad’s regime does not fall? If the Russian ships crossing the Mediterranean also hit the rebel positions or if Iran sends thousands of fighters to support Assad, will we be able to contain such a progression?

2. We would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. By delivering weapons to the FSA we will be taking the risk of finding them between the hands of Al Qaida Islam radicals. Who can be sure that Islam Radicals have not infiltrated the FSA? They fight side by side in the field and who could stop a member of Al Qaida getting hold of the weapon of a dead or injured FSA rebel? That is also the opinion of Arnaud Danjean, president of the Security and Defense sub-commission of the European Parliament who doesn’t hide his scepticism: “such deliveries will be totally uncontrollable”, adding that “those that are will concern only the non-central units and are therefore not decisive”. This ex DGSE (Direction générale de la Sécurité extérieure) member who served in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990’s was already opposed to lifting the embargo on weapons destined to the Bosnian government or anti-Albanian rebels of the UCK at the time of the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia. The European deputy concluded that “the main problem is still the absolute fragmentation of the rebel groups”.

3. We are openly taking sides in a confessional civil war. It is not a revolution that is taking place in Syria. If al Assad is still in power after two and a half years it’s because he is supported by all religious minorities (Alawites, Shiites, and Christians of all denominations) who lived in peace on Syrian lands. For them, a Sunni Islamist victory would mean death or exile. In Islam, the Alawites are considered to be traitors . In fact in the XIVth Century this induced a fatwa from the Salafist scholar Ibn Taymiyya, predecessor or the current Wahhabism, ordering their persecution and genocide. The fatwa has never been condemned and is still in practice today especially among Salafists, Wahhabists and the Muslim Brotherhood. Persecuted for centuries the Alawites didn’t take their revenge until Hafez al Assad (Bachar’s father)’s coup. The confessional civil war is linked to Syrian History. In 1980 a Muslim Brotherhood commando soldier entered the Army cadets’ school in Alep; getting rid of student Sunnite officers he massacred 80 Alawite cadets with a knife and assault rifle in application of the fatwa. The Muslim Brotherhood paid the expenses in 1982 in Hama –the community’s fief– that was practically destroyed by his brother Rifaat al-Assad causing more than 10,000 victims.

4. We would be openly joining a coalition dominated by religious obscurantism. Saudi-Arabia, the first sponsor of the rebels in this confessional war, is a monarchy from the Middle Ages that promotes the Hanbalist School, the most traditionalist of Sunni Islam that abolishes women’s rights and is the origin of the radical Wahhabist current and the terrorist organizations the Muslim brothers and the Al Qaida Salafists. The second sponsor, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan close to the Muslim Brotherhood wants to impose a rigorous Islam and who is arming “katibas” that are composed of Turkish and Kurdish radical Islamists.

5. We are exposing ourselves to retaliation from the other camp: boycotting of French companies in Iraq and Iran, or even terrorist attacks against our expats and on our territory. Indeed, Iraq and Iran, mainly Shiite-dominated countries, support al Assad because they know that an Islamist caliph would export civil war to their country. This is already the case in Iraq where the Sunnite minority (20% of the population) abused by Maliki, is rebelling against Shiite power and is protecting the terrorists claiming to be part of the Al Qaida movement. Iraq is already polluted by the Syrian civil war (in August 570 dead and 1200 injured were counted on Iraqi soil).

6. We would contribute to creating a new cold war climate with Russia. This would serve American interests at a time when Europe’s security, economic and political interests should lead Europe to seal a strategic alliance with Russia. The country is home to 25 million Muslims –as is Europe-, and owns raw material that we need and would allow the voice of Europe to be heard in international relations that will be dominated in the near future by the Sino-American condominium.

General (2S) Jean-Bernard PINATEL