Syria: Should the United States Do More? — Debate at the McCain Institute

“Syria: Should the United States Do More?” January 15, 2015 debate at the McCain Institute for International Leadership with Mike Doran, Andrew Tabler, Joshua Landis, and Aaron Miller. Elise Labott moderated. Video set to begin in the 11th minute, after the insufferably lengthy intro.

 

Comments (19)


1. Observer said:

The US should withdraw from the ME as it is created this way. These artificial entities are not worth a fingernail of a single US service man or woman.
These European creations are now falling apart in front of our eyes and continued attempts to control the demographic bomb and the religiously inspired discourse in the entire ME should be a warning to all to let the region be. They should solve their problems and we should just let the place sort itself out.

Russia and Iran are too weak in the best of circumstance to fill the void, if they do want to fill the void let them then deal with the consequences. If a Sunni Shia war is the result we should be out of it immediately. If an Arab Persian war let them duke it out alone. If Putin thinks that he can tame the Islamist genie more power to him, if Khamenei thinks that he can take on Bibi let them duke it out as two theocracies fighting it in Biblical terms.

Today instead of ” The minorities should unite together in the ME” (as was posted by that staunch Syrian Nationalist who did not move into Syria 150 years ago and is the original inhabitant of this wretched place) the result was a precise missile hit on this other minority that proclaims that God incarnated in Ali and then he split in two Hassan and Hussein ( why males and not females I do not know yet I am told they are progressives ) and then on to the present Imam and the Velayet e Fagih that the HA leader adheres to.

HA made a declaration that he did not have fighters in the Golan now he has to eat his words. HA made a declaration that it will not sit idle and not respond to Israeli aggression let us see what it proposes to do. Thousands of missiles on Israel at a rate of 1000 per day I guess so that Israel can then nuke the Dahyie.

And here we have our eminent Syrian expert pontificate about our interventions. I invite him to read James Fallows article in the Atlantic about how we continue to lose wars of insurgency. We should stop intervening in the ME.

Just get the hell out of that region. After all Assad or IS they are all the same and they can all sort it out amongst themselves.

Cheers

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January 18th, 2015, 5:45 pm

 

2. mjabali said:

Observaaaaaar:

1- Minorities of the Middle East should unite.

2- Minorities of the Middle East are the first line of defense against extremism.

3- The Israelis should stop these childish moves and find a way to make up with the Shia and work against the bigger realistic danger facing all.

4- The United States of America is deep in the middle east, was and will be, no matter what you think. Sorry Observaaaaaaar there is something called INTERESTS.

5- The United States should interfere in the Middle East because the events that are taking place in the Middle East affect the United States directly. Think of extremism for example.

6- The minorities in the middle east these days also include: Sufis, secular Sunnis, and atheist Sunnis.

7- The childish glee you show regarding the dismantling of the counties of the Middle East is an indication of your inability to see how grave is the situation.

By the way, if the weather was not stormy where I am, I would not have wasted a second on answering your rant and usual insults , and walked my beloved dog instead.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeers

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January 18th, 2015, 10:27 pm

 

3. Rana said:

For the next debate, I suggest you include a Syrian-American on the panel.

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January 19th, 2015, 3:50 am

 

4. Observer said:

The situation is not grave at all here. The situation is very stable. It is in the best interest of the US to get out of the ME. Let the locals deal with the issues locally. Why should we be interfering in the affairs of these countries.

Let them take care of their own extremists on both sides. These are not countries, these are clans and sects and families with flags. Nothing more.

Who cares about these minorities that suffered for so long and now that they are in power in Lebanon and Syria have squandered their opportunity to build a civil society and went on a vengeful rampage.

Who cares if they wish to be tools and instruments of a turbaned fanatic in Qom or a turbaned fanatic in Raqa. Let them duke it out.

If the minorities should unite against extremism, they should first and foremost eschew their extremism both the extremism of Zionism and the extremism of Shiism before they can unite. Sufis, secular Sunnis and of course the ultimate oxymoron atheist Sunnis are also minorities that are going to join your fanatic extremist minority that makes a national holiday the celebration of the death of Omar 1400 years ago and declares that only Najaf will be in heaven and the rest of the world will be in hell.

In the meantime my cat is purring next to me in a nice an cozy warm house heated by solar panels and geothermal energy one effort in putting a nail in the coffin of dirty energy on this planet.

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January 19th, 2015, 7:40 am

 

5. Observer said:

The situation is not grave at all here. The situation is very stable. It is in the best interest of the US to get out of the ME. Let the locals deal with the issues locally. Why should we be interfering in the affairs of these countries.

Let them take care of their own extremists on both sides. These are not countries, these are clans and sects and families with flags. Nothing more.

Who cares about these minorities that suffered for so long and now that they are in power in Lebanon and Syria have squandered their opportunity to build a civil society and went on a vengeful rampage.

Who cares if they wish to be tools and instruments of a turbaned fanatic in Qom or a turbaned fanatic in Raqa. Let them duke it out.

If the minorities should unite against extremism, they should first and foremost eschew their extremism both the extremism of Zionism and the extremism of Shiism before they can unite. Sufis, secular Sunnis and of course the ultimate oxymoron atheist Sunnis are also minorities that are going to join your fanatic extremist minority that makes a national holiday the celebration of the death of Omar 1400 years ago and declares that only Najaf will be in heaven and the rest of the world will be in hell.

In the meantime my cat is purring next to me in a nice an cozy warm house heated by solar panels and geothermal energy one effort in putting a nail in the coffin of dirty energy on this planet.

Every time we intervene we lose. Even an ass learns his lesson after three long wars that ended in our defeat.

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January 19th, 2015, 7:41 am

 

6. Ron Brydges said:

The U.S. should give up on its regime change policy directions as they have been destructive even to the U.S.

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January 19th, 2015, 10:15 am

 

7. ghufran said:

The US will not do more in Syria after realizing that the people it supported are corrupt and many are now allies with Nusra and ISIS.
It is a common belief among Western elite that democracy may not be possible in the Middle East given the widely spread poverty and militant religious schools that are more interested in covering women body than sending girls to school.
What Muslims need first and foremost is jobs and education and they need to send their sheikhs to the nearest mental health institution.
The NY Times is saying what has been circulating for few weeks now:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — American support for a pair of diplomatic initiatives in Syria underscores the shifting views of how to end the civil war there and the West’s quiet retreat from its demand that the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, step down immediately.
The Obama administration maintains that a lasting political solution requires Mr. Assad’s exit. But facing military stalemate, well-armed jihadists and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the United States is going along with international diplomatic efforts that could lead to more gradual change in Syria.
That shift comes along with other American actions that Mr. Assad’s supporters and opponents alike take as proof that Washington buys his contention that the alternative to his rule is extremism and chaos. American warplanes now bomb the Islamic State group’s militants inside Syria, sharing skies with Syrian jets. American officials assure Mr. Assad, through Iraqi intermediaries, that Syria’s military is not their target. The United States still trains and equips Syrian insurgents, but now mainly to fight the Islamic State, not the government.

(Israel and Turkey are not on board, that is why Israel is befriending Nusra and attacking Hizbullah, and Turkey is playing the schizophrenic game where it remains part of NATO and wants to join the EU but still uses Nusra and ISIS to scare its enemies and extend its Uthmani reach)

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January 19th, 2015, 2:13 pm

 

8. ALAN said:

/These artificial entities are not worth a fingernail of a single US service man or woman./?
Hypocrite in hypocrisy market?
Peleg does not address. A group of “researchers” from mental wooden of obsolete splurge in hypocrisy rotting talks.
You know that the world does not trust you, and you are on your own will not be able to solve the world’s issues and even your own ones. Suggest
Embalming you and present you as wooden artifacts extinct in the Museum

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January 19th, 2015, 2:51 pm

 
 

10. Jasmine said:

Is this the same McCain who sneaked into Syria 2 years ago and paused with the heart eater to lift up the moral of the insurgents?
I didn’t know that he has now an institution to encourage selling arms to the ME.
This debate is a clear message to the Gulf and Israel :we are in a tangled web and we can’t fight Iran in Syria anymore,we have weakened the country and killed 200,000 ,displaced 6 Millions and sent 3 Millions refugees outside the country,our mission is accomplished.
Now we have to wait and watch how Syria is turning slowly into Somalia.
This what will happen when cowboys backed by camel riders attempt a regime change in the Middle East .
I hope that every nation which had contributed to the destruction of Syria and the suffering of Syrians will have the taste of its own medicine.

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January 19th, 2015, 8:23 pm

 

11. Observer said:

Yes the US will do more, it will evacuate the embassy in Yemen just as it did in Libya and then will send more troops to defend the consulate in Irbil.

We have had now months of airstrikes and still the town of Kobani is not secure.

In the meantime the minority Kurds in Syria are battling the minority regime in Hasaka and the minority jews are targeting the leaders of the minority Hizb.

It may be that the party of the almighty has staged this “raid” to up the ante and regain it footing as a “resistance” but it better be very careful not to drag all of Lebanon into a huge devastating war.

I do not think that the rest of the Lebanese would appreciate another war now that the country is reeling from the refugee crisis and the infiltration of fanatics.

Yes the US should do more by withdrawing. The NYT reports that the US is quietly urging negotiations even if Assad stays in place. This is great news indeed, let them talk to each other and see what happens. This will actually encourage the regime to continue to battle it out. Let us see who is going to sit with whom, apparently the regime is sending a secondary minister to Moscow.

It seems the US has finally decided to let them duke it out and let it be the problem of Putin and Iran.

I love it, the situation is actually very well described in the Syria Report:
1. The Cement factory has closed its doors
2. The Damascus stock exchange had a record low exchange of 10 million pounds,
3. The US dollar continues to rise
4. The regime has stopped fuel and bread subsidies and gives 4000 pounds to employees to offset that
5. The transportation price has gone up 17 %

Both bases in Hama and Deir are destined to fall. The fanatics are in need of propaganda coup and of munitions and weapons.

Now let us see if the party of the almighty will drag either Lebanon or Syria into the fray with Israel.

As Yemen unravels, there is a wide open field for the radicals to fill the void. And we keep on repeating the same mistakes of thinking that all of the problems are in need of the US military.

As for the US interests they are actually very well served by its allies in the region: Israel, Kurdistan, KSA and UAE and Kuwait. Who needs anything more, the oil, the location, the money, the weapons sales, and anything in between. We can withdraw and let them duke it out.

Cheers

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January 19th, 2015, 10:44 pm

 

12. Observer said:

Here is from the Daily Star: enjoy and tell me why should we intervene in such a place that is actually starving even its loyalists to stay in power even if staying over a stinking garbage dump.

It is truly a testimony of how backward these mountain men have remained

Enjoy

BEIRUT: Regime-held areas of Syria faced a transportation crunch Monday after the government’s decision to raise prices on fuel, in an apparent bid to eliminate two-tiered pricing system that had led to shortages and rampant smuggling.

The government announced the price hikes, which covered diesel, butane gas and bread, late Saturday, a public holiday.

The price of a packet of bread, weighing just under 1.5 kilograms, rose from SP 25 to SP 35, while a canister of butane gas jumped from around SP 1,100 to SP 1,500.

A liter of diesel rose from SP 85 to SP 125 but the Economy Ministry’s decree eliminated the second, higher price for industrial uses, at around SP 140 per liter, as part of a policy of “rationalizing” state subsidies, Prime Minister Wael Halqi said.

The decisions were followed up Monday with a decree by President Bashar Assad, granting a monthly “cost-of-living compensation” of SP 4,000 ($18) to public sector employees, members of the military and retirees, according to state news agency SANA.

But after the authorities raised the price of diesel, thousands of people dependent on privately owned minibuses to get around were left scrambling to finding available transport, media reports said.

Anti-regime activists posted video footage of the paralysis that gripped the President’s Bridge in Damascus, while similar scenes were reported in several transport hubs in the capital, along with the city of Latakia.

Transportation authorities scrambled to authorize a price hike for so-called “service” minibuses, finally settling at 17 percent, while pro-opposition media outlets said that hundreds of minibuses were sitting idle as their owners were unable to buy diesel that was in short supply.

Other minibus drivers had begun hiking their prices between anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, some reports said. Pro-regime social media also reported the sudden price hikes in a number of cities.

Economists known for their anti-regime views were quick to claim the moves indicated the regime was facing an economic crisis that was spiraling out of control, while government officials defended the policy, arguing the new prices would eventually eliminate rampant shortages in staple goods.In areas controlled by opposition groups, the prices for such goods are considerably higher, while shortages are also common.

Fares Shehabi, a prominent Aleppo-based regime loyalist who heads the city’s Chamber of Commerce, commented that the latest pricing decisions appeared to be misguided. “Lifting subsidies is one thing, but the way in which they are lifted is another,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Regime loyalists, on social media, were divided over Assad’s decree granting a monthly cost-of-living payment – which is not subject to taxation or other deductions – in the wake of the weekend hikes. “SP 4,000 is good for a state employee, even though it’s nothing,” wrote a commenter on a pro-regime Facebook page. “Congratulations, brother employee. And if you’re not a state employee … God loves you, and you’ll be joining Him shortly.”

Other comments on the move included enthusiastic praise for Assad, along with criticism of government officials for corrupt behavior.

“His excellency President Bashar Assad is great – but the government is all wrong,” one commenter said, summing up a prevailing view.

– See more at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Jan-20/284677-syria-faces-anger-over-fuel-bread-price-hikes.ashx#sthash.ypQjvVC9.dpuf

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January 19th, 2015, 11:00 pm

 

13. Ziad Fadel said:

With the exception of Aaron, who attended the University of Michigan with me, the entire discussion was devoid of any intelligence or insight. I can’t wait to see the first American pilot parachuting down to his allies in ISIS who will, doubtlessly, have an orange jump suit ready for him. I can’t wait to see the Moskva burn your stinking missiles. Get out of Syria and take your rats with you.

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January 20th, 2015, 7:57 am

 

14. mjabali said:

Observaaar in comments # 4 and 5 started by saying: “The situation is not grave at all here. The situation is very stable. ”

Then he backpedalled in comment # 9 after he heard that the Huthis took over the Yemeni Capital threatening years of chaos. Then he quoted an article in a magazine as if it the bible in comment #10 to prove whatever.

Observaaaaar: Yes minorities clash here and there, but in the big picture there is a unity element amongst us more than what you think.

They should work more on this.

The threat of extremism in the Middle East is reaching new heights everyday.

As for the Athiest Sunnis: I asked my dog and he said he knows it means the Atheist that came from a Sunni background, and not like your definition that entails a practicing Sunni and a practicing atheist at the same tome. Could that contradictory person be you
claim to be an atheist but speaks and thinks like Ibn Taymiyah?

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January 20th, 2015, 10:49 am

 

15. ALAN said:

/Is this the same McCain who sneaked into Syria 2 years ago and paused with the heart eater to lift up the moral of the insurgents?/

Y E S !

The choice of meeting-place, above mentioned, and associated with the wars criminal that stained his hands with blood in Vietnam and in many places is not a pure coincidence.
Take a look to this piece for more details
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35132.htm

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January 20th, 2015, 2:08 pm

 

16. ALAN said:

American psychopathic hawks
Are you moving forward with your five eyes spiral snakey to a world war?
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11389202

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January 20th, 2015, 6:45 pm

 

17. ALAN said:

3. RANA
Thank you for your invitation of those american concerned.
For science,that the number of Syrian graduates of the Soviet Union and Russia outnumber their counterparts Americans thousands of times and now they are down from generation politicians and ministers and decision-makers and infrastructure engineers etc…

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January 21st, 2015, 4:58 am

 

18. Joe said:

One take away I got from this discussion is that it is a fallacy to portray the Syrian Sunni as monolithic. The repeated notion that this is “75% of Syria” is an oversimplification. This community is vastly divided by dialect, region, kinship groups, economic class, urban/rural divisions, politics, Arab and Kurdish ethnicity, and even personal religious practice (or lack of). If it was one community, the current situation would be untenable.

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January 21st, 2015, 7:35 pm

 

19. Akbar Palace said:

Interesting discussion.

I thought all the participants made good points.

I tend to think the ME needs permanent bases and foreign military overlords just like after WW2 in Japan and Germany. I think the need is even greater than it was after WW2.

What the panel didn’t mention, was that the surge worked well, and Iraq became fairly stable, that is, until Obama had to dismantle it all to “prove” GWB was wrong. Now Obama is rebuilding what he destroyed; go figure.

I think the UN needs intervene militarily. Perhaps the superpowers should be responsible for certain regions, again, just like after WW2.

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January 27th, 2015, 9:48 am

 

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