Mary A Moore
September has always been a pivotal time for the western world. It has meant the end of summer and the return to work or school for many. It was the time to think of harvest and keeping an eye towards an approaching winter. More recently it has come to remind us of when we were assaulted by outside forces, and of a recognition that we have a world that is fraught with war, that can intrude upon our private lives in peace. It also is a time when our seasons change cycle and the weather often brings fierce storms. It is our September rain that gives us a kind of cultural melancholy, as we switch gears with the seasons.
With the middle east as a powder keg waiting for the match to strike, the USA is poised on punishing those who have made the air a poison that gave Syria a Sarin rain that was colored in a blood red. Who gave the orders is a matter of speculation, although Assad‘s government is being targeted as at fault. Leaders from extremist groups such as al Qaeda have been broken out of prisons across the region, and attacks on key leaders such as the Prime Minister of Yemen have begun, while in Syria Chechen rebels have attacked and captured an air base, as the Russians withdraw the presence of their forces in anticipation of an escalation of conflict nearby. Al Qaeda looks to step in the shoes of Assad, as do other generals in French exile for the Free Syrian Army. Civilians run for the border doors as the UN inspectors leave the region in an overnight haste. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia reportedly influences both the Chechen rebels and runs funds to al Qaeda, has also encouraged the Russians to leave Assad with the enticement of an oil deal with OPEC in growing their supply chain to Europe. The region awaits American involvement on all sides, for all reasons. But whoever finishes the job, Assad’s days look numbered, and he is lashing out at his nearest target Israel, as he senses impending doom.
The wild cards remain…Iran, Pakistan, and India to some extent, while Egypt remains in turmoil. Russia is king maker, and Putin knows the risk both the Chechen rebels and al Qaeda will give him.
The other Allies have already politely declined the invitation, and congress has yet to give approval to the American bombardment. With America teetering on the brink of yet another escalation of involvement in the middle east, Sept 11 approaches and it would not take much further along the lines of a Boston bombing to push the war into a full steam. Deep in the background, al Qaeda looks to grab oil money whether in Libya or Yemen or Syria, to finance their operations, and perhaps bite the hand that feeds it. In the end the rapid growth of al Qaeda might be surprising, but not unexpected.
The fall of Assad is certainly to be viewed as a good thing by most, and the dream is to replace his brutal dictatorship by a more moderate government. It would be a major historical event when he falls, and the gears for a major switch in the middle east will have been pulled. The transition of Syria away from the Shite axis that runs through Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, would effectively isolate Iran. The reality is that the end will not be easy, and it will not be pretty. In a land that has been soaked with blood of many a generations, and the volatile nature of current governmental structures in the region, the conflict could easily go beyond what was expected on many fronts.
If the replacement for Assad is more anti Saudi and anti Israel, the regional dynamics will have been altered in a way that would only bring more bloodshed and extremism to a world that is already highly unstable. If this unfolds wrong it will haunt us for decades.
- ‘If Assad Falls, Al-Qaeda Rises’ (israelnationalnews.com)
- David Bromwich: The Crossroads on Syria (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Saudi-Israeli Superpower (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israelis Line Up for Gas Masks as U.S. Ponders Syria Missile Strikes (world.time.com)
- Opinion: Al Qaeda’s potent force in Syria (cnn.com)
- Al-Qaeda Links Cloud Syrian War as U.S. Seeks Clarity (bloomberg.com)