There’s No U.S. Embassy to Protest In Front of In Syria

The Arab Spring that toppled regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya (with an assist!) and led to protests in at least a dozen other countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East has turned into what’s been dubbed by some as an Arab Winter, with anti-American protests fueled by Islamic extremists popping up in much of the Muslim world. There is one place still in the throes of an Arab Spring uprising, Syria. Events in Syria may have been overshadowed by anti-American protests elsewhere in the region, and those protests may even have been egged on for just that reason. From the Daily Beast last week, when Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called for more protests against the anti-Islamic film likely used as cover by extremists:

As the protesters massed next door, many Syrian revolutionaries… mused darkly on how the protests over an amateur anti-Islam film were distracting international attention from their plight. “Assad must be very happy by now,” an activist in Damascus, who uses the pseudonym Lena, says.

Some even thought that Nasrallah—who made a rare public appearance at Monday’s rally in which he called it the start of “a serious campaign that must continue all over the Muslim world”—had created the stir to help his friend. “They’re trying to thwart the Syrian revolution,” says Gen. Mustafa Sheikh, the head of the military council for the rebel Free Syrian Army. “Meanwhile, Syrians are getting killed at the hands of Hizbullah and the Iranians, and no one is helping.”

Via Reason 24/7, just today in Syria rebels claim government forces massacred forty people in a small town outside of Damascus. The military, meanwhile, says Syrian rebels bombed the headquarters of the Army and the Air Force in Damascus. Yesterday a bomb went off outside an orphanage built for children whose parents have died in the nineteen months of unrest and government violence. The government says no one was hurt and the bomb didn’t damage the buildings while rebels say the school was actually a headquarters for Syrian intelligence and that their bomb resulted in many deaths. The United Nations, of course, is calling for international action. There has been little, but not for lack of trying—the United States, the United Kingdom and France have pushed several resolutions that would authorize sanctions or military action against Syria in response to the violence, one coming up this week. These resolutions have been nixed by Russia, which, along with China, France, the U.K and the U.S., hold veto power in the Security Council.

John McCain, meanwhile, has been campaigning for a U.S. intervention in Syria since the Libya mission ended. He endorsed President Obama’s interventionist inclinations vis a vis the Arab Spring in an op-ed in March, arguing the president has failed his own principles. Republicans used their convention to tout a more interventionist policy than Obama’s, and McCain himself went so far as to blame the anti-American sentiment throughout the Muslim world on a lack of engagement, saying  demonstrators and those fueling them on “believe that America is weak and we’re withdrawing, and that’s what it’s all about”. Now you know!

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  • Tman||

    Good thing our current administration has done such a good job of not raising the profile of this tiny obscure internet video. Because then some douchebag like Nasrallah would use it to incite more rioting which would result in more innocent deaths.

    Yep, good thing.

  • ||

    believe that America is weak and we’re withdrawing, and that’s what it’s all about

    Yes. Whatever you say, dear. Time for your brain medicine. *pats head*

  • BakedPenguin||

    At times, I expect him to go full Teddy Roosevelt and argue that the US needs the "moral tonic" of a good war.

  • GILMORE||

    “demonstrators and those fueling them on “believe that America is weak and we’re withdrawing, and that’s what it’s all about”

    John, verbatim, last week?

    We clearly didnt reveal our manly American chest hair enough, and impress them with our wanton disregard for international law or sovereignty, drone striking with impunity. America must not show weakness. Or withdraw. America must dry hump perpetually despite having already busted its nut.

  • Sudden||

    saying demonstrators and those fueling them on “believe that America is weak and we’re withdrawing, and that’s what it’s all about”.

    I think the truly remarkable thing about this administration is how they can be total war mongering assholes and still actually be perceived internationally as being weak and ineffectual. It is the worst of both worlds, but they manage to achieve it with an almost pitch perfect attention tot detail. It is as inept a foreign policy as I've ever seen. We have a president who has no qualms with drone wars and killing innocents in Pakistan and Yemen, but will apologize profusely over any insult to the "prophet of Islam". We have an administration that pretty much ruined any chance of maintaining true allies in the area by turning it's back on (Egypt) or actively overthrowing through warfare (Libya) governments that were previously, if not friendly to us, willing to play ball. We have since replaced those govts with actively hostile Islamist ones. Meanwhile, we've been mum on those revolutions (Iran and Syria) that actually have the most liberal aspirations and are trying to overthrow regimes that are in cahoots with or are themselves Islamist in nature.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    We have an administration that pretty much ruined any chance of maintaining true allies in the area by turning it's back on (Egypt) or actively overthrowing through warfare (Libya) governments that were previously, if not friendly to us, willing to play ball.

    Are you saying we should have propped up Mubarak and Gadaffi? What would you have had the US Gov do?

  • Cytotoxic||

    He didn't say, just that we shouldn't have overthrown the previous regimes (I think they would have fallen anyway).

    PS Libya's current government is weak but not remotely hostile to us. Yemen's new government is also good.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    He didn't say, just that we shouldn't have overthrown the previous regimes (I think they would have fallen anyway).

    I know he did not say, that is why I asked him what he meant. I try not to read into peoples posts. I have also seen other posters here basically say the US should not have let this happen. I just wonder what these posters think the US Gov should have done to prevent it.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I just wonder what these posters think the US Gov should have done to prevent it.

    Getting rid of our ethanol program and not debasing our currency should have dropped food prices in North Africa enough to not have the rioting in Egypt and Tunisia in the first place.

    Not bombing the shit out of Khadafy's columns would have allowed him to probably crush his rebellion. Both sets of actions were well within the U.S's power, and, IMHO, both stood a decent chance of propping up Mubarak/Khadafy/Ben Ali if that's what the U.S. felt was in its best interest. Which, after all, is the point of a country's foreign policy: to make things better for it, not humanity as a whole.

    I think the jury's still out on just how friendly this Libyan government's going to turn out to be. And if the government in Yemen is so eager to please the U.S., why do we need to drone suspected terrorists in their hinterlands instead of capturing them?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "weak, but not remotely hostile to us" is the current situation -- but the "weak" part implies that it might not be the situation tomorrow.

    I certainly don't want to pinch-hit for dictators, but in the last 10 years Libya has been very compliant to US interests. It dismantled its nuclear program and has been somewhat compliant on anti-terror measures. From strictly pragmatic grounds, it was foolish to intervene in Libya.

  • Sudden||

    From strictly pragmatic grounds, it was foolish to intervene in Libya.

    Not to mention completely undercuts any reasonable expectations that we might be able to persuade Iran into non-proliferation through peaceful means. And Iran is, in its current form, a more dangerous nuclear power than any other(outside of perhaps Pakistan in post Islamist takeover). With friends like us, who needs enemies?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Absolutely.

    As an Iranian leader, all I'd need to want to pursue nukes would be a 10-minute Powerpoint comparing how the US has treated N Korea and Libya over the past 10 years.

  • Sudden||

    Not saying we should've propped them up, but we shouldn't have actively overthrown the one that was willing to play ball on the non-proliferation issue (really hurts our efforts at ensuring non-proliferation from Iran in the future). We sent a message: "If you hand the US your weapons program, then you will have no defense against them overthrowing you." I don't think we should've meddled in the affair in either instance (don't support or oppose the regime or the insurrection).

    Meanwhile, the two cases where at least paying lip service to the insurrection makes sense (Iran and Syria) we've been more subdued.

    When you disregard your "friends" (I use the term lightly wrt Ghaddafi and Mubarak) and embolden or outright support your "enemies" (Islamists, who would naturally be the forces that come to power in Egypt and Libya, at least in the short term), you are seen as either weak or stupid or both.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    I don't think we should've meddled in the affair in either instance (don't support or oppose the regime or the insurrection).

    I agree. As I said, I have seen other posters acting like the US Gov let this happen. The only way to have prevented it was to become actively involved.

    What we should have said is that we support peoples right to be free and to chart their own course.

  • Sudden||

    What we should have said is that we support peoples right to be free and to chart their own course

    See, I would've taken that position forcefully and vocally in the cases of Syria and Iran (two countries that were openly hostile to us), while just keeping silent on Egypt and Libya (because eventhough I don't care for the tyrants in power there, from a realpolitik view, they're at least willing to play ball). Talk shit about your enemies, not your friends (using the term friends quite loosely). Of course, we ended up doing the exact opposite and pretty much turning a blind eye to Syria and Iran uprisings while actively assisting forces of questionable allegiance to say the least in overthrowing a despot who, for all his horrible failings, was at least cooperating on one of the biggest issues of the day in non-proliferation.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Sudden| 9.26.12 @ 2:50PM |#

    What we should have said is that we support peoples right to be free and to chart their own course

    See, I would've taken that position forcefully and vocally...

    This should be the default position of the US Gov. Everywhere and for all peoples.

  • Lyle||

    When there is no U.S. embassy in a country... we know about where liberty stands in that country.

  • Tim||

    Winter is coming.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This just in: McCain is still an idiot.

    And still my Senator *sigh*

  • MWG||

    Seriously... back in my 'conservative' days I though McCain was great...

    *shakes head in disgust at his own idiocy*

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I've always thought that McCain was a pandering asshat, and I've been a Reaganite longer than I've been a libertarian (albeit a very libertarian Reaganite).

  • MWG||

    I'm too young to really care about Reagan... although he must have been something special as republicans (mostly presidential candidates) seem to compete for who can give the best blow job to his dead corpse mostly around election time.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    He was about as close to a libertarian Presidency as you can expect this side of Calvin Coolidge, and certainly 1979-1983 (Carter got slaughtered by Reagan Republicans in the midterms) were the best years for deregulation and economic libertarianism than this country has seen in my lifetime.

    Gets pretty exhausting to see hack Republicans trot out the old bird's corpse without the common courtesy of a reacharound.

  • MWG||

    "He was about as close to a libertarian Presidency as you can expect this side of Calvin Coolidge, and certainly 1979-1983 (Carter got slaughtered by Reagan Republicans in the midterms) were the best years for deregulation and economic libertarianism than this country has seen in my lifetime."

    If Reagan is the best we've got as libertarians (WoD, military spending, and foreign intervention aside) I would say we're pretty screwed...

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    WoD nonsense started late in his second term, by which point Reagan was suffering from both a series of medical ailments and second-term Presidential Don't Give a Shit Syndrome (from the biographies and all that I've been able to read, I can find no evidence of Reagan caring about the issue one way or the other prior to this). Nancy Reagan took a very active role in the Reagan administration from 1986-1989. Easily the worst and (sadly) most successful First Lady advocacy program since the Prohibition era.

    As for foreign policy, I'd argue that Reagan and Carter had the most libertarian foreign policy of all the Cold War Presidents.

    Don't want to sugarcoat the Reagan Presidency or anything, but as a President with limited Congressional support (before all of the really bad executive overreach), he did as well as can be expected.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Reagan's drug stuff was awful, but Nixon still bears far more blame for that than Reagan. Reagan conducted all of the interventions we had to in order to finish off the USSR (that does not mean I approve of all of his interventions (Lebanon) or do not think he should have done other interventions (invade Iran)).

    To the extent we have what we have politically, it's largely because of Reagan. Keep in mind he did not have control of Congress.

  • robc||

    Reagan pulled out of the Middle East (mostlyish) over the Lebanon marines were killed.

    With a comment that is the military equivalent of "dont stick it in crazy."

  • Scooby||

    I thought he was better than GWB back in 2000, and still do, sort of, but that is damning with faint praise.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    McCain: Still Better Than Beelzebub (Probably)

  • MWG||

    Meh... I can even sympathize with his desire to help those fighting to overthrow their oppressors, but the idea (generally a conservative one) that the US government is generally stupid when it comes to running its own affairs, yet all of a sudden wise and all knowing and should therefore attempt to run the affairs of those on the other side of the world strikes me as somewhat... dumb.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's a completely absurd conceit, as is conflating the restoration of parliamentary governance in Japan and Germany with building democracies from scratch in pre-Enlightenment societies.

  • MWG||

    It can't hurt to try, right? Right?

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