Making a Better Syria, For You and Me: That Trick Never Works

Joshua Landis of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma sees our efforts to Make a Better Syria failing, again:

Hillary Clinton is having a last go a putting together a “secularish,” upper-class leadership for the Syrian rebel effort.....

Washington’s Plan A, which was to create the SNC, went down in dust. By all accounts, Clinton cannot even stand to hear the name, SNC, uttered any longer.

Plan B was to set up the US office in Istanbul to meet and take the measure of Syrian militia leaders and local coordinating committee directors. The militia leaders scared Washington and the CIA. The word got out that they were “penetrated” by al-Qaida and Salafi types.

Plan C is now in the making....Clinton is reconstituting some sort of US-friendly leadership drawn from elements of the old SNC with generous add-mixtures of Coordinating Committee types, some government defectors, and others who will join...

The object of this exercise seems to be to glue some sort of US-friendly educated elite onto the military effort that looks too Islamist for Washington’s taste and not very human-rights observant.

Syria has a past, Landis remembers:

This effort is almost identical to US and British efforts of the 1950s to stop Syria from slipping into the hands of the USSR, Nasser and the leftist Baathists.

Eisenhower and Anthony Eden did everything they could in 1956 to force Syria’s urban elites to cooperate in a pro-Western coup, but to no avail. The two largest parties in parliament – the People’s Party of Aleppo and the National Party of Damascus refused to cooperate among themselves in order to avoid revolution....

When the coup failed, many of Syria’s leading pro-Western notables were accused of treason and fled the country. In 1957, the US sought to carry out another putsch, this time on its own. The “American coup”, as it was named, was no more successful.... Destabilized by Washington’s failed coup making, Syria announced the creation of the United Arab Republic only months later....

Today, Washington is again trying to rally the pro-Western elites of Syria into putting their shoulders to a common wheel with America. In 1957, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq cooperated in Washington’s efforts for regime change. Today Qatar replaces Iraq, but the line up of states helping the US in its “struggle for Syria” has hardly changed. Other aspects that have not changed are the infighting among Syria’s elites and the general resentment and distrust that Syrians share toward the US. It is hard to be optimistic.

Hat tip: John Glaser of

I discussed the problems with U.S. lack of historical memory, and lack of understanding that today's actions create tomorrow's problems, in the context of the hit film Argo last week.

Obligatory Election Day comment: Both major party presidential candidates are going to continue the mistake of thinking it's the United States' duty to manage the future of Syria.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    So, assuming Romney wins, who gets the SoS gig?

  • Tim||

    I don't know, but we can safely assume that Colin Powell and Chris Christie are of the list.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I suspect not. Maybe Clint Eastwood? That would rule, and the fear he'd convey would end all of our global troubles at once. In fact, let's give him Defense, too.

  • ||

    Congress passes a law merging Defense and State into the Department of Badassery with Clinton Eastwood unianimously confirmed as Secretary.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It sucks that Lee Van Cleef is gone, because he'd have made an excellent deputy.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Rand Paul?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't think so, unless the GOP makes crazy gains in the Senate. Though I suppose Kentucky would replace him with another Republican.

    The real story today is what happens with Congress. I expect the GOP to gain more seats in both houses, but will they get 60 in the Senate? Not likely.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    I don't think so, unless the GOP makes crazy gains in the Senate. Though I suppose Kentucky would replace him with another Republican.

    Yep, and you get an obstructionist senator out of the way. Basically the Obama/Clinton scenario writ republican.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Perhaps. It'll be interesting to see what happens. I do think something was promised to the Paul family.

  • Paul.||

    I do think something was promised to the Paul family.

    I haven't seen one red cent of it if there was.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maybe it'll trickle down to you.

  • jester||

    There are Amish people in Syria? Hillary, your head is in the way. If you wore pig tails this wouldn't happen.

  • Tim||

    "Welcome to the jungle we've got fun and games
    We got everything you want honey, we know the names
    We are the people that can find whatever you may need
    If you got the money honey we got your disease..."

  • ||

  • Tim||

    An awkward silence ensued. [cough]

  • Pro Libertate||

    Their disconnect from reality is stunning. They seem to think the Romney flip-flops meme is somehow worth something, as if Obama's proven track record as a liar and a flip-flopper isn't there for everyone to see.

    The same thing happened in 2008 when the big meme was that Sarah Palin lacked the experience to be a vice president, even though her experience was comparable to Obama's.

    The absurdity just seems to grow and grow.

  • Paul.||

    Hat tip: John Glaser of Antiwar,com.

    So has AntiWar given up on the conspiracy theory that the Benghazi attacks really were the result of a Riot and press wants to keep it quiet by letting us believe it was a terrorist attack?


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