There has been a deluge of articles and analysis I read in recent weeks about the US abdicating its responsibilities when freedom is in danger by not intervening in Syria. The less sophisticated of these writings expressed a “Let them kill each other off” attitude, which meant let Assad and Iran on one side and the Salafis who recently joined the Syrian civil war on the other side kill each other off in Syria. The more sophisticated analysis went into a masochistic, mind bending experiment to manufacture a wishful result (i.e. non-intervention) from the thinnest of arguments. A true exercise of wagging the dog by his tail.
To those who say “Let them kill each other off”, allow me the task of condemning this argument using historical examples and perspective But before I do that, I would like to ask you: Who killed who off in the Iraq-Iran war, which resulted in one million deaths in the battlefields? Both countries came out stronger and more extreme than before in pursuit of a massive arsenal of WMD. Westerners forget the witches stew the Middle East basks in. Did Russia, upon its invasion of Afghanistan, or the US, upon its attempt to liberate the Afghani people from the Taliban, finish off extremism in Afghanistan? Extreme Islam is like a set of Babushka nesting dolls; it may re-appear smaller but it will reappear because the west keeps making the same mistakes again but using different methods or form. There is no such thing as finishing off extremism in the region unless all the countries fight each other simultaneously on a continental basis and the west joins the foray to facilitate the outcome.
For those analysts who called for non-intervention using such falsehood as all the fighters are Islamists, including the FSA, they are driven by other extremely myopic motives with one aim: Driving Arabs and Muslims to destroy each other in the hope they will either leave the United States alone or call upon the US to remedy their problems once fully incapacitated. It’s myopic because these people do not realize the long-term effect this will have on allies like Israel in the region. A rose in the desert does not fare better than one in a garden even though the garden is a spaghetti-like bowl of weeds today.
Destroying or splitting Syria, home to many minorities and the more moderate of Muslims in the region, is a crime many in the region will come to realize only too late. It will harden Muslims in other regions and will embolden extremism rather than pulling the rug from under it. These and many arguments have failed to sway the non-interventionists and suffice to say that if I am wrong, it means destruction and misery and if I am right it still means destruction and misery but with a small twist: “I told you so” will not be worth uttering because it will be too little too late.
What makes Islamic extremism persist? It’s not the charisma of its leadership (Those long-bearded old men will not make any Hollywood red carpet appearances anytime soon) and it’s certainly not the rigid Sheikhs and Imams offering violent ideas with abstract solutions. It’s the culture imbued in honor, dignity, and justice. Attributes abused on a daily basis to serve religious zealots.
Consider these attributes within the context of “The west did not intervene in Syria” or “We will not forget how America watched us die”. If justice and honor were horses to ride, the non-interventionists ideas and masochistic arguments are like saddles to these horses. We are not going to kill each other off anymore than Iraqis killed Iranian extremism off in the 1980′s and we are not going to finish extremism off because Arab culture will not respond positively to the sidelining of the West. How the Libyans reacted to the killing of Ambassador Stevens by chasing the extremists out of Libya does not seem to have been a lesson learned by the non-interventionists. Their blinders feed radicalism and fundamentalism in the region.
So, welcome to the destruction of one of the most diverse countries in the region in the name of non-interventionism. Welcome to the hell of extremism that will keep multiplying and attacking US interests because Muslims have an endless supply of horses and the non-interventionists keep providing those Muslims with flying saddles.