Opinion: It’s Time to Rethink Syria

Is it too late to save Syria? Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Neeraj Singh

Is it too late to save Syria? Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Neeraj Singh

The heart rate just kept dropping. The patient had lost a lot of weight, and his supporters had kept insisting on giving the patient more food. They just refused to admit it was cancer. And then it finally came. Some of the saddest words ever spoken. “It’s too late.”

If Syria’s opposition movement were a hospital patient, this is exactly how it would look. And here we are, watching a collapsing rebel movement being swallowed alive by cancerous Islamist rebels. So here I am, saying the saddest words I have said to date on Syria: “It’s too late.” And now it’s time to pull the plug, with as much grace as possible.

I railed against the placid lack of support for the good Syrian rebels for months. I said they needed arms and weapons, not merely just more food and communications equipment. But while the Islamist rebels were getting bullets, we were giving the Free Syrian Army bullet-proof vests.

Turns out you can’t shoot those.

It also turns out that bullet-proof vests don’t do a very good job defending against being shot in the back. And that’s basically what the West has done to the moderate Syrian rebels.

Nearly three years of fighting. Over 100,000 killed. And the best the US could do was give the rebels some good speeches and millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid.

There was a time when I believed the Syrian civil war would end in the rebels’ favor this year. I saw the signs of desperation in the Syrian regime. I was almost right: The Syrian regime got so panicked they actually used large-scale chemical weapons on the rebels.

But the West was too disinterested in fighting another war, even an air-campaign, to do anything about it. The UK support for airstrikes got shot down by its own parliament, and the US Congress nearly did the same over here.

And that was it. The best chance to really hurt the Syrian regime was lost. If we wouldn’t hit some missile depots and military airports over the use of chemical weapons, we certainly wouldn’t establish a no-fly zone or “safe zones” inside Syria with a concentrated air campaign.

So now, the reports from news groups such as The Observer are saying the Islamist rebels have the moderate rebels in trouble. The numbers game has the Islamist rebels with a 3-to-1 legit online pharmacy klonopin edge in fighters over the moderates. And that’s just the tip of the crisis.

With better arms and numbers, the Islamists are now being accused of actually fighting the Free Syrian Army. There are even conflicting reports that Islamist rebels took over military warehouses from the moderates. Guess who probably paid for some of those military supplies in the warehouses?

You and me.

That’s right, The Observer reported the US and UK suspended part of their aid to the rebels after the capture of the arms warehouse by the Islamists. And they should make that decision permanent.

So here I am, after months of calling for the West to send real guns to the rebels instead of just night-vision goggles, now the new message is: Stop the aid.

Not the food and blankets, necessarily, because this is a humanitarian tragedy (although charities should be doing the bulk of that work). And most of our aid for those elements should go to our allies who are hosting Syrian refugees (Turkey and Jordan especially).

But the bullet-proof vests and communications equipment? No need for that to end up in terrorists’ hands.

We certainly do not need to assist the Islamists in trying to rebuild Syria. We fought them in Afghanistan and Iraq. Let’s not help them take over Syria.

My suggestion? Let’s propose and help implement a ceasefire. Everyone stop fighting and settle in where you are. Then let’s help carve up Syria into the separate areas. Or hammer out an interim government.

Regardless, the key thing is to negotiate an end to fighting. I know, it means admitting the democratic, moderate side lost. It’s sad. But it’s true. We didn’t do enough and now it’s too late.

But to try and give more support to the moderates—only for it to be stolen by extremists—is even worse.

And even if a ceasefire can’t be reached, why not let the Islamist terrorists fight the Syrian regime and their terrorist allies? I hurt for the innocents caught in the middle, but we can’t help them now. We didn’t’ before when there was hope. No sense in trying an 11th hour effort after midnight.

So to the poor moderate rebels, we’re sorry. You fought bravely, but the Saudis backed the crazier types and the Iranians helped the regime. You had us, and we failed you. We had hoped to help you write a Syrian constitution. Instead, we wrote your eulogy.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 15, 2013)

What do you think?