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SYRIA

The situation in Syria has been a composite of steps and missteps from the international community in trying to be reactive toward the immense refugee problem brought on by an internal civil war, in imposing a level of human rights intervention, and the ongoing battle with terrorist groups like Isis… all the while doing this inside a backdrop of the civil war against the Assad government.  Government influence and control has been reduced to the capitol and some other lesser geographical areas.  There is no control in spite of all parties wanting to bring back control.

Regardless of which international fragmented world policy is being applied to Syria the facts remain…

  • The Syrian people, non-combatants, are suffering and dying daily due to being targeted and/or the result of a destroyed infrastructure preventing critical services.
  • The Assad government is NOT in control of anything.
  • The Assad government has violated bans of chemical weapons.
  • The Assad government, with the help of its own “allies” (Russia, Iran), has recklessly and randomly targeted its own citizens en masse, with little or no strategic merit other than to instill terror.
  • The conflict in Syria is destabilizing the region and fomenting the assertive efforts of radical insurgencies trying to promote their own jihad wars and establish their own caliphates.

While in retrospect, all these events and the intervention of world powers for human rights reasons and the pursuit of the war with terror entities, may have been started with all good intentions, but everything has failed.   In fact, none of these efforts should have been started.   Hence it’s time to be real and put an end to all this and help Syria get back on the road to recovery.

“Easy” Option – All parties pull out of the region and let Assad go back to fixing his own mess.  But that will not work because Assad has no way to regain control of his country so outside forces will come in and set up their own agendas.  Russia, Iran, Isis.. they will all just further decimate the country and continue to de-stabilize the region; the latter being the most important reason for DECISIVE international intervention.  This does option nothing toward reducing the flow of refugees everywhere.

 

Short Term Initiative/Long Term Re-building –

Step One –  Get the International Criminal Court and/or the War Crimes Commission in The Hague busy on an international war crimes investigation against Assad ASAP.  Once charges can be established (pursuant to any evidence presented) then issue an international warrant for his arrest for trial.

This step becomes the primary motivation and “mandate” for making an attempt to physically remove him from office.  Forget assigning ambiguous motivations for involvement in Syria having to do with stopping Isis, helping refugees, whatever.  Assad’s use of poison gas and other atrocities against civilians makes him a world class war criminal regardless of what religion you are and what politics you hold dear.  That’s the focus for physically removing him from office.  Try and get Putin to sign on to it, AND be an ally toward reconstruction, because for them it’s a way to save face rather than continue with this guy and enraging Islamic terrorism to make more strikes inside Russia.  In fact, make the “kidnap” strike force a composite of U.S. Seals, British SAS, Russian Spetsnaz, German Commandos, whatever, but all allies must sign on to the ICC’s warrant.  It would be important… but not critical… to get Russia to sign on; maybe consider limited sanction lifting. Russia stands  to benefit by having a reduction in terrorist attacks.  If Russia does not sign on, tell them to get out of the way.

If Assad dies in the process to be removed, so be it.  The goal is to remove him from office so Syrian life and peace in the region can move on.

Step Two –

  1. While Step One is rolling out use all diplomatic efforts to coerce Assad to just leave. Give him money (tons of it if need be; it will still be cheaper than a long protracted war),  a dacha on the Caspian, lifetime membership at Mar-A-Lago, doesn’t matter.  Make sure if he doesn’t accept then he will end up like all the other leaders removed from office in the Middle East.  Induce through covert ways support from inside the Assad government, civilian or military, to overthrow Assad.  If that doesn’t work, send in the covert international strike force.
  2. Coordinate with the Pentagon, State Department, and our allies (specifically Mid-East allies), on a program to fill the vacuum to be created when Assad is gone. This must include think-tank assessments and real life understanding of any tribal dichotomies.  A universal selection of a Syrian leader until elections can be held.  This must be the key to preserving order in the region and protecting the lives of the people.  Serious consideration should be given toward the introduction of political and civil order first; the establishment of a democracy should be phased in over time, according to the wishes of the citizens.  Likely this will require initial governmental control of the press and limitations to public demonstrations to limit “artificial” discontent.  This effort may require a UN peacekeeping mission.  Iraq’s contribution will be critical to challenge any insurgency across its borders from Iran.
  3. Syria is an infrastructure and economic mess due to the civil war and as such is vulnerable to obstructive entities like Isis. The international community will need to immediately commit to economic and humanitarian aid.  At the same time an international governing commission should provide aid to quickly re-establish economic industries, such as oil production.

It should be recognized that even if the above elements were implemented the Syrian people will have many years of adjusting and nation re-building; some conflict and civil unrest will continue, until such time as balance is achieved.  People WILL die, and very likely citizens/military from other nations will also die in making humanitarian interventions.  We should all expect this.  Making peace and keeping the peace can many times be just as traumatic as war itself.   This is not a quick-fix solution.  But it provides hope and most importantly provides vastly improved safety and security for the Syrian people and peace in the region.

 

Long Term Policy Toward Future International Intervention in Regional Crises –

Expand the criteria for NATO intervention to include..

  • Any and all forms of threats against member nations from cyber-attack.
  • Any form of mass population migration (refugees) into member nations as a result of an internal or external military or economic conflict of any single nation or between any nations.

 The following is the actual Article 5 of the NATO agreement, with notation suggested that all threats to a NATO member need not be armed in nature.

 “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .”

This is a decisive, international remedy to stop the conflict and unrestrained destruction of Syrian lives.

This is what I would do if I were president.