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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.


9 thoughts on “IF I WERE PRESIDENT: Syria

  1. Your plan looks good in writing, Doug. But history has shown us that removing a leader is only likely to replace it with a lot of warring factions, most of which are unlikely to settle down, and many of which will be very anti-West, and anti-US in particular.
    Perhaps we should have let them continue to fight their own war in the first place, as unpopular as that might have been. Try as we might, the US, NATO, and other western countries just can’t keep fighting every war, in every country, wherever that country is. Someday, enough will have to be enough.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Totally agree… all the way around. Which is why I said this thing should never have been started in the first place so late in the damn game (international intervention, I mean). Honestly, these Middle East countries need their dictators and don’t deserve democracy because of all the tribal animosity. But this has to have an ending or Europe is going to continue to get more refugees. Everyone (internationally) has to step up to this one.. then set some rules about further engagements in the future… which was my attempt with the NATO revision.
    We are going to have an international quagmire.. but let’s start it now.. and get EVERYONE involved… end this thing. Or.. maybe we just do the Trumpian-isolationist routine and America pulls out..the problem is not in our neck of the woods.

  3. It is a good plan…well thought out…..one more aspect…Israel MUST be restrained from flex its little muscle or from trying to grab land…..also secularism must be part of the deal….there is too many sects that will want to jump in to the power vacuum….open a fund for nations around Syria…..for every dollar they invest in weapons they invest the same amount for reconstruction…finally USA and Europe are minors in this for it was their drawing of boundaries in 1918 that started a lot of this situation today…..Arab countries should lead. Sorry for all the words…it is early and I need more coffee…LOL chuq

    • You know, I was thinking about some “role” for Israel as I was formulating my little plan because Israel does in fact share a bit of a western border with Syria. But I have not read anything noteworthy regarding the impact of the Syrian conflict on Israel directly. Either no Islamic Syrian refugee would ever think of fleeing to the Jewish country, or the border, being short in size, is likely fortified enough to be too much of a barrier and refugees would likely be turned back anyway. Reflection suggests Israel should be included in “talks” that would include the surrounding Arab countries; being included allows them to be “watched”. 🙂

      I try to address the inevitable power vacuum in my plan, but it’s very well understood that the sectarianism can be manifested in any number of ways and remains a huge variable in anyone’s plan. But, here’s the thing that needs pushing.. as you pointed out.. the Arab world needs to keep its own house in order. We might be able to create an environment, however short that might be, to stop the wholesale slaughter of civilians and stop the physical destruction… and remove the guy causing it all. Then get outta there… and indeed let the Arab world sort it out according to their terms. But there has been no history of any attempts being successful.. but maybe that’s not an immediate problem for the West. Kicking the can down the road is usually never a good option.. but it does remain an option.

      While all this has its roots in some imposed Allied demarcation of political boundaries back in 1918 the Arab world back then was for the most part just a loose bunch of nomadic tribes and kingdoms just becoming something on the map with a new demand for oil. I’m not all that sure if the then Arab world was not more pissed off because “their tribe” was not in control or that it was just some border setting issue when up until that point they were all allowed to wander all over the place.
      I don’t necessarily agree with the minimal influence from the U.S. and Europe. I also don’t necessarily agree that if we are involved in anything that it’s because of some 1918 boundary thing. Regardless of the roots of Arab (Muslim?) discourse with the West this is a brave new world… globalization is going to be the rule of order… and no nation on this planet will truly be able to exist without some measure of action or reaction occurring someplace else in the world. It’s a geo-political version of “chaos theory”. The Syrian civil war has proved that; millions of refugees have spread clear across the world as a result, stressing local economies and most certainly taxing public acceptance into societies.

      Great ideas you guys are coming up with. This proves one thing… there are many more people much better qualified to be president. 🙂
      This clown occupying the White House has become so incensed with what he saw on TV, “babies being killed”, that he’s going to knee jerk and do some military thing without any thought to short term or long term ramifications… and there still will not be a formal policy regarding Syria. UGH!

    • Yeah, well, Trump wants to do a lot of things. Good luck (…and God help us all.).
      I am also putting together a plan for North Korea… and jesus.. this is going to be the longest post yet. But it’s a great exercise to force one to think using a bigger picture.

  4. It is an excellent plan you have outlined here, Doug — but there is one detail you have not mentioned and it is a detail that will always be a part of life in this particular geographical region of the world.

    I am talking about the time that a plan such as the one you have outlined here is implemented … and let us say that the implemented plan achieves every objective it puts forth …. In the end, the various tribalized factions in the region will take up their centuries-old practices of making war with one another and so no lasting peace will ever be achieved in the are regardless of which plan is implemented by the International Community.

    Worse, your plan could work perfectly and then when the inter-tribal conflicts begin ( as they invariably will) what we will get for our efforts is another horrendous influx of Syrian Refugees intent on establishing their ultimate caliphate here on American soil and totally refusing any attempt at assimilation.

    But your plan is excellent for stopping the atrocities ascribed to Assad .. no doubt about it. By the way, who is going to foot the bill for this plan?

    I kind of doubt you will find anything resembling a coalition of the willing to help foot the bill.

    • You mention very good considerations there, John. I think that’s the point chuq also made above… that the Arabs need to take charge of Arabs. On the short term, if an international coalition cannot be formed, including the Arab world, to handle security, re-construction, and economic growth… then, like I alluded to in my post, we take our ball and bat and just go home. In the end, this crap is not along OUR borders. Although I’d rather that be an assumed “threat” to get all the players to the table, rather than a valid action we would be serious in taking if we don’t get our way. World leadership isn’t about “just going home” in a temper tantrum.
      I know you’ve mentioned this before in posts, John, but I can’t agree that there should be a fear of Islamic caliphates growing here in America. If nothing else, the average American has more guns. 🙂
      Good points, by the way.

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