NİHAT ALİ ÖZCAN > Is the post-al-Assad era important?

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The conflicts in Syria are turning out to be a civil war. The number of questions that politicians are supposed to answer is increasing. In this regard, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu indicated a significant point, “We have to focus on the post-al-Assad era.” He is right in his explanation: Unless politicians compromise on the desired post-al-Assad period, it is impossible to manage developments in Syria.

At this point, for imagining the architecture of the post-al-Assad era and for deciding a strategy, we have to answer these questions: “Do you want a military intervention or not?” If this question is answered with a no, developments in Syria would continue with its internal dynamics for an unpredictable period. If this question is answered with a yes, you have to answer more questions.

The fundamental questions are “What is your political aim? What kind of military intervention do you need? ” In other words, “What do you comprehend about the post-al-Assad era?” We know that having a vogue answer such as “building democracy” does not mean anything.

At the end of the day, what are the political features of a new Syria that is saved from ethnic wars/sectarian conflicts that will be stable in medium term? A clear “political target” can eliminate uncertainties such as determining the sides of the intervention, strategies, organization and structure of command chain.

Instead of a clear answer, vogue explanations and lack of planning would cause problems in the future. Such that in the medium term, not only in Syria but also the ones that intervene in Syria would have problems in terms of domestic politics. Moreover, problems among countries intervened in would occur as well. Good examples are Iraq and Afghanistan and also Libya, which have been faced with chaos.

An intervention for a vague political aim like “democracy building” has the potential to trigger chaos in allied countries naturally. I want to emphasize two topics. Firstly, chaos may occur between the politicians that have decided on intervention and their societies because the public’s grousing would rise when the cost of intervention and causalities increase. Politicians, who fear the reactions of the public, can change their decisions according to domestic politics instead of military necessities in order to slink off. This situation makes intervention meaningless and expensive. Secondly, politicians’ permanently changing decisions on political aims would cause failing operations and would damage the psychologies of generals. At the end, there would be high tension between generals and politicians. Israel’s Hezbollah and NATO’s Afghanistan operations are significant examples of these problems.

Political targets which are not clarified at the beginning would break down allies as time passes because each country would want to see a different Syria image for their interest.

Lastly, the absence of a clear political target would increase the violence in Syria and would make the warring parties focus on maximized targets.

A venture that does not define the post-al-Assad era clearly at the very beginning can be seen as “a new trillion dollar war.” This would mean shame for politicians, anger for generals and disappointment for the public.


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Blue Dotterel

6/22/2012 3:04:36 PM

Stern, in fact the attack on Syria is not just about regime change, but about breaking Syria up along ethnic lines, as has happened in Iraq, and Libya (along tribal lines),or haven't you been paying attention?. The imperialist desire of the neo-cons and Israelis to "re-make the ME" is well recorded in the Ralph Peter's nato map and the Neo-con Project of the New American Century. At present the US is trying to arrange the NATO bombing of Syria back to the stone age (as with Libya and Iraq).

Blue Dotterel

6/22/2012 2:54:18 PM

Stern, The NY times as admitted that the US has been arming the Syrian "rebels" through the GCC and Turkey. Most of the deaths in Syria of civilians and security forces are attributable to the "rebels" and these "rebels" are, in fact, not pro-democracy, but anti-Syrian proxy mercenaries from Syria, the GCC, Libya, with NATO trainers. The goal, obviously, is and has been regime change. This aggression against Syria using proxies is illegal according to international law.

Rimon Tree

6/21/2012 7:12:36 PM

@ blue Dotterel " an aggressive, illegal attack on Syrian independence by the US, Israel, the GCC and NATO." Can you please explain that to me? Prejudicefree?

Joshua Bronxman

6/21/2012 4:51:23 PM

I imagine at this point the goals exist in general terms and that specifics are impossible in such a fluid situation. Breaking Iran's hold on the region and reducing Russian influence are major items. Work backwards from allowing Assad to stay.

Blue Dotterel

6/21/2012 4:42:31 PM

Counting chickens before they hatch. The war is not a civil war, but an aggressive, illegal attack on Syrian independence by the US, Israel, the GCC and NATO. Even the NYTimes reports that Turkey is buying weapons and sending them to the insurgents, not to mention harboring insurgents on Turkish soil.

Sue Coon

6/21/2012 3:42:12 PM

I have read that as bad as al-Assad is, what will come after him will be just as challenging because the various oppositions are extremely fragmentated.

Brazilian Reader

6/21/2012 12:49:52 AM

"post-al-Assad era"... Indeed, some politicians look away ... 2023 or 2030 ...
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