The U.S. military has signaled it may hit Syria with missile strikes beginning Thursday. Here’s why Americans should not expect U.S. action in Syria to unfold like other U.S. “policing actions.” Syria’s population is 10 times Kosovo’s and—in case we forget the size the region—it’s barely 135 miles from Damascus to Tel Aviv. The potential for spillover into Lebanon and Israel is high.
Despite Obama administration assertions that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, a lot of notable analysts and observers are arguing (with video evidence of their own) that there is strong reason to believe the rebels are responsible.
In May, Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels had used nerve agent. Big questions remain about Assad’s motive in using chemical weapons—as newspaper accounts show, in the weeks since May his government forces have made steady gains against rebels.
The Wall Street Journal’s Sam Dagher appears to be the only U.S. newspaper reporter in Damascus. Media blackout is a key factor in making events on the ground hard to confirm. But let’s be clear: A U.S. strike against the Assad regime in Syria benefits most jihadist groups in the region, and Saudi Arabia.
In northern Syria, areas heavily populated by Assyrian Christians, thousands are fleeing jihadist attacks, and Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government is describing what’s happening there as “genocide.”
Religious freedom analyst Elizabeth Kendal comments:
“The consequences of a U.S. intervention on the side of the jihadis would be diabolical, catastrophic for Syria and the whole region (especially for the Church) and detrimental to global security. Furthermore, God will not tolerate the West lending its military might to forces whose agenda includes eliminating the Church from the Middle East.”
The Tehran Court of Appeals reportedly has upheld the sentence of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini following months of Iranian courts issuing harsh sentences for several other Christians. But the appeals court has yet to release the written verdict. Abedini, a U.S. citizen, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for threatening national security.
A U.S. soldier who defected to North Korea in 1965 now has stories to tell:
“Jenkins said that he had heard reports of a work crew of captive white men, whom he believed to be American prisoners of war. For many years, rumors circulated that American POWs from the Korean War remained in North Korea, but Jenkins said he understood the captives to be younger POWs, from the Vietnam War, sent by the North Vietnamese to Pyongyang as thanks for North Korean assistance during the war. … The greater goal of assembling a menagerie of captive Westerners, Jenkins thinks, was to breed them. They would be mated with each other, their children raised as loyal North Koreans who could serve as spies overseas.”