Forget the Grand Prix or the Daytona 500, the real race right now is the race to Damascus. The racers include Syrian rebels in pickup trucks with mounted machine guns and homemade tanks, toting weapons and equipment supplied and paid for by Qatar and Turkey, and more covertly by the British and French intelligence services. Racing along with them are carloads of international diplomats urging their governments to give the Islamist militias more money and more weapons.
Everyone is on the road to Damascus in this amazing race. Christian refugees from Aleppo, Alawites packing in behind the tanks of the Syrian army and Iraqi militias that used to plant IEDs in front of American Humvees, who have found new work blowing up churches and taking over Syrian bases.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah’s militias out of Lebanon are shooting at Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood militias from across the Middle East and even Europe. Imagine the Crips and the Bloods, armed to the teeth by every country from Mexico to China, fighting over the ruins of California cities, and you get some idea of the glorious Syrian civil war being fought by the Brave Syrian People in a conflict that will determine once and for all who will be ethnically cleansing who this year.
The Syrian rebels are Sunni. The Syrian regime is Alawite, which is close enough to Shiite in a region where most Sunnis hate Shiites. This isn’t some heroic battle between the people and the dictator; it’s a religious war. And in a newly Islamist region, religion is the best possible reason that anyone can think of for a war, that will just incidentally happen to realign a strategic piece of territory from the Shiite axis to the Sunni axis.
We, as befits the nation that Obama described as one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, happen to be in the Sunni axis, ensconced somewhere between the fattest child-molesting members of the Saudi and Qatari royals, the most vicious Turkish and Egyptian Islamists, and the Eurocrats looking to score oil deals with the former and arms deals with the latter, and political points with their domestic population of Sunni Islamists who have the unfortunate habit of blowing things up.
On the road to Damascus, the politicians and pundits tell us that we cannot simply sit things out. Someone is bound to remove Assad and we had better be in good with whoever does.
The UK, which dragged Obama into Libya the way an elderly lady drags a poodle into a pub, is frantically urging us to stop just looking the other way while Qatar and Turkey arm the Syrian rebels, and to get into the rebel-arming business ourselves.
Considering how well that worked out in Libya, we should probably hurry and start arming the Syrian rebels right now. The sooner we give them weapons, the less likely they are to use them against us. Or so the reasoning of the people who brought you Iran, September 11 and September 11 II: The Mohammed Video Diaries goes. And with a track record like that, how could they possibly be wrong?
If we give the right Syrian rebels the weapons, then they will win, instead of the wrong Syrian rebels. But if we don’t, then the wrong Syrian rebels will win, and even the right Syrian rebels will hate us and turn wrong, and before you know it they’ll be shooting at us with the weapons we didn’t give them.
Telling apart the right Syrian rebels from the wrong Syrian rebels is tricky. The Free Syrian Army, once hailed as a moderate secular organization, has more Al Qaeda in it than the dirt in Tora Bora. The head of this moderate secular opposition, Sheikh Mouaz Al-Khatib, who had previously praised Saddam for “terrifying the Jews,” objected to the American declaration that the Al-Qaeda militias are terrorists.
“The logic under which we consider one of the parts that fights against the Assad regime as a terrorist organization is a logic one must reconsider,” Al-Khatib said, and it’s hard to argue with his logic. The difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda is that the Muslim Brotherhood wins an election before shooting people in the streets while Al Qaeda shoots people in the street without waiting for an election.
To the Democracy Uber Alles crowd, this makes a big difference, but the people being shot are still dead either way.
No serious thinkers seriously think that not siding with either side is an option. When confronted with Muslim terrorists, they begin searching for moderates in the rubbish bin, and with a working definition of a moderate that includes anyone less extreme than the most extreme of the extreme, they keep finding moderate Syrian rebels who will be our friends tomorrow for a few RPGs today.
Today we have to support the Muslim Brotherhood for fear that Al Qaeda will take over. Tomorrow we will have to support Al Qaeda for fear that Al-Takfir Wa Al-Hijra will take over. And then we’ll have to support the Takfiris for fear that Itbach Al-Kul Ulum will take over. And the day after our leaders will have no choice but to nuke the entire planet for fear that an asteroid will hit it instead. The radiation will be bad, they tell us, but at least nuclear weapons are moderate. Asteroids are extreme.
The Muslim Brotherhood is running torture chambers in Egypt and shooting protesters in the street, but we’re still shipping them free F16s and helping them take over Syria. Because if we don’t help them, how will we have any influence over them? If the Muslim Brotherhood can’t non-violently seize power in Syria through a violent civil war, there is a risk that they will turn to violence again. And that means they’ll start trying to violently take over countries without going through the formality of fighting a civil war to take them over first.
Every leader of Al Qaeda was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but since the Muslim Brotherhood, like the New Left, is willing to non-violently take us over through front groups and immigration, rather than flying planes into buildings, they’re our idea of the good guys, even if they have the same objectives as Al Qaeda, just a different way of getting there. But you could probably say the same thing about the people who were running the USSR in 1932 and the people who are running the United States and the European Union in 2012.
Obama isn’t satisfied with wrecking just Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Russia isn’t satisfied with financing 50 years of war in the region even though it’s on the verge of bankruptcy. Prime Minister Cameron of the UK and President Hollande of France aren’t satisfied with being on the verge of bankruptcy and only wrecking Libya. And like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, they’re all on the road to Damascus. Or the road to hell.
And so on they go, all together, rebels and diplomats, throat-slashers and powdered-hair personalities, embedded into a conflict, racing to Damascus, eager to raise the flag, report on the historic moment, negotiate deals and deliver speeches. Obama probably already has his written and it will probably be the same exact speech he delivered when Mubarak fell and Gaddafi got sodomized to death. There will be lots of moving sentiments about hope and change, peace and freedom, the choice of the people and the transition to democracy.
And then the real killing will begin.
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About Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.