Periodic World Craziness Update # 19

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria:  If true this begs the question of whether the goal of Iran is to provoke a confrontation with any US troops sent in to train/assist the rebels given that that is the stupid idea the Administration has come up with.  The Civil War in Syria shows every sign of being in the early stages of blowing up into a wider regional conflict and moves like the one’s both Iran and the US are taking do not help keep the war within Syria’s borders.

Special Report: Syria’s Islamists seize control as moderates dither:  Now even the MSM is reporting that the rebels are being co-opted or displaced by Islamist groups.  Yet, these are the people that the US s now proposing to arm, equip, and train.  I can think of no more self defeating policy than to arm declared enemies of the West.

Russia voices alarm over US troops in Jordan:  The rest of the powers in the world are starting to pick sides and that should worry anybody who does not want to see the Syrian Civil War grow.  The Syrian conflict continues to show every sign of starting to widen.  I would not be surprised to see it widen dramatically in a very rapid manner at some point.  I think the most likely venue for the war to widen into at first is Lebanon.  Lebanon is the home base for Assad’s allies Hezbollah and is also a very shaky country having never truly shaken off the hatreds and effects of its own 15 year Civil War.

Egyptian troops move to bases near cities ahead of protests:  Starts to look like Morsi wants to get ahead of the power curve on any nascent rebellion to Brotherhood rule doesn’t it?  It will be very interesting to continue to watch how things play out in Egypt and across the Middle East over the next 1-2 years.  I have the feeling that things they are a-changing and in ways that none of us can now predict.  I still don’t think freedom and Democracy is going to break out all over though.  Those things don’t develop except in people with a habit of freedom to begin with, see modern Russia for what happens to countries that attempt democracy with no tradition of individual rights.

Syrian Jihadists behead Catholic priest:  The Video in the story is Graphic – The persecution of Christians in Syria was only a matter of time.  I am surprised we have not heard more about it.  That such persecution happens should come as no surprise, especially given how the supposedly moderate Muslim Brotherhood treats Egypt’s own Christians.  In a much more violent conflict in Syria with even more extreme groups even worse is bound to happen.  A reason for for Christians to forsake Islam and all it’s adherents and the Catholic Church gained a new Saint through martyrdom almost 2,000 years after the Romans started the practice of persecuting Christians for their faith.

Manila plans air, naval bases at Subic with access for U.S., officials say:  The plans make sense.  I just wonder if the fabled and infamous Subic Bay whorehouses will reappear?

Egypt Military Coup Ousts President Morsi:  We will see what happens.  I think Egypt will go one of three ways.  1. and least likely; the military will impose a secular government on the country similar to what Ataturk did in Turkey.  2. Medium likelihood; The elections go ahead as the army as promised and a new more moderate government is elected.  3.  Most likely; The Muslim Brotherhood refuses to go down without a fight and starts a low-level insurgency that gradually widens into a civil war with no clear winner in sight.  The problem with insurgencies is that they are hard to defeat because winning battles only alienates the people and strengthens the insurgency.

U.S. Considers Faster Pullout in Afghanistan:  If the admin were smart they would accelerate the pullout.  There is no god reason to stay in Afghanistan and it is not as if we could not pull another October 2001 if we needed to.  The Karzai regime is distancing itself from the US in preparation for the NATO departure and the US should oblige.  Smart money says that as soon as NATO pulls out or at least has a troop level precluding decisive force application that the Afghan Civil War starts back up.  Neither the US or its NATO allies have the stomach for the kind of force needed or time required to change Afghanistan, if it could even be changed.

At least 51 protesters killed in Egypt as army opens fire ‘like pouring rain’:  The nascent Egyptian Civil War is getting off to as slow a start as did the Syrian.  The big difference is that the Egyptian military is outfitted with the latest in American hardware, which tends to be more effective than the “chimp” model Russian stuff the Syrians have.  I expect that by the middle of August the Brotherhood will be making widespread use of IED’s against the Army.  It is not as if the Brotherhood does not have access to bomb-making expertise from their fellow travelers Hamas in Gaza.

Russia claims Syrian rebels have used sarin gas:  I am more and more convinced as more reports come out that both sides are guilty of using gas.  What I don;t know is whether there has been any tactical success because of it’s use.  Historically gas has been effective not because it kills or incapacitates people but because the protective measures needed degrade the fighting capability of those under gas attack.  All in all, gas is a horrific weapon because of its physical affects but of only dubious battlefield value.