February 12th, 2012
10:15 PM ET

Should the West intervene in Syria?

The violence in Syria escalated this week. Hundreds and hundreds of civilians have been killed. The question is, in light of Russia and China's veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution to condemn and try to stem the violence, what options are left for the international community to act on?

To talk about this I had three great guests on GPS. Fawaz Gerges joined me from London. He is the director of the Middle East Study Center of the London School of Economics. Elliott Abrams was the Deputy National Security Advisor for President George W. Bush. He lives in D.C. And in Beirut, Rami Khouri runs the International Affairs Program at the American University. Here's a transcript of our discussion:

Fareed Zakaria: Fawaz, let me begin with you. How would you describe what is going on in Syria? Because it appears to be more than just a few protests. There seems to be a kind of incipient civil war.

Fawaz Gerges: Well, I think Syria has already descended into a prolonged conflict. Political violence has spread to many parts of Syria. I have just returned from the area - many Syrians are arming themselves. The Syrian government appears to be losing control of some neighborhoods and some streets and even towns.

You have now a potent armed insurgency. The Assad regime in the last one week or so has launched an all-out offensive to crush the insurgency. The Security Council has been neutralized as a result of the double veto. The Syrian crisis has been caught in the unfolding cold war between the Saudi-led alliance and the Iranian coalition.

This is a very, very prolonged conflict. Even though I don't see how Assad can survive on the long-term - it will take a miracle to rescue his sinking ship - in the short-term and the medium term, Assad is not as desperate as some of us or most of us would portray him to be.

Fareed Zakaria: Rami, Fawaz talked about a Saudi-Iranian a cold war where Syria is, in a sense, the battleground. In the region, does it appear to you that way - that you have on the one hand the Syrian regime backed by Iran, really its sole major ally, but then is there a lot of money and arms flowing in from Saudi Arabia?

Rami Khouri: Well, there are three things happening simultaneously. You do have the Saudi and Iranian-led cold war in the region that's been going on for some years and has played itself out in Lebanon and Palestine and Iraq, sometimes in Somalia and Yemen and now in Syria.

And you have the second thing, which is this  of uprisings all across the region where citizens are trying to reclaim their dignity, their sovereignty, and their citizenship, and their rights.

And the third thing now, which is the most recent, with the veto at the United Nations you have the Russians, the Chinese as two world powers that are reclaiming a role in the region as the Americans and the Europeans slowly lower their footprint in the region. And, simultaneously, the rise of regional powers like Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab League now is the latest player, Qatar to a certain extent, and the Egyptians are on their way.

So you have three things happening simultaneously, and all of them are converging on Syria.

Fareed Zakaria: Elliott, if you were in the National Security Council right now, trying to figure out whether this regime could survive, wouldn't one of the key metrics be whether there are defections in the army, whether the regime itself is cracking? And what I'm struck by is for all this – all the turmoil, you don't see much in the way of defections of the army or the intelligence.

Elliott Abrams: Well, I think that's right. I would say that that's because people have not yet become convinced, people in the army, that Assad is definitely going to lose and going to lose reasonably soon.

So I think the message there is that we, on our side of the axis, we with the Turks, we with the Saudis, need to be doing more to help the side that is being killed by the Assad regime and its supporters – Iran, China, Russia.

Fareed Zakaria: Fawaz, would you agree with that, that the – that the intelligence and army are not convinced that Assad is going down, that's why they're clinging to him? That it would be possible to pry them away?

Fawaz Gerges: Fareed, you and I, we talked six months ago when I was in Syria. I don't know if you remember. And I made the point that it's not just about the security apparatus. The reason why I think this particular regime has a lot of staying power for several reasons.

First, it has a critical base of support, social support, Fareed. Millions of Syrians, sadly to say, not just Alawites. The Christians I talked to Fareed, they're more fanatical, pro-Assad than the Alawites. You have the bourgeoisie class, the merchant class that has benefited from the neo-liberal policies of the Assad regime. So a critical base of support.

You have the security apparatus that has remained solidly behind him. And when I say a solid security base, Fareed, I'm talking about 300,000 troops and soldiers. Assad can mobilize up to 500,000 special forces and has – he has been doing so.

And, not only that, of course, he has the support of Iran. Iran – I mean, what we need to understand, Fareed, is that the Iraq – the Tehran-Baghdad road now has become the lifeline of the Assad regime in terms of money, in terms of arms, so he has the veto – two double vetoes in the last 10 months. And that's why I think we need to have some humility, and we have to be blunt with the position.

Yes, Assad might not survive, will not survive on the long-term. But this is going to be a very deeply entrenched, very bloody, very costly, very prolonged conflict, indeed.

Fareed Zakaria: Elliott, when you confront a double veto from the Russians and Chinese, which effectively means the U.N. Security Council is not going to be able to authorize these actions, which we – you know, which we all understand provide legitimacy, provide cover, allowed a lot of regional players to get involved. What you do you do at that stage? Would – do you think that the United States should be moving down a unilateral path here?

Elliott Abrams: Well, it wouldn't be unilateral. I think we would be consulting with the Arab League, with the Turks, with the GCC, the Gulf Corporation Council countries, because, in fact, there is a very large amount of support against the Assad regime. It doesn't happen to include Iran, Russia and China.

The question now, really, is who is going to win – the Russian, Chinese, Iranian side backing Hezbollah, backing Assad? Or the other side, which includes the Saudis, the Turks, the Europeans, the Arab League, the GCC, and us?

Now, Assad is willing to kill to prevent himself from being ousted from power, and the question really is are we going to back the other side, along with the Arabs? Are we going to back them with words, or, you know, to back them with something a little bit more tangible?

Fareed Zakaria: What would that more tangible thing be, Elliott?

Elliott Abrams: More tangible thing would be the kind of support that was given initially in Libya. That is, I would give them money, and I would give them arms. That's both of the two things they need right now.

They don't need American airplanes. But they do need what would, from our point of view, be covert support. I would hope that it would come from Arab countries rather than directly from the United States. But they're being slaughtered, and they have rifles, and we should not watch that happen and sit by. We should give them help, concrete help.

Fareed Zakaria: Fawaz, would that expand this incipient civil war?

Fawaz Gerges: That's a terrible advice, Fareed, because the worst thing that can happen to the uprising, the awakening, is the militarization of the Intifada, because that would exactly play into the Assad's basically worldview, and the United States has been correct saying that the most effective means to basically dislodge Assad is to have a tipping point.

What we need to understand, Fareed, in the last 10 months, there has been a war being waged against the Assad regime. You have a financial war, economic war, psychological war. The squeeze is amazing, and I mentioned I just came back. How much – I mean, the Syrian people, and the Syrian economy is being hurt.

Because if we do arm the opposition, if we try to go that particular road, Syria will descend into all-out civil war. Already Syria is on the verge, on the brink. We should struggle very hard to convince the opposition to remain a political – and help the opposition, because the tipping point, Fareed, I believe the social balance of forces inside Syria.

Once the middle class fully joins the uprising, Assad is a goner, I believe.

Elliott Abrams: Here is the problem with that, I think. The longer this fighting goes on - and this is a war of the regime against the people. The longer this regime fights the people, kills the people, kills a Sunni majority population, the harder it's going to be at the end to pull the pieces back together to avoid revenge and to get reconciliation.

If this goes on for another nine or 12 months, there will be too much blood will have been shed. That's why it's important, I think, to bring it to an end sooner.

Fareed Zakaria: Rami, let me ask you a final point, which is about Iran. Iran is really the main sponsor of this regime. This doesn't look very good for them as the regime – as Syria gets squeezed, as this descends into turmoil. How do you think this is being seen in Iran and how is it seen in the region?

Rami Khouri: Iran is emerging as probably one of the great losers from the current Arab uprisings all across the region, and the Iranians probably have to look at home because they're not impervious to these kinds of uprisings themselves, either. There's tensions within Iran.

But this is going to be played out in Syria. This is a battle between the – the rulers of Syria and the – many of the people of Syria.

As Fawaz correctly said, there is strong support for the regime, as there was for Ceauşescu, as there was for other leaders who are overthrown, finally, by their own people. So the Syrian regime's in trouble, the Iranian can help it, but once the erosion starts in the pillars of the regime, the security, the Alawites, some of the minorities and the middle class in Aleppo and Damascus. And all of this is happening to a very slight extent, but it's been increasing over the last eight, 10 months. The trend is very clear, and I think foreign military intervention would probably be catastrophic, and to hear Americans suggest this is to think back what they did in – in Iraq and what an extraordinary catastrophe that has been. That's still plays itself out today.

So I think we need to feel the pain of the Syrian people. It's a terrible thing to watch them as we do here, and we see the refugees coming into Lebanon and the businessmen and the civil activists telling us what's going on. But, in the end, this has to be played out in Syria, and I think it will be.

Post by:
Topics: Syria

soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Elliot

    If the interviewee said that syrians are arming themselves, where the heck are they getting these arms?

    February 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • buctootim

      via Turkey.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        True, a couple of BBC journalists had been smuggled into Syria via Turkey. So the border is porous.
        I don't agree with Rami Khouri that the Chinese are reclaiming a role in the region. Their veto was symbolic and underscored their foreign policy: No interference in other countries' domestic affairs. The Russians on the contrary do want to reclaim a role there. History had seen them trying to settle down in the Levant. Since 1971 they are using the Syrian Port Tartus for their Black Sea fleet.
        However sad it is to see civilians slaughtered by Assad's butchers. An external intervention in Syria would cause even more casualties. Tightening the noose on Syria's economy would be more effective. Iran, Assad's closest ally is feeling the squeeze itself and wouldn't have cash to spare for him.

        February 13, 2012 at 4:09 am |
      • Marga

        America should not intervene. America must take care of her children first. Family first and then others.

        February 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  2. wjeri

    The United States police officer of the World has to end. Every U.S. Embassy around the world has a mission. These missions are not to save the lives of peoples in those countries as you may believe. But, how the U.S. can benefit or achieve from every foreign country. Yes, like the Borg on Star Trek. The U.S. wants what others have in order to sustain its prosperity and gains.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • John Castleman

      That's rather harsh, isn't it ?

      February 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
    • Zakaria is the president of USA

      I think you are and zakaria are 2 asses in on pans. I do not like zakaraia and his 2-arab criminals who hate the USA, and who are getting paid by the criminal Syrian dictator. Zakaria did specifically choose those buyest. Mr. Zacaria you do not belong to the civilized word such as the U.S.A. Go back to your 3 world environment such as russia or china or stupped Khomeini. Mr. Elliot, I do salute you, because you are talking the American way of helping the victims, and God bless America the land of the free.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Reply
      • neutralityrocks

        Well, if you salute Mr Elliot type of patriotism, that tells quite enough about you.

        February 13, 2012 at 12:04 am |
      • Marga

        Mr. Z, I'm so proud of what you're doing as an anchor/journalist. America was not built by white people only. She was built by nationalities worldwide. People who are so biased don't even know their origin, who they are and so on. There will never be peace in the world to come. Wars between countries will continue until the next generation. I'm so sorry for what is happening in the middle east. I told my students today how blessed they are not living in a situation like what the children of Syria is experiencing right now. My prayers are for you and for the mothers and children of Syria. May the Holy Spirit of God give you strength, knowledge, and guidance to go on. Have a blessed day.

        February 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • david marriott

      Wjeri; You don't have to worry about our inept president intervening in Syria, because he has already backed himself into a corner by starting two new wars in Libya and Pakistan without congressional approval! Also, earlier broken campaign promises to end the Iraqi and afghanistan wars immediately demonstartes his lack of understanding U.S. foriegn policy and leadership in a situation like this. Our president is literally the laughing stock of the world at this point and is trying desperately to solidify his fractured left-wing base who opposes "any war at anytime", for the upcoming elections. ...this is a lose lose situation for the Democrats either way!

      February 13, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
  3. mahmoud el-darwish

    The two most astute observations in this excellent repartee are:
    Elliott Abrams:
    Here is the problem with that, I think. The longer this fighting goes on – and this is a war of the regime against the people. The longer this regime fights the people, kills the people, kills a Sunni majority population, the harder it's going to be at the end to pull the pieces back together to avoid revenge and to get reconciliation.
    If this goes on for another nine or 12 months, there will be too much blood will have been shed. That's why it's important, I think, to bring it to an end sooner.
    Rami Khouri:
    The trend is very clear, and I think foreign military intervention would probably be catastrophic, and to hear Americans suggest this is to think back what they did in – in Iraq and what an extraordinary catastrophe that has been. That's still plays itself out today.
    So I think we need to feel the pain of the Syrian people. It's a terrible thing to watch them as we do here, and we see the refugees coming into Lebanon and the businessmen and the civil activists telling us what's going on. But, in the end, this has to be played out in Syria, and I think it will be.
    This, friends, is what is meant by being caught between the horns of a dilemma. I'm certain that Assad's advisers have in fact apprised him of this quandary that faces the UN and the US. Harsh lessons in premature and poorly informed intervention were learned by the US in Iraq. Libya was too different a scenario to Syria and now we are stuck watching inevitable bloodshed. This cause me to ask– Is the UN totally toothless at this stage? Must we soon revisit the charter and invent a new world order to deal with these incessant diatribes of humanitarian injustice?

    February 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • League of Nations

      You think a third time is a charm?

      February 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  4. bad2worse


    February 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  5. Alex

    Ceaucescu was a Soviet puppet. I do not think he had any support whatsover. People did not rise up against him only because they knew that would mean Soviet invasion next day as it had happened in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • neutralityrocks

      I partially agree. But Ceausescu was not quite overthrown by his own people; it was a coup d'etat helped from the outside, in the shadows of the popular uprising. Sadly, like with the Middle East uprisings, hidden forces high-jacked the popular demonstration, and did their own thing. In the process Ceausescu was executed and replaced with another Communist guy, but also a few thousand people who got in the way were killed.

      My heart goes to all the innocent people who will get caught between the rebels and the government forces; I can only hope the Syrian people will try to understand what is really going on.

      February 13, 2012 at 12:23 am | Reply
    • gob

      Ceaucescu was definitely NOT a Soviet puppet. He led a distinctly independent foreign policy from the Soviet Union. As a result, he had access to the credit markets of the West and used that to drive up the Romanian debt. The KGB may have had something to do with his downfall.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
  6. John

    let Russia and China send Troops there for peace keeping. After all It Is there ally.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  7. boi

    the u.s. needs to stay out...we keep sticking our nose in every problem, we are spending ourselves into oblivion and in the end we are hated. time for us to care about us and let the UN do it's job

    February 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  8. S. Yates Wilburn

    All throughout human history, no nations with free and fair democratic governments have ever gone to war with each other. So, in my opinion, intervening and supporting democratic movements in situations like Syria today, Rwanda in 1994 (the Western world should be forever ashamed for its inaction), and in countless other regions where we have no real stake is very much in our best interest, because in the long-run, democracy creates and preserves peace. It's the ultimate expression of "self-interest well understood".

    The potential for selfish motivations in any military intervention will never eliminate their potential to preserve justice and dignity or their necessity in my mind. The West has seen the results of non-intervention, don't let NATO make the same mistake it made in Rwanda.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
    • neutralityrocks

      S.Y.W. - How many times are you guys going to play the Rwanda card? Why don't you talk about the Middle East newly installed "democracies" with the of chaos and the loss of life they started?

      February 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Reply
      • S. Yates Wilburn

        Rwanda is not a "card", it's historical reference. I think the fact that the West sat back and watched 800,000 people die and a nation eat itself alive is incredibly relevant to any future discussion regarding military intervention.

        I'm not playing a game, Rwanda is no abstract event in a history book for me. I say this with the knowledge imparted on me by multiple friends that attend my university that witnessed these atrocities with their own eyes when they were no older than 3 years of age. They have seen the consequences of inaction, and I'm simply trying to impart that knowledge to others.

        February 13, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  9. NMF

    It's not up to the USA. Where is Allah in all this. Why don't I hear let Allah intervene? They always blame USA for intervening so let the USA stay out of this.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Reply
    • S. Yates Wilburn

      In every religious text, even a shallow skimming would show you that (God, Yahweh, or Allah) aids, intervenes, or communicates in regards to various events in life through your fellow man.

      Given your apparent severe lack of knowledge of any faith, you have no right to mock any faith or anyone that practices one. Even as a Christian I try to gain a basic understanding of other faith's tenents, so as to better understand how to interact with people that don't share my beliefs. Even the vast majority of my athiest friends have done their research, and those that have not at least have the courtesy to remain silent in regards to religion. That is the least you could do if you don't feel like gaining any knowledge about other beliefs.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  10. ling ling

    Has Obama called Fareed and asked for his help yet? I know that the President frequently relies on CNN for their guidance in Arab matters, so I guess we'll just wait for the experts to make a decision. Thanks for helping out Obama, Fareed! Hopefully you and your media buddies can figure out the best thing to do. I know we've all been gearing up for US intervention in Syria since CNN has made a point of showing all the children and civilians who have suffered in Syria–unlike how CNN usually NEVER shows civilians and children in their coverage if it is a war that Obama or CNN approves of. Keep up the good work, CNN and Obama!

    February 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • NMF

      You sound like a dumb nut. Learn to respect the intelligence of your president.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  11. JPS

    No!! Let them chant and dance until it is over.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  12. S. Yates Wilburn

    In addition, to all of you that ask "Why is it America's responsibility to be 'Globocop'?" or "What gives the US the right to intervene in other nation's affairs?"

    The second Al-Assad, the Hutu Power movement, the instigators of the War in the Balkans and in Kosovo, and the warlords of Somalia began killing innocent men, women, and children (many no older than 18 months) or preventing UN Aid from reaching civilians, they gave America (really any legitimate power) the right to intervene.

    "Intervention" does not have to mean "nation-building", not in the slightest. Intervention is, at the very least, supporting existing rebel groups so that they can defend innocents and displace the murdering government, and at most displacing the murdering government yourself, overseeing elections, and calling it a day. That's it.

    Afghanistan and Iraq have permenantly tainted the noble idea of a humanitarian war beyond repair, and I will never forgive the Bush administration for that. While we sit here and argue about America's role in the world, babies are dying, innocent protestors are dying, and America's (and NATO's) moral authority is eroding. We need to show fledgling democratic movements across the globe that all they have to do is speak out, and they can succeed.

    And if that isn't enough, as a Christian (really the believer of any of the three major faiths), based on many interpretations, one is called upon to engage in such a humanitarian conflict when all other means of putting an end to the conflict have been shown to be impractical or ineffective, the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain, and when no immediate benefit can be derived from engaging in the conflict. Considering the current death toll and the lack of oil or any other significant natural resources, that sounds like Syria to me.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • NMF

      I'm sorry. These people are entrenched in their belief about Allah. All focus should be on Allah saving them. Unless you think religion means nothing.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      I think you've been influenced too much by the Western media (see neutralityrocks' opinion about one-sided journalism below). The fact of the matter is this: this violence is multi-lateral because the opposition HAS unnecessarily fought back against the government by murdering military officials at checkpoints, and sectarian violence IS present and could very well be made worse if the U.S. (or any other western nation) were to intervene. Already in Lebanon there have been clashes between Sunni and Alawite neighborhoods. It is not simply a "government crackdown," the situation is much more complex than that.

      Think about the brinksmanship that is currently occurring between the U.S. and Iran, and think about how much worse that will become if we intervene in the affairs of one of their closest allies. Yes, we have a duty to protect innocent civilians from being slaughtered. But in this case, that duty is outweighed by the potential sectarian bloodshed that could result from foreign intervention. Not to mention the all-out war that could occur if Russia, Iran, and/or China decide to retaliate against us for intervening (which is extremely possible given their resentment of NATO intervention in Libya). The best thing we can do at the moment is to continue to pressure Russia into working out a peaceful transition of power whereby the al-Assad regime hands over power in a PEACEFUL fashion. And trust me, if you read the latest news articles, that's exactly what they're trying to do. So we're on the right track and we just need to keep up this diplomatic pressure, if not ratchet it up even higher.

      February 13, 2012 at 1:08 am | Reply
  13. neutralityrocks

    wiki: "Elliott Abrams is an American attorney and conservative policy analyst who served in foreign policy positions for two Republican U.S. Presidents,Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. While serving for Reagan and in the State Department, Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, and retired U.S. Marine Corps officer Oliver Northwere integral players in the Iran-Contra affair. Abrams held many roles within the affair, some official and unofficial. This included working with CIA operations that got the U.S. onboard with the illegal shipment of arms and supplies"
    "Abrams was born into a Jewish family in New York. His father was an immigration lawyer. He attended Harvard College in the late 1960s and was a roommate of Steven Kelman, founder of the Young People's Socialist League campus chapter. Together they penned an article on the 1969 Harvard strike for The New Leader, “The Contented Revolutionists."

    Mr. Abrams proposition: " More tangible thing would be the kind of support that was given initially in Libya. That is, I would give them money, and I would give them arms. That's both of the two things they need right now."

    February 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Reply
    • neutralityrocks

      Oh, really Mr. Abrams, arm them? Disgusting!

      February 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  14. Peikoviany

    The Russians have a sad, cynical, miserable culture and a horrible, tragic history. Any talk of fairness or democracy or a legitimate republic confuses them, and worse, if they believe there's even a hope of such a thing, it brings the kind of despair that only someone with frequently crushed dreams can have. They are supporting the al-Assad regime because it means work for Russian munitions workers. They have no use for Arabs/Muslims and no expectation that things can get better, because they live in a world where nothing ever gets better. They make sure of that themselves.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  15. David

    I can't help but wonder, what would happen if Israel became involved. Sort of a slap at Iran at the expense of Syria.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
    • Peikoviany

      I have read that Israel allowed some Syrian Alawites to enter the Golan Heights. These people are members of the same sect as the al-Assads and therefore unpopular during the current crisis. The Golan Heights has been under Israeli control since 1967 and this is like leaving Syria for Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan in terms of personal safety for these refugees. It may not make sense for the Israelis to do more than that.

      February 13, 2012 at 12:08 am | Reply
  16. neutralityrocks

    Thanks CNN for eventually presenting us more diversified opinions. Let us see an attempt at unbiased journalism. Let us read different positions, do our own research, and make our own judgments.

    We didn't appreciate it when you tried to feed us your pro-intervention, pre-digested thoughts.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
    • S. Yates Wilburn

      No one is stopping anyone from doing their own research. Zakaria's program is an opinion show, he makes no assumptions and is under no illusions that he is presenting news. His opinions and the opinions of his guests are just that...OPINIONS. He has no responsibility to be unbiased, that's what he gets paid to do. Journalists like Wolf Blitzer do have this responsibility, and fulfill it by reporting news, and bringing on multiple analysts with different views when his show tries to interpret events. Shows like Zakaria's are tools and material that people (foreign affairs analysts, average readers, everyone) can use to try and get a complete picture of a situation and, in conjunction with other sources, craft their own opinions.

      So, rather than obsessing over 2 pundits' opinions, perhaps you should move on to others. Better yet, how about you share the results of your research with us so that we get a more complete picture of the situation.

      But we know that's not what you want, you're simply angry because you don't agree with these guys (which is perfectly fine), and you're simply using the the charge of bias to try and discredit their views in the hopes that your own (whatever they are) look more legitimate.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  17. Tony Chang

    While this may be harsh, I say let the Syrians fight their own battles. If other nations want to get involved then good for them, but the United States cannot get bogged down in another country's problems. We have our own problems and while it looks like the economy is slowly righting itself, it still has a long way to go and we should focus on getting ourselves stable before we worry about others.

    Side note: I don't think that Syrians would appreciate our help in the long term. Here's why. While the United States enters conflicts with a worthy goal, we don't usually leave an area as loved or respected. I don't think that the majority of Iraq appreciates us nor Afghanistan. So unless the country wants us to stay there for a long time, follows the rules that the US lays down, and cooperates with the US 100% then they probably wouldn't appreciate the amount of time and effort given to them.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:46 am | Reply
  18. Rob

    Well the West should at least drop some bombs on the weapons lobbing shells into homs. Give the a little wiggle room not much assistance but who knows perhaps enough. That would cost maybe 30 million. But every bomb used is one workers have to build good for jobs. As I always say its best to own a hospital, liquor store, funeral parlor and a weapons manufactory. Death is a very good line of business to be into :). An the equipment we destroy will simply have to be replaced. By China and Russia not that I like the idea of putting money in their pockets. I just don't see another way. US, France and Germany should use Turkish air space fly in drop some bombs create some breathing space for the rebels and see how they run with it. It take less then 8 hours I'm sure.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
  19. Are You Kidding?

    someone should...maybe the Arab league.....but who ever does Iran will send troops in...then there is Putin in Russia and the folks in China blocking intervention because of there oil.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
  20. Mariner V

    Yes we should and we should do it with the entire world community because this is the only way that we should intervene anywhere from this point forward. If the world community wishes to get assistance from the us, then the world community must engage the entire world with the us to deal with the problems of the world. It is one thing to do the right thing, it is another to go in without support and assistance, where we pick up the entire tab. This is exactly what Bush did and look at what it cost us. What they are doing is wrong but we have to work together as a world community to make sure that syria is not allowed to get away with it. Let's go in and make them pay a price for what they are doing but lets do it with one voice. We all know that china and russia are not going to help but if we get everyone else engaged then china and russia look more like exactly what they are, a bunch of assh*les!!! Then china and russia can't say that the us just does what it wants to do so they can as well. Long term if we can get the world community to work as one voice, then when china and russia try to make moves on their own and they will, we can block them with the voice of the world community. Then we can effectively prevent them from acting unilaterally because they will be isolated from the entire world.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply
  21. george

    intervene? sure, let go to beijing ask beg for more money first. the troops dont fight for free you know.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:56 am | Reply
  22. wade

    Short answer no. Long answer hell no. No country we have ever helped has ever appreciated it and has always blamed us for everything wrong in their country. Stay out of it.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
    • S. Yates Wilburn

      NO country we've EVER intervened in has EVER appreciated it? Really?

      Let's go down the list.


      The Netherlands

      The Chinese Civil War:

      The Korean War:
      South Korea

      The Six Day War and Yom Kippur War:

      Operation Desert Storm:

      War on Drugs:

      Presidency of George H.W. Bush:

      The Wars in the Balkans and Kosovo:
      Bosnia and Herzegovina

      The Presidency of Bill Clinton:
      The UN-Backed Government of Somalia (even if our intervention was very limited)
      East Timor

      War on Terror:
      The Kurds

      The Presidency of Georg W. Bush:
      Georgia (soft power)

      The Presidency of Barack Obama:

      Just because we royally screwed up in Iraq/Afghanistan and have screwed up on several other occasions during the Cold War you're ready to classify ALL military intervention as ineffective? These (admittedly) high profile screw ups do not mean that lives have not been saved and democracy, justice, and peace have been restored and can't be restored through our aid in one form or another.

      "Nation-Building" (Iraq, Afghanistan) does not mean that "Intervention" (supplying of arms, money, intelligence, or limited direct engagement with hyper-specific objectives) is ineffective or wrong. Having the greatest military on the planet, and being a founding member of the most powerful military alliance known to man (NATO) makes it our responsibility to save lives, or restore peace and order when the call is made.

      One cannot be an American exceptionalist and hope to shirk off the global leadership roles that come with such exceptionalism. Even going through the UN and letting it "do its job" requires heavy US participation, that doesn't shift any responsibility to anyone.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  23. Rose

    NO!!!We should not get into this fight at all, they always fight with one another and won't appreciate anything we do. Our people will die for nothing, we're still in a war and just got out of one. We can't afford it, our help will mean nothing to them and we are not the police of the world, it's ridiculous!

    February 13, 2012 at 3:00 am | Reply
  24. Andy


    February 13, 2012 at 3:10 am | Reply
  25. mabear87

    We already killed 4000 Americans in a faked war in Iraq where we had no business. We were smart to avoid Libya, and we needed to go to Afganistan ust to get Bin Laden. We do not need to kill more Americans for nothing. Let the UN take care of this, if they want their citizens and soldiers sacrificed.

    February 13, 2012 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • S. Yates Wilburn

      Yeah, let the UN do their job. Let's have the Security Council pass a mandate calling for the assistance of rebel groups in Syria in their efforts to overthrow Al-Assad. No need for the US to get involved in this.

      OH WAIT! I forgot, the US provides the UN with 22% of its funding! Oh, by the way, who will carry out this mandate? I've got it! Let's have the same group of nations that handled Libya handle this situation!

      Which nations were those? Come on, I just had it...oh I remember!


      No matter how you handle this, the US will be on the hook for, at the very least, financial assistance to any intervention force and at worst the staple contributor of forces.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  26. Bob the Rebuilder

    Take a good look at yourselves. Republicans. Democrats. What I think is going on here is nothing more than the same two sided arguments i ve had the displeasure to hear my entire life.We should intervene. We should not intervene. Why can't anybody get the good side? We are in a recession, and the only logical explanation is that we can't afford much of anything, so we should cut spending. In order to recoup the money we stupidly sent to oblivion, we also need to raise taxes. The government will have money again.

    Ohhhhh... Guess what?


    All you got to do is give it some time to recover. So stop this nonsense of we need more of this, less of that; less of that more of this. It comes down to we need more taxes, specifically for millionares and billionares. They should have a millionares tax for anybody owning a fortune over 1million dollars. We need to cut spending. Why spend money on candy you can't afford.

    All i am going to say. I am independent, unaffiliated, patrotic, and proud.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Bob the Rebuilder

      The middle is the place to be. Not to far left or right wing.

      February 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply


    February 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply


    February 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  29. Leader2050

    Yes .

    February 21, 2012 at 1:25 am | Reply
  30. Americal 68

    Alawites are a christian sect and will not be attacked by the West.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,029 other followers