May 4th, 2013
03:53 PM ET

Should U.S. intervene in Syria?

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

All the features of Syria's civil war that are supposedly the result of U.S. nonintervention bloomed in Iraq despite America's massive intervention there. In Iraq under U.S. occupation, jihadi terrorist of all stripes flourished. They employed tactics that were brutal beyond belief – putting electric drills through people's heads, burning others alive and dumping still breathing victims into mass graves.

These struggles get vicious for a reason: the stakes are very high. Joshua Landis, America's leading scholar on Syria, points out that Syria is the last of the three great minority-ruled regimes in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the first, the Christian minority was displaced in a fifteen year bloody civil war. In Iraq, the US displaced the Sunni minority, but they then fought back brutally – again a long, bloody civil war. Syria is following precisely that pattern.

The minority regime fights to the end because it fears for its life once out of power. The Sunnis of Iraq fought – even against the mighty American military – because they knew that life under the majority Shiites would be ugly, as it has proved to be. The Alawites – the ruling sect – in Syria will fight even harder because they are a smaller minority and have further to fall.

For more on this, read the column in TIME

Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Aminah McCloud

    Given our history, we should quickly get the UN and NATO onboard and stop the chemical attacks. We should not send soldiers but perhaps drones. Whatever we do, we do not need another war.

    May 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      What a stupid post the above Is! Any moron knows that we have absolutely no business in Syria. But then again, there's always a lot of money to be made in these obnoxious wars and the special interests in Washington don't wish to be left out. We need to have morality in Washington which today is sorely absent!

      May 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Exactly, unlike the American people who see no interests in Syria, the neocons do. Let's hope that Obama resist the hawkish mantra from people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They don't seem to have learned enough out of the lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        May 6, 2013 at 3:39 am |
    • wrong

      98% of those killed by drones are civilians. You are just inflicting a massive amount of damage on innocent lives and not allowing it to affect you.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  2. JAL

    Grace in the form of a massive Jobs surge in Libya and will tip the scales in regard to the Arab Spring.

    May 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • JAL

      Did Israel just jump in?

      May 5, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
      • JAL

        This is a very precarious situation (litmus test), because it will force the hand of the Arabs to show the world if it will stand along side Israel.

        May 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  3. sand

    the USA people are Irish half breeds that means that they are genetically different from Asian and middle eastern people therefore the USA people should go and sit and talk to people that are like them self and can understand them better. all this multiculturalism is point less the two peoples are genetically different that’s why the USA don’t understand the people of the middle east. same with Islam its pointless to explain Islam to the USA people because they are Irish Ghanaian half breeds there brains are genetically different from middle eastern people that’s why they don’t understand Islam because they cant the lack the genes and brain structure to understand it its like i want to use my cellphone bluetooth to change the channel on my led TV full HD but I cant because my TV has a infrared antenna that a radio antenna that’s why my TV don’t understand the bluetooth signal.

    May 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • sand

      I like to highdive in my speedo while talking on my Bluetooth headset.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  4. rightospeak

    No mention of water and land to be gained, no mention of a Russian base or the proxy war going on in Syria killing thousands innocent civilians.It is about oligarchs, water, land and war profits. Libya was about stealing oil and an African base of operations-back to colonial rule. No mention of Iran-strange.

    May 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  5. rightospeak

    McCain is contributing to the US decline-he needs to be shipped with Graham and others to Israel..

    May 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      You nailed it good, rightospeak. Thank you.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  6. ALL INDIA PRABHAKARAN PRABHAKARAN

    Date: Sat, 4 May 2013 19:54:09 +0000 To: cookington10@hotmail.com

    May 5, 2013 at 1:47 am | Reply
  7. Matt

    There is no point telling people or allowing the belief or false hope that the US is going to send in ground forces, when clearly it is agreed, that this is not an option. It is not say there no options, but that is not one of them. It is the same with Iraq 2007 onward and Afghanistan people are told it is for 5 years, and the job will be done in that time. It is no point to say that you are staying forever, when you are not. If you stay for 5 year and leave but say you are going to stay the course, they will claim victory, regardless of what the security situation is, all they have to do is launch a car bomb or IED and claim victory, or shoot a few troops in the lead up to the pullout. You cannot hide such a large withdrawal as a pullout. But at the height of the insurgency you make it clear via either public channel or covert channels that it for 5 years, no more, no less.

    It is all perceptions. If you say you are going to send troops and then don't it will be seen as weakness and a greenlight. All the players Syrians, Iranians, Russians all know from Libya that there will be no sand on the boots. It is clear and it is a doctrine.

    May 5, 2013 at 4:15 am | Reply
  8. Doc

    NO,NO,NO, THE U.S. SHOULD NOT GET INVOLVED IN SYRIA. WHY DOES THIS "DEBATE" GO ON AND ON AND ON. WE MAKE BIG MISTAKES IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. LET'S LEARN FROM THOSE MISTAKES AND MOVE ON.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
  9. ann

    Zakaria's point that Arab-religious civil war goes on whether the US is interfering or not. If McCain and friends care so much why don;t they ask the Arab League to intervene on behalf of innocents murdered?

    May 5, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
  10. ann

    Zakaria's point that Arab-religious civil war goes on whether the US is interfering or not is insightful and important. If McCain and friends care so much why don;t they ask the Arab League to intervene on behalf of innocents murdered?

    May 5, 2013 at 10:17 am | Reply
  11. Astersheen

    Yes,

    http://astersheen.blogspot.com/2013/04/obama-time-to-end-syrian-suffering.html

    May 5, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
  12. Pete

    McCain would love nothing better but to get involved with republicans in another senseless war and keep his lobbyists with the MIC happy as well.Keep those weapons ,tanks,jets and other military hardware manufacturers going and remember we need a bunch more body bags as well in different sizes if you don't mind!!

    May 5, 2013 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, Pete. I couldn't have stated it better.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  13. po billy

    we helped the Mujaden in afganistan, during their war with russia, we all,or most of us know how that turned out. The turned around and stabbed us in the back. ten became the Talibans. Annd alkadfios.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • carter

      Al Qaeda has never attacked Israel. Because of today's events it has been pretty clear they have been helping them the entire time.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  14. AJ SAIZ

    The Prior US Administration lit the fuse in the Middle East and has blood on their own hands as a result, we had no business in Iraq and we don't have any business in Syria. We're still waiting for the promised oil revenues that would pay us back for our fool's errand in Iraq. The same Chicken hawks with the exception of McCain (he got caught) are the same ones that committed crimes against humanity the last time I checked.

    May 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  15. Ann

    why isn't the segment on immigration posted?

    May 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  16. Samer Muala

    I think the solution is probably a no fly zone. The situation is getting muddier with the Israeli airstrikes. This will now give the Syrian government the chance to say that they were right all along that there is an Israeli conspiracy against them. If the US does anything now, it will again fall in the trap of being labeled as aiding the Israeli conspiracy. The best way to proceed is a no fly zone initiated by the UN.

    May 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • carter

      The "no fly zone" was used as a pretext for the illegal invasions of Iraq and Libya. Syria is another such quagmire. Al Qaeda has never attacked Israel. Because of today's events it has been pretty clear they have been helping them the entire time.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  17. Ferhat Balkan

    Those of you who are saying there should be no military intervention seem to ignore one important fact: Chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands. What do you think will happen once the opposition to the Syrian regime gets their hands on them? There is only one way to prevent this and you know that involves troops on the ground. If we sit around and wait, it will be only a matter of time. Things are only getting worse, not better. Now we have Hezbollah helping the Assad regime. What if Assad decides to lend some of those chemical weapons to Hezbollah? Anyone thought of that? There are always consequences to inaction. Sure, sending troops there is not the best answer, but not doing anything about it is even worse.

    May 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      Please Ferhat, quit vomiting your ignorance on this web page! It gets very old.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Hehehe

      Good idea. Troop on the ground I love it. Only thing to be sure is your whole family boots on the ground and your next two generations pay for the work, I will give my best pray for you.

      May 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  18. Brian Jordan

    Syria is a quagmire and there do not appear to be any good solutions to this problem. All we will accomplish if we go in is more death and mayhem. We are good at blowing stuff up. We suck at nation building.

    Minimum safe distance and diplomacy is all we can do. The time for American adventurism is done.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
    • Quigley

      Good post, Brian. How true that is!

      May 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  19. yes

    USA MUST DO IT GET RED OF SYRIA THUGS AND SHIIA KILLERS SO ISRAEL CAN CLEAN UP HIZBOALLAH AND THE FREE WORLD CAN FOCUS ON THE EVIL SHIIA IRANINAS THOSE TERRORISTS EVIL ARE THE WORSE NIGHTMARE IN THIS EARTH TO WORLD PEACE.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Reply
  20. yes

    SYRIA SHIIA THUGS PUPPET GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN GIVEN WEAPOINS TO HIZBOALLAH SINCE MARCH 2011 AND THEY GAVE MORE IN 2012 ...SO HIZBOALLAH HAS MORE THEN 300 DROWNS AND MANY ROCKETS , SCUDS FROM IRAN, CASH.....AND TANKS,,,,,,THOSE EVIL MUST LEAVE SYRIA BACK TO IRAN

    May 6, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Reply
    • Hehehe

      So? Let them kill each other and none of them left. Best thing ever. None of our business !!!!

      May 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  21. yes

    DONT FORGET THE IRAQI SHIIA AND THE EVIL HIZBOALLAH IN IRAQ THE WORSE TERRORISTS IN IRAQ ALONG WITH AL DAWA PARTY , QODOS ARMI AND AL MAHDI MILTIA ...ALL THOSE SHIIA KILLERS BACKED BY IRAN SO IRAQ GIVEN XASH AND FREE OIL TO SYRIA AND THE KILLERS STOP THE IRAQ SHIIA GIVERNMENT FROM HELPING THE TERRORISTS , AL BATTAT IS THE HIZBOALLAH LEADER IN IRAQ WORKING WITH IRAN AND KILLING CIVILIANS.....

    May 6, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  22. wjm

    There is no reason to enter into the civil war in Syria. There are just to many factions wanting to destroy each other in the current environment.

    The American government only really needs to control the chemical weapons of the Syrian regime, it doesn't matter in the end who wins this war, these chemical weapons have to be destroyed, these weapons have no place in the world we live in. Beyond seeing the destruction, the parties who wish do harm to each other have at it. I believe that even when the dust settles, their will not be a democratically elected government who will create a society that protect all religious beliefs, there will be voices for change, but the will be drowned out. Another country that thinks the Americans will have let them down by not taking additional action beyond the point of humanitarian aid and the destruction of the chemical weapons. Fingers will be pointed, accusations made, and all sorts conflagration about what was done, or not done. Stay out, save lives, and get the economy back on tract beyond those few who can still afford to play in the world of stocks and bonds.

    Peace

    May 7, 2013 at 10:04 am | Reply
  23. HarrisCCBCMD

    e

    May 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  24. HarrisCCBCMD

    The Globalization and intervention of Syria is a mistake. The Imperialistic approach the U.S. has toward the Middle East has not been working for the last ten years. Maybe its time to look at a different approach. Syria is in a very delicate situation right now. The U.S. congress recently wrote a bill to fund Syrian rebels with 250 million dollars to help overthrow the government. If this sounds familiar is should. When Afghanistan was being invaded by Russia in the 80's the U.S. decided to fun Afghan rebels to help fight back the Russian invasion. Those rebels then took power of the government and became one of the biggest terrorist organization in the world. The Taliban to this day remain strong and grow bigger and bigger each year. The U.S. can not afford this same situation in Syria. Instead of giving 250 million dollars to rebels they don't even know, to help them overthrow a government they don't even understand, maybe they should give that money to the people that helped them get elected in the first place. Its time the U.S. stopped and focused on the domestic issues going on in their own country. Afterward, they can look out and help those in need

    May 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  25. Beb Butler

    REMEMBER HOW WE GOT SCREWED INTO GOING TO A WAR FOR WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION?
    The US should not send military equipment nor us soldiers into syria. Let the surrounding arab countries be the policeman for their area of the world. Not the US ever anymore. WE get screwed too many times after helping some one out of trouble.

    August 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply

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