Syria Next

A long time ago I came up with a comprehensive war plan showing which country to liberate next, starting with Iran. But as the saying goes - "no war plan survives first contact with the enemy". In this case we have a new situation - we have people on Syrian streets (compared to Iran where there aren't). We also have the Libyan model as a reference.

First of all the prospects for Syria are not good. It's a disaster story waiting to happen as the sectarian violence starts when religiously-bigotted Sunnis come to power. What I'd rather see is a model like the UK had where the Allawites are basically the House of Lords and can block the majority Sunnis from doing anything really bad. However, I don't see that happening practically.

Syria is an enemy of the free world and is collectively punished for being such. I don't think that is fair on the Syrian people. If they're going to be held to account for the actions of their government, then that government should at least be democratically-elected. So, the Syrians should be able to democratically choose to be enemies, then punished for it. Note that Syria is already an enemy, so it doesn't matter that we convert a dictator enemy into a democratic enemy. For other countries where we have an allied government and enemy people, it does not make sense to convert them into an enemy government. At least not while there are enemy dictators still awaiting conversion to democracies.

At the end of the day, the Syrian people have been brave and stood up for an end to their subjugation. The dictatorship is using the military to quell the uprising, and without NATO air cover, my money is on the military being ultimately successful. I think the Syrian people deserve to be rewarded for their bravery. And also I think that breaking open freedom of speech stands the best chance of culturally changing the Syrian people so that they stop being enemies of the free world.

We're not going to get another miracle of a UN resolution supporting NATO action. I don't think even NATO will be able to take action. It will instead need to be an adhoc coalition. My plan is to write to the Italians and Libyans to take the lead. The Libyans because they of all people should know that it's impossible to win without foreign air cover. The Italians because they didn't seem to be very active in Libya probably because of their colonial past (but France was free in Libya, unlike Tunisia), but Italy doesn't have that problem in Syria (but France does).

Another thing to note was that I wasn't really keen to go into Syria while we were still gathering data from Libya. In order to determine the best strategy it is best to have lots of data available. If we had 30 examples of liberation we'd be in a better position to decide how the 31st should be done and what it will look like. Unfortunately we have so few examples that it has been very hard to predict what will happen. E.g. I originally thought that Libya could be won quickly with air support and the defections that had already happened. This was based on the easy victory that the Northern Alliance had. But for whatever reason this was a 6-month slugfest and it looked like it could have taken a lot longer than that too, as it appeared to be stalemated. But once again the war plan didn't survive first contact with the enemy.

Anyway, Damascus or bust!

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