Before we escalate in Syria further, John Zmirak says the U.S. needs to answer certain questions: “Do we want to send U.S. troops to Syria, which would likely put al Qaeda in control of a major country? To cause the ethnic cleansing of another million Christians, as we made possible in Iraq? To remove the last safe country for Christians in the region, apart from Israel?”
But let’s allow that it’s possible, even likely that Assad’s forces were the culprit. Assad is a ham-fisted dictator, fighting desperately to protect his own power base and his ethnic group: the Alawites, a minority religious group that is persecuted in virtually every other Muslim country. So are Christians, who likewise are safe in the regions of Syria he still rules.
If we use force to knock out Assad and his government, who will fill the vacuum? The “moderate rebels” beloved of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham can’t do it. They can’t even hold on to the weapons the U.S. gives them. The Turks won’t permit the Kurds and Syriac Christians to expand into that region. We won’t give it to ISIS.
So the most likely beneficiary of a U.S. attack on the Syrian government will be the powerful coalition of al Qaeda-linked radical Islamists, who are backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. If they take over the region with millions of Alawites and Christians, what will these jihadists do to them? Christians on the ground in Syria report that they were “cleansed” by these militias, whom they fear as much as ISIS. Indeed, the worldviews of al Qaeda and ISIS are not fundamentally different. As a native New Yorker who was present for 9/11, I am somehow biased against this outcome.