Apparently the "Arab Spring" (whatever that means) has sprung. I suppose the protests, civil wars and general disobedience that some of the more dictatorial minded are experiencing is what commentators have dubbed this so called "Spring." The civil war in Libya, the recent drama of Egypt, low level war in Yemen, and the brutality of Syria is supposed to eventually bring those more enlightened to power and there will be peace, flowers and harmony in the Middle East. Or so we are being led to believe. I don't buy it for a moment. Tonight for instance, CNN's Anderson Cooper had a segment on the utter violence being perpetrated on the protesters in Syria by govt forces. Murder and mayhem seems to be the order of the day and some of the video smuggled out of that unfortunate country is quite disturbing in its brutality. To their credit, some troops have opted to not participate and have deserted service to their great peril. A great many troops however do appear to be doing the government' bidding and literally firing on unarmed protesters. It is interesting that Syrian troops seem quite adept at terrorizing the civilian population but will (again) run like dogs when faced with the IDF.
Here lies a danger as I see it. The regime in Syria appears to be in trouble. It is quite possible that to "unite" the country Assad may well try to take some military action against Israel. Does this seem far fetched to you? Last week there was an episode on the border that cost some Syrian civilians their lives and of course the Syrian public relations apparatus swung into full gear. It seems to have died down somewhat and the real story is again at the forefront. I would be willing to bet that those who rushed the border of Israel had no choice in the matter. Just a hunch. A real military problem could be brewing for Israel.
Do we continue to support the regimes that keep a clamp on more "radical" elements in the Mohammedan world? Do we support "rebels" and protesters for the sake of "freedom" and "fairness" in that region? That is a hard question. Not that the United States is a supporter of Assad or Khaddafy but we did support the now defunct Egyptian regime. We do have business relations with the current regime in Yemen.We do indeed support the desert kingdoms. What to do? Kind of a double edged sword. We know and do business with the dictators but we really do not know these in the opposition. We could be trading one evil for an evil that is willing (although possibly not able due to Arab military incompetence), to set the region on fire. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Mohammedans in the region are not as incompetent now as we might think. It is easy to joke about the inept Arabs but the joke may be on Israel and her supporters.
Perhaps it is better to support the evil we know instead of trade for a far less predictable evil.
Perhaps not. Either way we will be dealing with this mess for years to come. It is most important that our leadership does not lose sight of the real world fact that doing what is best for our strategic defense is not always the moral choice. The two concepts can be exclusive of one another. It would be nice if this strategic problem was taking place in Sub-Saharan Africa. Then it would cease to be a problem. It would be just another tragic story and not a real threat to world peace.