Letter: Different Thoughts About Syria

A recent Town-Crier editorial called for the participation in the peace initiative of the Wellington Rotary Club (“Take A Moment Sept. 21 To Reflect On The Ideals Of World Peace,” Sept. 13). I liked that, but I missed a statement of how this initiative could be related to the current situation in the Middle East.

Without knowing about this initiative by the Rotary Club, I pleaded for a non-strike solution to the Syrian poison gas conflict. I hinted to the role the Russians would have to play. Now it seems the Obama administration is following this strategy. I don’t think there was any other sensible way. The option some influential conservatives like “SecureAmericaNow” proposed, not striking and not dealing with the Russians either, would, in my view, raise the danger that some Islamist rebels could gain access to one or more of Assad’s chemical weapons depots. The McCain option, to bomb Assad out of power, would magnify this threat. I don’t think we should follow this road. A deeper Iraq-like involvement would be inevitable.

However, I also disagree with the way Obama is handling the matter. On the one hand, he wants the inspectors to go into Syria in order to find the chemical depots and eventually destroy the poisonous stocks; on the other hand he sends heavy weapons to the rebels who promise to fight the Shiite regime to the end, thus endangering the gas mission. The rebels, furthermore, even the “moderates,” reject any call for peace negotiations, the only realistic option for ending the war in this multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.

What troubles me most is the lack of information we have. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says we still don’t have proof who launched the gas attack on Aug. 21, and one of the sources John Kerry and John McCain relied on, a so-called expert named Elizabeth O’Bagy who wrote a decisive piece in the Wall Street Journal about the rebel groups, turned out to be a notorious liar. Our media hardly reports news like that. Why do I have to read this in the British press?

The Brits also report more about the rebels’ atrocities. The newest this week was the shoot down by Turkish forces of a Syrian helicopter whose pilot was turned over to the rebels and decapitated immediately. The Daily Mail showed the video on its web site. Whereas Kerry assures us that only a minority among the rebels are jihadists, the well-informed Jane’s Report has a much different number. More than half the rebels are jihadists and only a miniscule are pro-Western secularists. Why is that? Well, the Saudis and Qataris follow an Islamist agenda and won’t provide weapons and money to anyone other than jihadists, and they definitely will outspend the U.S. with its prospective $250 million contribution.

Because of these facts, I think politicians like Congressman Alan Grayson and Senator Rand Paul are right: don’t get involved in this ugly civil war.

And by the way, I still didn’t get an answer from Congressman Patrick Murphy on this topic.

Guenter Langer, Royal Palm Beach


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