Both Daniel Pipes and Richard Pipes (no relation) remain the most significant intellectuals on Marxism and Islamism; I’ve always loved the intimate informed tone that animates the writings of Dr. Daniel Pipes, who resides as Chair of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. His strong admonishment for the west, particularly America to say out of Syria was well reasoned, but in my view short sighted. Although time has moved on and with it the contours of this conflict, but it has become clear that Russia, China and numerous others are digging in to protect and expand their interests.
Who has the interests of the Syrian people!?
My first reading of Dr. Daniel Pipes’ admonishment against an active policy throughout the Levant revealed a strong distinct voice acknowledging that Syrian involvement would mean urban terrorist combat, something only the Marine Corps can handle. The Army leadership is sufficient, but it remains the expeditionary mindset of the Marines that could lead an onslaught throughout Damascus. At the time, I thought Dr. Daniel Pipes correct, but as time wore on, I had misgivings born of failed strategic thinking. It is my view that the United States could hit Syria quickly enveloping Persia, cutting off Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah while sending a strong message to Persian benefactors.
It turns out that realists like Leon Panetta (CIA), General Martin Dempsey (Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff), Dr. David Petraeus all believed likewise.
Even Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, the Director and President of the Truman National Security Project had it right: engagement has unintended consequences, but putting your hands on the scales of war can bring advantageous fortune. Arming the Syrian Free Army, shutting down Iranian influence throughout the Levant and hitting Syria with lethal weaponry will envelop Iran and with it, its nuclear ambitions.
None of this will happen.
We should note that Presidents do covertly what they cannot or will not achieve politically. This is the rubric not lost on Teheran, Beijing or Damascus.
Without going big and public, exposing the pariah that Assad has become, we’ve forfeited any advantage.
This White House should know that Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon all hang in the balance. A rising Shia Crescent isn’t the problem, but a sectarian cauldron destabilizing an entire region is in the mix if our man in D.C. can’t figure out how to gain traction on the western fringe of an Iranian outpost.