Getting Syria Right

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Barry Rubin charges that Senator John McCain and, by extension, America is engaging with the wrong group in the Syrian uprising, namely the Islamist-dominated National Opposition Council:

It is vital to understand that Syria is different from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. A revolutionary Islamist regime is not inevitable. There are plenty of moderates and those non-Muslims or non-Arabs loyal first and foremost to their own community (Druze, Christians, Kurds, tribes, and even potentially Alawites) who don't want Islamism. That's why this disaster is avoidable and all the more strategic sin on the Obama Administration for making an unnecessary catastrophe more likely.

In historical terms, it would be as if the Western powers helped create and back a Communist-dominated opposition council in pre-revolutionary Russia even though the Bolsheviks weren't in the majority.

If the U.S. is turning its attention to Syria now with plenty of heavy lifting to do elsewhere (see: everywhere), let's hope it's with the right partners and soon. For perspective, Blake Hounshell adds via the Twitter machine:

Consider this: Syrians are dying at a rate faster than U.S. troops in Iraq at the peak of the war. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/11/getting-syria-right/247521/