Saturday, August 31, 2013

Damascus Falls Again

As the Colonel pens this missive, we are minutes away from an announcement from H regarding the next step in his administration's feckless plan (the Colonel apologizes for diminishing the terms "feckless" and "plan") for influencing the "Arab World."

His projected "shot across the bow" will do little more than give ammunition and excuse to those who live and accumulate power by the promotion of hatred of the West, in general, and the United States, in particular. 

Even if the coming missile strikes were somehow to shift the battlefield balance in favor of the Syrian rebels -- an amorphous accumulation of anti-western and anti-secular forces -- the resulting fall of Damascus will do no more for regional stability and Western interests than when that critical capital fell to Lawrence and his Arab legion ninety-five years ago.

Young British army officer, T. E. Lawrence, assigned as liaison with the Arab forces loosely cooperating with the British against the Turks -- allied with Germany in the War [that didn't] End all Wars -- went "native", as they say, and filled a leadership vacuum among the disparate Arab clans and tribes seeking independence from Turkish rule.  Lawrence united them with promises he couldn't, and his superiors wouldn't, keep, and led them in a series of improbable victories against the Turks which served to rally the Arabs in their drive to capture the most important capital in the Arab world at the time -- Damascus.

Ever the dreamer, Lawrence thought that particular and spectacular victory would be sufficient to cause the Arabs to cease their millenia-long internecine squabbling and unite in such a way that Britain would have no choice but to grant pan-Arab independence and autonomy. 

Neither the Arabs, nor the British shared his dream.  The Arabs failed to unite and the British acted as they had always acted in their Imperial history to that point.

Damascus and the Arab world went from Turkish domination to British domination.  The current Arab political boundaries -- and the resultant incessant turmoil -- are, for the most part, the creation of British politicians possessing not the first clue of Arab culture and history. 

The fall of Damascus this Fall will have the same result -- except Iran will dominate the region this time around.       
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