Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Ghosts of Gadaffi and Milošević Haunt Syria

I think I’ll keep on the Syria topic for another day just for an observation that bubbled up again after yesterday’s post; why Assad isn’t going anywhere.

There is a strange amnesia coming from the internationalist nomenklatura as to why Assad has held on so long, why the war has gone on so long, and how steadfast the Syrians are to keep moving towards eliminating the last Islamists holdouts in their territory.

Assad is no fool - he’s an ophthalmologist after all - and from day-1, there was zero reason for him to do anything but go for the win in his civil war.

All he had to do is look to his northwest and southwest to see examples where the internationalist West was not to be trusted when they called for peace or negotiation short of total victory.

First, there is what happened to the former head of the former Yugoslavia when the West's benighted "Smartest-People-In-The-Room" convinced him that it was in his best interest to agree to peace.

As the former Yugoslavia consumed itself, some version of peace was reached via the Dayton Peace Agreement.

There they are, signing the agreement.

Slobodan Milošević (third from left), Alija Izetbegović (fourth from left), and Franjo Tudjman (sixth from left) initialing the Dayton Accords at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, outside Dayton, Ohio, November 21, 1995.
What did Milošević for his efforts?
On 11 March 2006, former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević died in his prison cell of a heart attack, while being tried for war crimes at the ICTY in The Hague...
Less than a decade after Dayton with the Iraqi invasion still in the shock phase, another strong man decided he wanted to no longer be on the bad side of the West. What did he do?
On December 19, 2003, long-time Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi stunned much of the world by renouncing Tripoli’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcoming international inspectors to verify that Tripoli would follow through on its commitment.

Following Gaddafi’s announcement, inspectors from the United States, United Kingdom, and international organizations worked to dismantle Libya’s chemical and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its longest-range ballistic missiles. Washington also took steps toward normalizing its bilateral relations with Tripoli, which had essentially been cut off in 1981.

Libya’s decision has since been characterized as a model for other states suspected of developing WMD in noncompliance with their international obligations to follow. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker stated May 2, 2005 during the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that Libya’s choice “demonstrates that, in a world of strong nonproliferation norms, it is never too late to make the decision to become a fully compliant NPT state,” noting that Tripoli’s decision has been “amply rewarded.”
And what did Gadaffi get for his efforts?
...a jerky three minutes and more shot by fighter Ali Algadi on his iPhone and acquired by a website, the Global Post – that describes those moments in the most detail. A dazed and confused Gaddafi is led from the drain where he was captured, bleeding heavily from a deep wound on the left side of his head, from his arm, and, apparently, from other injuries to his neck and torso, staining his tunic red with blood. He is next seen on the ground, surrounded by men with weapons shouting “God is great” and firing in the air, before being lifted on to a pickup truck as men around him shout that the ruler for more than four decades should be “kept alive”.

There are other clips that complete much of the story: Gaddafi slumped on a pickup truck, face smeared with blood, apparently unconscious; Gaddafi shirtless and bloody on the ground surrounded by a mob; Gaddafi dead in the back of an ambulance. What is not there is the moment of his death – and how it happened – amid claims that he was killed by fighters with a shot to the head or stomach. By Friday, the day after he died, the body of the former dictator once so feared by his Libyan opponents was facing a final indignity – being stored on the floor of a room-sized freezer in Misrata usually used by restaurants and shops to keep perishable goods.

When the usual suspects wonder why people like Assad hold on so long, they should perhaps ask themselves what they and their friends at Davos and Munich have messaged to the bad players in the world over the last couple of decades or so.

Trust is a hard currency. 

A bunch of smug people looking for scalps and headlines have spent their currency and then some - and then wonder why no one is interested in doing business with them.

Gadaffi of Milošević in their time knew that even Idi Amin was left in peace to die of old age in Saudi Arabia.

What does Assad see? 

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