Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Six of the Many, Many Ways That Bombing Syria is a Horrible Idea

1. What the Rebels Will Do If They Win

"Most militias are drawn from the poorer, rural districts of Syria. Most wealth is concentrated in the city centers that remain integral (such as Damascus, Lattakia, Tartus, Baniyas, Hama, etc.), which have survived largely unscathed in this conflict... If the militias take these cities, there will be widespread looting and lawlessness which will threaten many more civilians who have managed to escape the worst until now. It would be preferable to avoid a Somalia-like scenario in the remaining cities and provinces.  The potential for ethnic cleansing and revenge killings is high."

- Professor Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma

2. What the Rebels WON'T Do If They Win

"The opposition is incapable of providing government services.  Millions of Syrians still depend on the government for their livelihoods, basic services, and infrastructure. Destroying these state services with no capacity to replace them would plunge ever larger numbers of Syrians into even darker circumstances and increase the outflow of refugees beyond its already high level. Syria can get worse."

- Professor Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma

3. What the Regime Will Do If We Bomb

"Military interventions in favor of the rebel faction (as opposed to pro-government or neutral interventions) tend to increase government killings of civilians by about 40%."

- Erica Chenoweth, citing a 2012 study of military interventions from 1989 to 2005 by Reed Wood, Jason Kathman, and Stephen Gent.  Hat/tip Matt Yglesias.

4. Cost/Benefit Analysis

"Should the United States government drop a bunch of high-powered explosives in order to kill and maim a bunch of Syrian individuals while destroying some of Syria's physical infrastructure in order to help other Syrian individuals? ...If the United States was able to spend the $1.1 billion we spent on the Libya operation on long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets we could have saved almost 590,000 lives from almost certain destruction. ...That's something to think about."

- Matt Yglesias, Slate

5.  And Generally Speaking...

"Civil wars with outside involvement typically last longer, cause more fatalities, and are more difficult to resolve through negotiation."

- Cambridge Journal of International Organization, October 2011 (cited here)

6. This Was True Even Before We Got All Snippy With Egypt for Overthrowing an Islamist Government:

"For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites [or secularists]. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East."

- Robert Fisk, The Independent

In Short:

There's still time.  Make your voice heard!

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