Sunday, June 9, 2013

Long Island Muslim Leaders Focus on Youth After Boston. By Bart Jones.

LI Muslim leaders focus on youth after Boston. By Bart Jones. Newsday, June 8, 2013.

The Internship: Not the Movie. By Thomas L. Friedman.

The Internship: Not the Movie. By Thomas L. Friedman. New York Times, June 8, 2013.

How to Get a Job. By Thomas L. Friedman. NJBR, May 30, 2013.

The Muslim Civil War. By Bret Stephens.

Islamist fighters carry their flag during the funeral of their fellow fighter Tareq Naser, who died during clashes on Sunday, near the village of Fafeen in Aleppo’s countryside September 17, 2012.

The Muslim Civil War. By Bret Stephens. Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2013.

When Sunni and Shiite Extremists Make War: A Response to Bret Stephens. By Daniel Pipes., June 5, 2013. Also at National Review Online.

Muslim Civil Wars Stem from a Crisis of Civilization. By David P. Goldman. PJ Media, June 5, 2013.


If we had a Syrian elite dedicated to modernization, free markets, and opportunity, we could have an economic recovery in Syria. But the country is locked into suppurating backwardness precisely because the dominant culture holds back individual initiative and enterprise. The longstanding hatreds among Sunnis and Shi’ites, and Kurds and Druze and Arabs, turn into a fight to the death as the ground shrinks beneath them. The pre-modern culture demands proofs of group loyalty in the form of atrocities which bind the combatants to an all-or-nothing outcome. The Sunni rebels appear quite as enthusiastic in their perpetration of atrocities as does the disgusting Assad government.

What are we supposed to do in the face of such horrors? I am against putting American boots on the ground. As I wrote in the cited May 20 essay, “Westerners cannot deal with this kind of warfare. The United States does not have and cannot train soldiers capable of intervening in the Syrian civil war. Short of raising a foreign legion on the French colonial model, America should keep its military personnel at a distance from a war fought with the instruments of horror.”

The most urgent thing to do, in my judgment, is to eliminate the malignant influence of Iran, which is treating Syria like a satrapy and sending tens of thousands of fighters as well as material aid to the Assad regime. Attacking Iran would widen the conflict, but ultimately make it controllable. No sane American should want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. As Admiral James Stavridis told the New York Times today,  “If you can move 10 tons of cocaine into the U.S. in a small, semi-submersible vessel, how hard do you think it would be to move a weapon of mass destruction?”

Ultimately, partition of Syria (and other Middle Eastern countries) on the model of the former Yugoslavia probably will be the outcome of the crisis. There are lots of things to keep diplomats busy for the next generation. But the terrible fact remains that it is not in our power to prevent the decline of a civilization embracing over a billion people, and to prevent some aspects of that decline from turning ugly beyond description. Among the many things we might do, there is one thing we must do: limit the damage to ourselves and our allies.

Message from the Ruins of Qusair. By Charles Krauthammer. National Review Online, June 6, 2013. Also at the Washington Post.

Syrian Civil War. By Andrew C. McCarthy. National Review Online, June 5, 2013.

Losing the Middle East. By Thomas Donnelly. The Weekly Standard, June 17, 2013.

A Syrian Girl in a Ruined House. Video. Mohmad Rad, April 7, 2012. YouTube. Also here.