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Syria: just when you thought it couldn't get worse

The Syrian regime is famous for their 97% approval rating, 29-year occupation of neighboring Lebanon, and brutal crackdowns, such as beating down cartoonists. Other than being a corrupt and brutal dictatorship (like half the countries on the planet), and being an ally of Iran (our enemies) and enemy of Israel (our allies), so far I'm not seeing that much to hate about the Syrian regime.

The rebels are a mostly bearded IED-wielding assortment. Some elements of the rebel forces are linked to al-Qaeda. A rebel commander filmed a video where he eats organs from a dead regime soldier. I've always supported the middle east peoples' aspirations for legitimate government and self-determination, but widespread violence is not a reliable path to these goals, and I have to say so far I'm not liking what I'm hearing about the rebels.

As of last week, the situation was a bloody stalemate, which is the usual outcome in an ethnically linked conflict.

This week, somebody launched rockets containing a chemical agent into several rebel neighborhoods, killing hundreds of people, mostly women and children. The regime has huge stockpiles of chemical weapons at their well-defended military bases; rebels are not known to have any chemical weapons. Still, the regime is allowing UN inspectors into the sites.

Next week, will Bush-style "cruise missile nation building" really make the situation any better? Will Obama exercise his own apparently dicatorial power to wage war against the regime without the agreement of congress, the UN, or the American people?

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September 2013

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