Mailvox: “we’re waiting for ISIS”

Shimshon asks about the Middle East:

i think i mentioned before. i heard word from someone who knows. the region north and west of amman, and all along the syrian border is thick with refugees. have you seen some of the pics? there’s around 600k i think. around 10% of the native population. my understanding is that king hussein is pretty terrified of the powderkeg in his midst.

Powderkeg barely begins to describe it. The refugee situation is even worse than that. I had lunch with a Lebanese Christian last week, who was visiting while on vacation. Apparently there are over a million refugees there now. I asked what the Maronites were doing and he said “we are waiting for ISIS.”

That sounded rather fatalistic, so I asked him if they would fight or if they would simply submit like the Assyrians and the Yazidi did. He smiled and said “We have always had to fight to stay alive. The difference is, this time many of those we used to fight against will be fighting with us.” It’s perhaps worth remembering that they were winning the Lebanese civil war when Syria entered and forced a settlement.

What the US and Israel should do is materially support Assad and the Alawites, the Jordanians, and the Lebanese Christians without getting involved in the fighting, and at the same time, clean house at home. Instead, they appear to be playing the same stupid game they did in Afghanistan, where they create a weaponized puppet who rapidly grows beyond their control. Too many parties appear to be too caught up in their historical concerns, such as the Turks with the Kurds, or their grand strategic vision, such as the Israelis with Iran, to focus on the actual danger at hand.

Sure, the Islamic State is no danger to Israel or the USA now, so they think they can use it to settle old scores. But just as the anti-Soviet mujahideen eventually transformed into the Taliban, Daesh is in the process of developing into a more serious and formidable force.

The Iran agreement, and the fact that Turkey, Israel, and the USA are all cooperating to hit Daesh in Syria may indicate that they’re finally beginning to rethink their previous perspectives. The one thing that is certain is that Syria is far less dangerous with Assad in control than Daesh.