If Syrian Refugees Are the New Jews, Who Are the New Nazis?

Last summer, the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof declared that “Anne Frank today is like a Syrian girl.” Such comparisons have become quite commonplace over the past week. But, wonders Lee Smith, if, according to this analogy, Syrians civilians are like Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and Donald Trump is like Franklin D. Roosevelt (whose government turned away many Jews fleeing Europe), then who are the Nazis?

Sunni Muslims have been the target of a campaign of sectarian cleansing and slaughter since the earliest days of the nearly six-year-long Syrian conflict. [They] make up the preponderance of those seeking refuge the world over, from Turkey and Lebanon to Europe and North America. At first the Sunnis were fleeing the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, but Assad has become a relatively insignificant factor in the war. In this scenario, Assad is rather like Mussolini, a dictator in charge of incompetent and dwindling forces incapable of holding ground. . . . Hence, Assad needed to mobilize his allies, especially his regime’s chief protector, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran sent in its crack troops, the Quds Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ expeditionary unit led by Qassem Soleimani. Also at Iran’s disposal was a large number of regional organizations, ranging from the elite Lebanese militia Hizballah to less prestigious fighting outfits. . . . It was these groups, later joined by Russia, that hunted Sunni Arabs like animals and slaughtered them, or sent them running for their lives. These are the Nazis [in the present analogy].

It is terrible that Syrian refugees are suffering. It is wrong that the Trump administration has cruelly shut America’s doors on children who have known nothing during their short lives except running from the jaws of a machine of death. But America’s shame is much, much worse than that. For in securing his chief foreign-policy initiative, Barack Obama made billions of dollars and American diplomatic and military cover available to Iran, which has used both to wage a [ruthless] war against Syria’s Sunni Arab population.

Not only have we failed so far to protect “today’s Jews” by stopping today’s Nazis, the 44th president of the United States assisted the latter in their campaign of mass murder. That’s why, when people liken Syrian refugees to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, no one dares to complete the analogy and identify Iran as today’s Nazis. America’s shame is worse than anything that the protesters at airports imagine.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Donald Trump, Holocaust, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Refugees, Syrian civil war


How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen