A Northern Nigerian Prediction about Syria, Validated

In late 2011, in Kano, I was talking about Syria’s crisis with a friend of mine. “Soon America will bomb them,” he said. At the time, I thought his prediction was wrong. But his tone – which conveyed his sense that the bombing was inevitable – stayed with me. Time has proven him right, and me wrong.

I am not a pollster and I cannot say how a billion Muslims feel about anything. But I think my friend is not alone. I think that many Muslims, and not just Arab Muslims, look at American military actions in the Middle East as habitual, predatory, and destructive. My friend also said that “men with long beards” would eventually rule Libya, and that the U.S. had not understood this when it intervened there. We’ll see if he is right about that as well, and we’ll see what unintended consequences stem from American strikes in Syria.

5 thoughts on “A Northern Nigerian Prediction about Syria, Validated

  1. I don’t know how reliable Wesley Clark is considered these days, but he basically named Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran as “seven countries” that Rumsfeld said he intended to “take out” in his (Clark’s) book and various interviews back around 2007 — maybe your friend’s comment was a distant echo of Clark? — predictions and prophecies are a special interest of mine…

    Ref: http://www.salon.com/2007/10/12/wesley_clark/

    • It’s far more likely that it’s simply that those nations are more likely to both do something the U.S. can’t stomach and that those nations will be hostile to the U.S. when they do it. I’d take note of the fact that of those named, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran have not seen major U.S. interventions even though Sudan has openly helped groups commit genocide, Somalia nearly came under the total control of the U.I.C. (and later Al-Shabaab) and Iran has developing a nuclear capacity.

      In other words I find it extremely unlikely that this is the doing of a disgraced politician.

  2. I really don’t think so. There wasn’t any major push for the U.S. to launch strikes as the rebels’ fortunes dwindled like there was in Libya. It wasn’t until reports of chemical weapons used in Ghouta that it seemed likely that the U.S. would launch any strikes on Syria.

    I don’t know who gave the order (though I don’t think the rebels would be competent enough) but had they not done it then it would be entirely possible (and in my opinion probable) that war would have remained Middle Eastern only.

  3. Who did it? I just read an opinion from Alain Chouet, the ex-French spy and most knowledgeable person on muslim brothers and Syria. From that reading, I do not think Bachar did it. I am not a fan of Bachar and his friends. He should follow the fate of Kadafi, but this time let’s be careful. You remember the mess in Northern Mali?

    See below its opinion about the whole Syria mess. Dated September 2012.

  4. Alex,

    I could have told you that for free – everyone, except Americans knows that US reacts in predictable ways to crises in the Muslim World. So his prediction was spot on.

    A more important issue is the simple fact that US hasn’t gotten over its post Cold War hangover. The World has changed, but the US hasn’t. Person to person diplomacy is more, not less important today. Understanding the mood of publics around the World is key.

    While the US diplomatic establishment doesn’t reflect this reality, even more funding flows to the US Military – so military solutions get the attention of the American people more readily than diplomatic solutions (US was never serious about a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis).

    About the “men in long beards” in Libya – you can also take that to the bank. Libya is no Egypt or Tunisia with a strong secular establishment – so where else are the sources of power going to come from when everything settles down eventually?

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