Rich Galen

First of all, here's everything I know about SEALs (which is an acronym for SEa, Air, and Land)

I once watched a series called BUDS on one of the 372 Discovery cable channels. It followed a group of recruits to the SEALS program - they're called BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) while they're in training - through the 26 or so weeks of the program.

At one point late in the series when the ranks had been thinned by about two-thirds though resignation or injury, one of the instructors said: "We have to watch them very closely from here on out. The ones who have made it this far will die before they quit."

Those are the guys who made their way to Abbottobad on Sunday. They would have died before they quit.

Think about that the next time you complain about your in-box having become intolerable.

Second, why isn't Libya spelled Lybia if Syria isn't spelled Sirya?

See how I unnecessarily complicate my life? Also; why I'm not invited to very many parties?

Now, back to our regular programming.

The big news in North Africa is not that we haven't heard anything else about whether or not an attack on Muammar Gaddafi's family compound killed any of his family; it isn't that even if it were true, that the silence from the rest of the Muslim world was deafening; it is that Gaddafi's last, if tacit, ally has called for him to step aside.

According to the BBC, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for Gaddafi to leave "for the sake of the country's future."

Erdogan has moved Turkey farther into the Muslim world than any leader since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk westernized Turkey after its independence from Great Britain in the 1920's.

It is one thing for an American or French President, a British Prime Minister, or a German Chancellor to call for Gaddafi to leave. It is something else again for the vocally Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey to insist he has to go.

Gaddafi is probably down to his final days - maybe down to his final hours. It is not likely that another SEAL team is training to take out Gaddafi, but he doesn't know that for sure. If I were advising the Gaddafi family I would be urging them to learn to pronounce and spell V.E.N.E.Z.U.E.L.A.

Meanwhile over in Syria, there were reports that the Assad regime was conducting house-to-house searches to arrest people unfriendly to the government. According to the Associated Press more than 1,000 people have been arrested which, the AP quotes a rights activist in Syria "have transformed Syria into a large prison."

U.S. State Department spokesman, Mark Toner said, "The humanitarian situation there is quite grave. These are quite frankly barbaric measures. And they amount to the collective punishment of innocent civilians."

Yet … no NATO, no UN, no … nothin'.

Why? Because Syria has long been the loading dock for Iran's exports for support of terrorism especially in support of Lebanese extremists.

It's one thing for the United Nations to puff itself up and allow military action against Gaddafi's Libya. He's become isolated.

It is something else again to risk drawing Iran into a shooting war in support of Syria which shares borders with the aforementioned Turkey, as well as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel.

Even for those, like me, who read the Cliff Notes version of 1984, we know that if you are Iran the best way to keep your own population at bay (in addition to tanks) is to get into a war either against a common enemy or to defend a long-time ally.

Beginning a Libya-like offensive against Syria would, at a minimum, give the government of Iran a reason to mobilize against the Western "crusaders" and, at a maximum, launch an all-out attack against Israel on the grounds the Mossad is behind the Syrian unrest -which would be believed by about 137 percent of the Arabs and Persians in the region.

All that is to say, let's don't get drawn into esoteric arguments about Muslim burial techniques while losing focus on the bigger issues which still confront the world in the Middle East and North Africa.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Navy SEALS page, the BBC, the AP, and a map of the Middle East just to refresh your memory.

Also an interesting Mullfoto and a fascinating Catchy Caption of the Day.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.