Syria: The Ruined Battleground

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By Bismellah Alizada

In the continuation of the Arab Spring Movement—a public uprising against tyranny and absolute rule in the Arab World—Syrians, too, rose against the authoritarian regime of Assad, in March 2011. The Syrians’ demand for civil rights, freedom, and contribution to political power, from the very beginning, faced harsh suppressive reactions from the fear-stricken regime. In order to remain in power, Assad’s administration took extremely suppressive measures against the protestors as a result of which “more than two million Syrians are now refugees” (1) and “more than 100,000 people are thought to have died.” (2) Cities are destroyed, economic infrastructures and public services are ruined and defenseless women and children have been killed, displaced or deprived of their basic rights which is a full-scale humanitarian disaster that has shocked the international community. There is even a serious concern on “a ‘lost generation’ of child refugees ill-equipped to help rebuild Syria in the future.”(3)

The calamity, however, has not remained in the limits of Syria. The conflict has grown from a merely civil war to a conflict whose regional and international dimensions are thought as serious common threats to be confronted through a collective international action. The fear has grown into a serious rhetoric after it was proved that the regime has used chemical weapons against civilians (its own people). On the other hand, peace-making tries by UN-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and the subsequent one by Kofi Annan failed; thus, any diplomatic means to restore peace to Syria seems to be currently off the table. Attacking Syria is apparently the inevitable option on the table now. Obama said: “We don’t want the world to be paralyzed. Our nation has an “obligation as a leader in the world” to hold rogue regimes to account for breaching the rules of war.”(4) Assad’s government has obviously neglected its obligations as a country committed in global peace. Use of chemical weapon and other war crimes are impudent violation of international law and international conventions. In order to maintain global peace, every state is duty-bound to observe rules of ‘international law’ that else would endanger global peace. Once so, there is a collective responsibility to take action against the common threat. Based on the aforementioned reasons, U.S. and its allies feel an obligation to attack in order to save regional and global peace, a slogan that per se is subject to serious questions.

Contradictorily, Syria is the conflicting point of interests for major players in the Middle East and also the world. Israel, Turkey and Iran will inexorably get involved in the issue of Syria. China and Russia as countries who will veto the UN authorization of military invasion for the U.S. will also be dragged to the battle field because China is Syria’s largest trade partner and Russia is its largest military partner and apparently its only weaponry contractor. China’s exports to Syria, for instance in 2011, was $2.4 billion. (5) Such positioning recalls the polarization of the world in the time of the cold war.

Considering all the above, the military invasion is still subject to severe and of course thoughtful controversies. Evaluating all defensive measures that will be practiced by Syria, does military invasion seem a logical option that can be concluded as a victory? And, would invasion be a means for making peace or expanding war? Attacking Syria—armed by Russia and Iran—will have serious Backlashes both by Syria and countries who share interests in the region. Wail Nader, Syrian prime minister has talked of “maximum readiness”(6) of the Syrian Army to “confront all challenges”. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has “warned the United States against conducting airstrikes against Syria.” (7) Besides, Russia and Turkey won’t be passive in such a scenario neither would the Israel especially when Iran takes overt or covert actions. In addition to the puzzling military confrontations, the Syrian Electronic Army—a group of hackers backed by Assad regime—can be a serious cyber threat that can create paralyzing cyber insecurity. They have recently successfully targeted C.N.N. and New York Times and some European media organizations according to “CNN.com.” (8) There is also a strong likelihood that Syria resort to retaliatory proxy wars in the region in collusion with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas (and very likely al-Qaeda); what turns the invasion to a long-run guerrilla warfare in which no side can really claim victory.

Moreover, military action against Syria can be an opportunity for Iran and Saudi Arabia who are seeking chances to win over the opponent in the big rivalry for the leadership of the Muslim World. In such a scenario, interferences of Saudi backed al-Qaeda will be strongly predictable. These interferences can add to the complexity of Syrian war and will undoubtedly drag it towards a chronic cataclysm in the Middle East.

Furthermore, Invasion and long stay in region can toughen the anti-Americanism—a term used by anti-American features and al-Qaeda who concludes such intrusions as neo-colonialism led by U.S. This, in turn, can instigate the al-Qaeda led radical Islamists to outpour terrorist actions against U.S. and the West in wider range than Central Asia, Middle East and North and East Africa. Especially in the wake of 2014 when U.S. and its allies pull out their troops from Afghanistan a surge in al-Qaeda’s terrorist activities will turn the withdrawal to a completely infamous defeat that would help them carry out their extremist activities with even high morale.

Altogether, attacking Syria has nebulous and meanwhile question-arising ends. In case the military invasion fails to meet its peaceful ends by back strikes from Russian-Iranian backed Syrian Army as a result of which the war on tyranny turns to a guerilla war with no clear end, would Syria turn to another Iraq? Or Libya? A well-reasoned logical answer to this question is as undistinguishable as is that of the end of military invasion.

1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23937972

2 Ibid

3 Ibid

4 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/30/kerry-says-clear-evidence-chemical-weapons-used-in-syria-as-intelligence/

5 http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-wn-china-syria-20130829,0,4025128.story

6 http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/01/world/meast/syria-weapons-capability

7 http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-wn-china-syria-20130829,0,4025128.story

8 http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/01/world/meast/syria-weapons-capability

Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

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One response to “Syria: The Ruined Battleground

  1. Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, put and oppressive heel down on Syrian protesters demand for civil rights, freedom, and contribution to political power ignited by the Arab spring. However, he placed his heel down a little too firmly, and killed over 100,000 people, and used chemical weapons outlawed by the geneva convention. The U.S demanded that Syria be punished, and a missile strike was considered, however, Iran, China, and Russia (Syria’s Allies) would surely retaliate. In fact, the Chinese government “warned the United States against conducting airstrikes against Syria.” So ultimately, this massive crime was allowed to slip through the cracks. I feel that the use of chemical weapons being a full-scale humanitarian disaster, needs to be punished and Assad needs to be held accountable. Every single country on Earth has a right to punish Syria for this violation of human rights, therefore, that is what should happen.

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