Syria – Back in the Spotlight

I’m distinctly aware of the fact that in the previous two articles I spelled the name of the Egyptian President in two different fashions. Morsi or Mursi, I apologise, but until the the global news media can figure out which they prefer or is correct, I see no means by which I could. Hopefully the distinction is minimal but then certainly my name is spelled Rory and Rury would be rather odd, so I suspect not. Alas, there are bigger issues at hand.

Having briefly discussed the situation in Egypt it would seem remiss not give Syria another update. I’ve clearly promoted the idea that these two countries are more realistic prospects in the pursuit of Middle-Eastern stability and the current events could go either way for each nation despite the rational courses of action being quite obvious. For Egypt it is the internal pursuit of compromise in order to return to political norms but for Syria it is entirely different. With talk of chemical weapons being bandied around such luminaries as William Hague and the actually sedate Hillary Clinton, the situation has reached yet another level.

In my opinion, the time for aggressive intervention against Assad was sometime between his brutal suppression of peaceful protest against his rule and his escalation to militarily hunting and killing his own people. There were other points between then and now that should have served as adequate cassus belli, such as use of the air force from simply ground forces (tanks weren’t doing the trick) and the outbreak of full civil war, or indeed the establishment and growing international recognition of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, otherwise known as a substantive and organised body that warrants material aid.

There were reasons in my mind not to intervene some 18 months ago, in the immediate aftermath or even coinciding with the Arab Spring and the successful action taken in Libya. Syria is a bigger, wealthier country with more serious allies, a more serious military and, if you’re of the cynical variety, no oil. It could have been a much longer and more bloody international conflict than Libya, during which the people would still have suffered and inevitably as it all went slightly wrong the West would be carefully assessing its own insatiable freedom-lust. It would have been much more like another Iraq.

The gloves are off now though. Assad and his regime have perpetrated more than enough atrocity and dragged the country into such a state of terrible conflict and deprivation that his removal is as non-negotiable as the day the vast majority of his people decided they wanted him gone. That other nations must intervene is with a mind to quickly bringing an end to a war that is doing vastly disproportionate damage to the civilian populations and infrastructures. Whatever humanitarian arguments existed once in defence of non-interventionism are now redundant as the humanitarian situation could not be conceivably worse, short of the use of chemical weapons, and intervention is now surely itself humanitarian.

The Syrian government would not be considering the use of it’s WMDs unless in a desperate situation and it could be said it is. The NCSROF has started to receive monetary and military support and is kicking the conflict out of stalemate. Despite support from Iran, Assad is gradually losing. I would be happy to see a clinical and swift destruction of weakened Syrian military assets by Western forces, as has been proved possible in Libya, followed by intense redevelopment of the nation organised by internal bodies but supported by those same forces that joined intervention.

Assad’s fate seems practically sealed. The faster the rest of world takes serious action now, the faster this conflict will be done and with less death and misery than letting it run its inevitable course. Syria on the cusp of a new and brighter future is to me the whole region in the same position.

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