It is also a damned tragedy that western nations, no matter the level of perceived seething injustice and vitriol against Al-Assad’s regime, can do jack-shit about what is unfolding on the ground in the country.
Also, given the scale of the chaos on the ground does anyone even know who is to blame for the recent and well-publicized chemical attack nearby Damascus? Do our politicians know? Does the United Nations know? Heck, does Bashar Al-Assad even know?
No, nobody knows for sure.
And that is why, amongst many other reasons which I shall delve into here, western military intervention into this conflict would be a complete and utter catastrophe that would put the likes of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Egypt to shame. Fox News, Sky News, and even the BBC at times have been beating the war drum for the better half of a year now without first assessing the facts and looking at this from a different perspective.
The first reason is one that I only just alluded to above: Nobody knows for sure what is going on in Syria, nobody knows who is attacking who with what. Our governments are playing a dangerous blame game here, a game where instead of pointing fingers they are pointing cruise missiles and bombers at a regime and a country shrouded in the fog-of-war. It also seems extremely implausible that Bashar Al-Assad, who’s army has scored victory after victory against the Rebels, would choose to escalate a conflict on his own turf by adding chemical weapons to mix especially when the United Nations decides to drop by. Al-Assad might be the devil to some and I personally would say that he is not winning any peace prizes anytime soon but I seriously doubt he is insane enough to invoke the ire of the international community even more than he already has.
Desperation is a trait found in the losing side, remember that.
Am I accusing the Syrian Rebels of purposefully attacking their own supporters and innocent Syrian civilians just to get the sympathy of the international community and hopefully bring in the western powers to fight a war they now have absolutely no chance of winning on their own? Yes, I am. When I first heard Al-Assad saying that his army was locked in a battle against a terrorist insurgency fueled by Al-Queda I admit that I was skeptical like many others. Labeling any enemy a ‘terrorist’ has worked wonders for America over the past decade but it still felt odd hearing a non-western regime throw that buzz-word label around. However, as the war has dragged on and more information about the state of the Rebel army has come to light I find myself unwittingly siding with Al-Assad’s views. The makeup of the Rebels is suspect to say the least and I would implore anyone who buys the stories of gallant freedom fighters fighting against a tyrannical madman like Gaddafi to take a step back and look again.
You might now be wondering how on earth a rag-tag, two-bit, unorganized Rebel army could have gotten access to chemical weapons. You would also be forgiven for assuming that they pilfered said weapons from Al-Assad’s own stockpile. This is where I risk straying away from pragmatic analysis and towards conspiracy theorem but… does anyone believe that some of the dictatorships or forceful governments of the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, wouldn’t give the Syrian rebels some of their own chemical weapons? Especially if the aim of these regimes was to remove Al-Assad from power for and instigate a regime change on behalf of the west? Does anyone believe that the Syrian Rebel army, whose questionable actions can be found on YouTube wouldn’t use them for the exact same reason?
This is a quagmire the west does not want to step into.
Then there is the issue of the paralysis afflicting the United Nations which some may argue has lead to this conflict getting out of hand in the first place. Do not be fooled even for a moment by our western media outlets that the Russians and the Chinese have a vested interest in Al-Assad’s Syria and that they have vetoed every single resolution against his regime out of spite and/or personal gain. Russia and China have historically stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the United Nations and in this case their stance is completely understandable if not completely justified. It is true that Russia has a highly valued Mediterranean port to the west of Damascus, the port of Tartus. It is also true that this port is also used by the Chinese to facilitate trade and mobility in the region. However, it is not true that keeping western interests away from Tartus is the main reason these two nations have adamantly stood against western aggression towards Al-Assad. The problem the west and by an extension NATO now faces is that through a series of calamitous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now in Egypt – invasions and uprisings they have instigated and propped up – they have burnt their entire hand of ‘regime change’ cards. Put bluntly, Russia and China no longer trust the west to not only instigate a peaceful regime change but to show some responsibility on the world stage and clean up afterwards.
In order to truly understand why the Russians and the Chinese are doing what they are doing at the United Nations one must step into their shoes. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt… all of these regime changes (some still ongoing) have destabilized the Middle East, the region right on Russia and China’s front doorstep. Worse still, the mess caused in the region has been both instigated and neglected by western powers and NATO. Imagine if there was suddenly a spree of uprising in South America and/or Latin America. Now imagine if each of these uprisings was supported and propped up by the Russians and the Chinese. How do you think America would react?
If these regime changes had gone off without much hassle I can assure you that we would not be having this discussion right now, Russia and China would have either stood aside or helped on the ground in Syria themselves. The harsh reality is that the west completely botched their campaigns in the Middle East and are now paying the price. The west is all-too-happy to mess around with Middle Eastern despots and regimes… they dare not cross the Russians and the Chinese though, that is a completely different ballgame… one they are not willing to play.
Up until this point President Obama’s stance on the Syrian conflict has been admirable. Obama, in a stark contrast to his predecessor, has taken the time to assess the situation and hold back on rushing into another conflict. Fox News might lambast Obama for being ‘weak’ but if every leader in world history caved into that sort of pressure and was as stupid and ignorant as George W. Bush then the world would be nothing these days but a floating puddle of slag.
Sadly, despite all I have said here I fear that western intervention in Syria is inevitable. What I hope however is that when UN/NATO forces arrive on the ground they take the time to see what is really happening in the country and not jump to conclusions.