Now that the election is over, something should be done about the very sticky situation in Syria. It would be in the best interests of America if we helped Syrians fire their leader.
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria thinks he’s really good at his job. That’s why in 2011 when the massive protests of the “Arab Spring” spread to Syria he got very upset.
Protesters have been tortured, raped and killed by the thousands. Reuters reported that, according
to activists in the area, at least 30,000 people on both sides have died. So, if you’re planning on vacationing abroad in the next year I suggest you visit Syria. I can see it now — the burning vista, the five-star Red Cross relief rations and the mortar shells bursting in the air like fireworks.
Al-Assad really knows how to attract the tourists. He’s been playing down the rebellion since the beginning. So far, the U.S. and other countries have implemented sanctions on Syria to get the government to stop the fighting, because that always works, right?
Armed factions have risen inside Syria, which has basically turned protests for democratic reforms into an actual civil war. Some of these groups would probably start a nice democracy if they won.
Others would probably create a government similar to Iran and just as brutal as al-Assad’s current regime. The U.S. is trying to give the former groups weapons and support, but it’s nothing like in Libya.
Just throwing guns in the conflict means anybody can get ahold of them. What we really should do is get with NATO and destroy the military equipment of al-Assad’s military. We would have regional support: Turkey and Lebanon, Syria’s neighbors, are extremely perturbed. Syria has attacked the Turkish border and assassinated a top Lebanese security official.
The authoritarian regime of Iran would also be weakened if their ally al-Assad was removed from power. The major problems with doing this aren’t with our capabilities. In Libya, NATO forces (including the U.S.) demolished much of Muammar Gaddafi’s artillery, air force and other large targets. The rebels then independently overthrew him. No U.S. troops were involved on the ground.
There are still plenty of potential problems. The Libyan opposition was more unified than the rebels in Syria. The groups continue to splinter off and a major concern is that the majority Sunni Muslim population will abuse the Alawite Shi’a and Christian populations. The ruling regime is Alawite.
This is what happened in Iraq. The U.S. dismantled the Iraqi army and government, allowing Shi’a and Sunni militias to butcher each other and the civilian population. That is why indigenous rebels must take down Bashar al-Assad. A strong transitional government would have an easier time bringing people together.
If we don’t want a brutal dictator in Syria or their society to be engulfed in ethnic conflict, we should aid the moderate groups. Otherwise the conflict will continue on and on, maybe for years, producing a hotbed for regional instability and terrorism. I understand why some folks are against intervention, but it is not wrong to take action to stop mass slaughter.