Red and Starry Eyed | Issue 7

Intervention in Syria

For more than a year now Syria has spiralled into an Arab-Spring massacre. The UN reports that over 9000 people have died in the conflict. These deaths are not all the consequence of President Assadís hard-hand though. Despite the spin we are receiving, Syria is bound up in an increasingly bloody civil war, with the number of deaths on the rise. The Assad regime reportedly kills anyone with two legs, and gets bonus points for a pram.

Intervention could easily lead to another Somalia, or a Libyan faux pas. Assad currently holds on to power with the support of minority Islam sect the Allawites, Syrian Christians and Shiía. If the West supports the rebels, itís likely the minority groups will suffer a backlash that has been on the books for 40 years.

Moreover we should ask what the real reasons are. First off, why havenít we intervened before? Assad was once seen as a reformist ruler with a British education, and heralded as an example for the Middle East. His government has never had wide support from other Arab states, other than Lebanon and at times Egypt. Assadís real support comes from Iran, the USís latest pet peeve. Getting rid of Assad would weaken Iran, and thus strengthen Israel.

However the political chessboard must be played correctly. If the UN goes in, and by UN I mean the US, there is the danger that Syria will become another Vietnam, or that Syrians will unite against the US. The Middle East has always been able to see through the USís imperialist policies.

A real alternative to intervention would be boycotts and economic sanctions against the ruling elite, or any government that supports them. Russia and China Ė known for their human rights abuses Ė have supported Assad in the past, with reports that Assadís forces have received an $80million boost from oil sales to China.

If the UN actually wanted to stop the bloodshed, it would prohibit trade. It would also do all it can to give aid to those most in need, amongst them many Palestinian refugees.

The UN does not see the Middle East as a worthwhile region. If it wasnít for its oil it wouldnít be on the map, much like Africa isnít. Instead of worsening the situation by intervening, we should make sure Assad is actually sanctioned by the international community.

Red and Starry Eyed
This article first appeared in Issue 7, 2012.
Posted 3:53pm Sunday 15th April 2012 by Red and Starry Eyed.