Earlier this year we were bombarded with a series of news stories claiming that the Syrian people had been gassed by Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. In the last few months, both David Cameron and Barack Obama swore that they would help the Syrian people and that military action was the way to do this. One week ago, Cameron put the idea to Parliament only to have it shop down and Obama is currently being forced to consult the senate on his proposal. Naturally this is an issue that fiercly divides many people and, like many people, I’ve decided to share my views.
The thing you need to understand about Syria is that it isn’t nearly as clear cut as many people seem to think. It’s not a simple case of a tyrannical government against a group of plucky underdogs. The rebels are formed from many separate groups including some who have strong links with Muslim extremism and Al-Qaeda.
Pictured: The plucky underdog
Because of such an obvious extremist presence within the rebel forces, many people in the international community have decided that while Assad is a tyrant who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of his own people, he poses little threat to America, Britain or the West in general. The same can not be said for the rebels. This, however, leads to a pretty obvious question. Why are we talking about involving ourselves in an attempt to benefit the people who have murdered thousands of innocent people? As to this I am not sure. My best guess is that Obama and Cameron have decided to ‘discuss peace’ with Al-Quaeda due to difficulties fighting them in the field. Being essentially Geurilla fighters they are difficult to stamp out as well as the fact that their ideology has a tendancy to stick. Because of this it may be that Obama feels that, by siding with the rebels and helping to remove Assad, he can gain some favour with Al-Qaeda for the West. Even if this was true, it wouldn’t work. Firstly, Obama will be seen as the arrogant Westerner interfering in things that do not concern him and secondly, religious extremists who are quite willing to kill themselves in the name of God are not going to re-consider their entire stance of the West because they helped them topple a dictator, it is foolishness to think otherwise.
I find it very interesting to think that even today Britain and America still feel the need to interfere in the business of other countries. It has been said time and time again that Assad poses no real threat to America or Briatain and that, while he may pose a threat to Israel, an ally of Britain and America, this is speculation. There is no threat posed to America or Britain and therefore military action is unnecessary. There are worries that this could turn into another Iraq, if Obama does chose to try to instal a democratic government then it will not be easy and it will not be completed within a set frame of time. These things have an annoying tendancy to drag on for years. Another point that has been raised is whether the special relationship will be strained by Britain’s non-involvement. The answer to this is no although I imagine the phone call made by Obama to Cameron after the Parlimentary debate was more than slightly awkward; Cameron certainly seemed annoyed by the rejection of his proposal.
‘Bring me Nick, I need to hit something’
It also begs the question as to whether it matters how many people are against action in Syria? Most people seem to be against it and yet Cameron and Obama both seem to be pushing ahead regardless. Perhaps they truly do think military intervention is the best course of action for their countries, regardless of what 80% of people are saying.
On a more international diplomatic front, any military action in Syria would be illegal. The UN have not mentioned anything about supporting any action and it seems more than likely that they consider a diplomatic solution to be the most fitting, mainly because it is. There is absolutely no reason to intervene with military action in Syria. Not only will toppling the Assad government ultimately aid Al-Qaeda but the idea that this chemical attack was performed by Assad’s government is disputed and even if it was performed by Assad, there is little threat posed to the West. We have no right or reason to intervene with military action in Syria. We need to sort this out as an international community through the UN.