Syria is a country in turmoil. With the clashes increasing in intensity, and the casualties growing by the day, the country is moving closer to a civil war, with the very real possibility of the unrest spreading further throughout the Middle East; a region divided along sectarian lines. Hezbollah Secretary-General, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, has even accused certain countries of sending fighters into Syria and claimed that the reasons for a lack of US involvement relate to an attempt to spark racial and tribal confrontations in the country, in effect backing a war they have no intentions of fighting themselves.
With Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, bombarding the city of Homs daily, the UN appears to have no power other than its ability to count the dead and, with a UN resolution condemning Assad falling to a veto headed by Russia and China, diplomatic opinion over Syria is divided. With the body count rising, most agree that action of some sort must be taken, however the US seems reluctant to venture beyond condemning the current regime.
The argument goes: the US has no direct interest in Syria; charity starts at home. With her own economy on the brink of recovery, America does not need another war. No doubt, there were certain individuals rubbing their hands at one point, excited at the prospect of invading another Middle Eastern country; unfortunately for them, Syria has little oil. If there is no financial interest for the US, what about the moral obligation to defend a people and their democratic, and in indeed human, rights?
The U.N. endorses the ‘responsibility to protect’; after all, this was the true reason Iraq was invaded, wasn’t it? Likewise, this was the reason Lybia was liberated from Gadaffi, was it not? Then what separates Bashar from Gadaffi? What makes the situation in Syria different from those in Lybia and Iraq?
Whilst Gadaffi was happy to announce his murderous intentions to the world, the Syrian president has been slightly more subtle in his approach, if you can call large scale slaughter subtle. With Lybia, the US and NATO had no moral choice other than to intervene in order to dispose of a regime with little international backing. In Syria, we have a government backed by the likes of Russia and Iran; an untimely invasion, or even overt support of offensive action could result in the return of relations reminiscent of the cold war; not to mention invading the ‘heart’ of the Middle East could add yet more fuel to the fire of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and with the differences of opinion between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made all too clear recently, a stepped up approach from the US regarding the matter is perhaps an unwise choice.