Learn from Mistakes but Delay Could be Fatal for Syria

The Syrian crisis has reached its zenith, the resolution of which will have a major bearing on the future of the Middle East. With the US and its allies convinced of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons and Russia (Bashar al-Assad’s most important partner) denying the allegations and warning against military intervention, the world awaits developments with bated breath.

In many respects, the precarious scenario is not too dissimilar to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The world waited anxiously for a strike, as the Soviet Union stood beside its Caribbean ally in the face of American mite.

Whilst the prospect of nuclear holocaust remains absent in Syria, the potential for an American-led intervention leading to direct confrontation with Russian troops cannot be totally discounted. How far are the Russians prepared to go to protect their preeminent supporters on the Mediterranean?

Russian support for Assad prevents a unanimous UN resolution on intervention
Russian support for Assad prevents a unanimous UN resolution on intervention

For the Americans, whose government effectively promised military intervention in the event of Assad using chemical weapons, how long can they delay their strike?

Iraq naturally resides fresh in the memories of America and its allies, particularly Great Britain. Falsified and poorly-checked information led to an illegal invasion, effective in its military objectives yet woefully prepared in terms of the rebuilding and reconstruction of the strife-ridden country.

The findings of UN inspectors adds credibility to the allegations against Assad
The findings of UN inspectors adds credibility to the allegations against Assad

It is therefore reassuring to see that the Americans have been more cautious and better-informed over Syria, working side-by-side with the UN. However, the time has now come to intervene militarily. America’s status as the world’s protector rests on a successful overthrow of the brutal Assad regime and a carefully-managed transfer of power to a coalition of political partners.

This is naturally easier said than done. It is blasé, almost callous, to advocate sending people to their deaths from a computer desk. Unfortunately, the time has come when further procrastination will lead to a serious deterioration in the security of the Middle East, an increase in terrorism in opposition to Assad’s actions and a growing refugee crisis.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon: the mass movement of displaced peoples from Syria puts extra strains on host countries
Syrian refugees in Lebanon: the mass movement of displaced peoples from Syria puts extra strains on host countries

Assad, despite his army’s successes in the past few months, continues to show that he has no inhibitions when it comes to warfare. It was previously assumed that he would only sanction the use of chemical weapons in the event that his government was on the verge of collapse.

That this has not proved to be the case is testament to his lack of morality and his determination to preserve his power base at whatever cost.

Diplomacy and economic support, though well-intentioned, have failed. Decisive action is required to prevent the total descent of Syria into anarchy and the spread of violence to neighbouring states across the region.

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Author: Stefan Lang

An interested observer of current affairs, researcher and writer

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