Lakhdar Brahimi, a United Nations special envoy to Syria as selected by both the Arab League of nations and the United Nations on a special address to the two groups noted that Syria could be “transformed into hell”. The events in Syria are illustrations that these claims could become true given the high number of casualties, especially on civilians. Media reports indicate that a large number of civilians are in danger that is posed by both armed groups and government allied forces. Both factions have orchestrated in the past months crimes that amount to crimes against humanity such as rape and murder of unarmed civilians.
The recent emergence of a an Islamist terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is a predominant Sunni jihadist faction in both Iraq and Syria could worsen the conflict in both countries. The group seeks to establish a caliphate that extends into both Iraq and Syria while at the same time unleashing terror on innocent minorities. The group was formed after the recent withdrawal of the United States troops from Iraq with an aim of gaining control by fighting the local forces and their allies (Jost 108). The instability in Syria drew the attention of the ISIS as they sought to include the country into the group’s ambitions to extend the establishment of a caliphate into the rest of the Muslim countries.
Estimates from the war indicate that there have been deaths of between 100,000 to more than 150,000 individuals as at March 2014 with more than 9million individuals having been displaced by the violence. The use of chemical weapons, barrel bombings in civilian inhabited areas, widespread rape by the two factions, mass executions, mutilations and torture could result in what analysts term as an extensive genocide. In addition, reports indicate that current and updated information is not forthcoming because of the dangers posed to international journalists in the country (Mota 33).
The intervention of the united states in the Syrian civil war could likely result in a similar manner to the war in Iraq that brought about the birth of ISIS which emanates from anti-western and pro-Islamism ideologies. There is a significant level of resentment against western governments in the Middle East, with reference to countries that have right-winged governments such as Iran and Syria. Systemic tortures of political prisoners, starvation of pro-rebel communities by cutting off links to aid and supplies, and other crimes against humanity as orchestrated by the Assad’s supporters will likely see the number of individuals under torture escalate (Jost 111).
The arming of rebel groups by the United States and the Al Assad regime by Russia and Iran could extend the severity of the situation in Syria and increase the number of civilians who are likely to die because of the clashes between the two warring factions. There are views that the United States intervention is a neo-imperialist form of aid that will facilitate advancement of the hegemony of the US rather than provide solutions for the oppressed parties. In addition, activities for interventions should be limited towards humanitarian efforts rather than active military engagement. This restricts and ensures that America’s involvement does not inflame the anti-western or American sentiments that are evident in a majority of Arab or Muslim countries in the Middle East.
The instability of Syria is an illustration of the fight for democracy given that Al Assad’s regime was formed through succession from his father. Thus, the rebels have been engaging the regime with an aim of ensuring that there is formation of an all-inclusive government and thus achieving their respective goals for secularization and social justice in Syria. In addition, the unrest in the Arab world has differing perspectives given the presence of armed terror groups such as Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas that have been seeking to establish Islamic caliphates through global jihad against what they term as secularization of their countries. On the other hand, the Free Syrian Army is driven by the need to achieve social justice as opposed to other terror groups in the Middle East (Jost 121).
The involvement of the United States in a military capacity could provide short-term solutions by providing stability to the people through safety and humanitarian aid. However, if the United States were to withdraw its military force, the void left would be replaced by similar sectarian groups such as the ISIS, which has been responsible for the deaths of a large number of Shiite Muslims and Christians in the Middle East. The Al Qaeda gained ground in the Middle East by capitalizing on the anti-western sentiments given that it used Islamic teachings as a ground to launch global jihad against the “non-believers” or kafirs.
Intervention into the Middle East crisis as highlighted by Syria’s situation should be enhanced by developing an international force that should be tasked with disarming the rival factions, enhancing supply of humanitarian aid and facilitating transition to form a government that is inclusive of the warring factions in both Iraq and Syria. Thus, the United States should ensure that it desists from engaging itself in a military capacity in Syria, as this would inflame anti-western sentiments resulting in a full-blown conflict that may include other terror groups drawn from different parts of the Middle East (Jost 118).
The unrest in the Middle East in Jordan, Syria and other select countries stems from the Arab spring that started out in Tunisia in 2010 amidst calls for social change. However, arming rebels groups or government forces by western or eastern powers does not provide solutions towards the crises witnessed in the Middle East. This only seeks to inflame the anti-western sentiments that have been evident in majority of countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
Mota, Trent P. The Syria Problem. New York: Novinka, 2013. Print.
Jost, Kenneth. “Unrest in the Arab World.” CQ Researcher 23.5 (2013): 105-132. Print.
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