Syria’s government has come under diplomatic assault today as the United States and the United Nations have taken decisive actions against the regime.
“I [Barack Obama] strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir al Zour, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime. These violations of the universal rights of the Syrian people have revealed to Syria,the regions, and the world the Assad government’s flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people.”– President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
Along with the UN statement of “crimes against humanity”, nations around the world have banded together to condemn, internationally, the repulsive actions within the borders of Syria. Former allies, such as Turkey and Russia have also stepped up their rhetoric against Syria. Turkey is waiting for regional consensus to determine whether further action must be taken, which may even go so far as military action, hinted at in the statement: “If these operation [military killings] do not stop, there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken”. The delay in further action is an intelligent political move due to Turkey’s cultural diversity which would come into conflict with action taken by Kurds in Syria and Iran. (Read more at: Syria: The Power Keg)
Joining Turkey in the list of nations against Bashar al-Assad are both Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have both issued statement against the “killing machine” and have called for UN humanitarian missions to enter Syria’s borders. King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia has demanded that al-Assad accept at least some of the demands of Syrians calling for an end to his decade old dictatorship. The determination of the King was displayed by the recalling of Saudi’s ambassador from Damascus, which was mimicked by both Bahrain and Kuwait. Although military intervention has been declared unfeasible by the US, the deceleration by the Saudi’s may come as welcome support to Turkey and its potential plans for future intervention. As a country that holds a strong grudge against al-Assad for his role in the assistance of the Hezbollah, a Shia militia terror group, Saudi Arabia has long eyed Syria and Iran with distrust and aggression.
Nevertheless, the cultural tensions alone would provide endless problems in the region for any countries considering military action. As mentioned in “Syria: The Powder Keg“, the Kurd issue between Iran, Syria and Turkey could lead to an internal division in Turkey, a country that would most likely be leading the foreign nations, militarily, into and against al-Assad and Iran. Furthermore, with the Shabiha terror groups present, indiscriminately killing Sunni’s in an Alawite and Sunni war, the conflict would intensify into chronic mass killings and destruction of the region. With the inclusion of aid from Iran, home to the Shia terror group Hezbollah, the cultural disparity of so many countries present within the tight constraint of Syria’s borders would lead to a full out catastrophe (worst case scenario, considering countries are attempting to avoid military conflict).
“The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community.” – President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
To focus on more plausible circumstances, the international community has taken a step up in indirect but direct actions against Bashar al-Assad. Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order issuing the immediate freeze of all assets of the al-Assad government which are subject to US jurisdiction and also prohibits US persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria. The Executive Order also bans US imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products. This is an interesting order considering these sanction will put the US at odds with Iran as well, and with such oil-rich nations against the US, oil prices will increase…once again (Saudi Arabia will not argue as it will increase their exports to US and EU).
Along with the new sanctions, the pressure by the international community has gone so far as a referral to the International Criminal Court. With reports coming in of Syria’s “shoot-on-sight”policy, the news from Syria have only become more desperate and grievous, escalating humanitarian efforts and ICC actions. With tanks, snipers, killing squads, and artillery; the Syrian people, civilian and rebels alike, have been targeted by the merciless military. Moreover, if the killing were not enough, the regime has attempted to slander all reports by lying any and all global media assets. A few week ago, Bashar al-Assad promised multi-party elections which were followed up by the brutal crackdown in Hama, killing 200 people, and artillery strikes in Lakatia. Circumstances only grow worse as reports have come in that killing squads have repeatedly gone into hospitals killing any injured demonstrators, a clear violation of human rights. In conjunction, al-Assad’s regime stated on 8/17 that there would be a halt to military operation, which has been true to the extent that the military has not been as cruel as usual. Only 4 people have been reported killed and only a few hundred have been arrested in Hama and Lakatia. Clearly, steps have been taken by al-Assad to demonstrate the rainbows and sunshine enshrined throughout Syria.
“Widespread modus operandi to kill civilians by using a) forces on the ground, b) snipers on rooftops and c) air power … consistent with an apparent shoot-to-kill policy” – Navi Pillar, UN Human Rights Commissioner
On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council is to hold a special session on Syria which has been requested by 24 members of council, including the European Union, Washington and all 4 Arab members – Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Although many officials have acknowledged that the move is not likely to have any immediate impact on the Syrian regime’s behavior, the officials have said it would send a powerful signal that Assad is no longer welcomed in the international community. Also, they noted that the additional sanctions will further boost pressure on Assad and his inner circle. Evidence of this is supplied by al-Assad reportedly agreeing to receive UN humanitarian missions within access to different sites in Syria. Though this may not accomplish anything beyond confirming the gruesome reports of death, torture, and chaos; it does illustrate a “thaw” to some extent of Syria’s strict policies. Moreover, Bashar al-Assad has also enumerated the reforms he will undertake in the next few months, how true this may be is debatable but the only choice now is take everything at face value.
So saying, the international community has seen the presence falsification of countries such as Libya. After multiple statements by the West against Qaddafi, the regime promised repeatedly of reforms and some going so far as stating Qaddafi’s withdrawal of power, but clearly none of this has come true as the rebels are only now encircling Tripoli with direct military intervention by the West. Therefore,Syria should be undertaken with similar steps as Libya. For once, military intervention by the West is nigh impossible because of geopolitical conditions throughout that region, age-old cultural grudges, and the mere fact that hose people within those territories, more likely than not, have had enough of Western intervention. Clearly, the situation in Syria is more tricky than that of Libya and yet, harsher steps will be needed. If none of the sanctions, humanitarian missions, and potential ICC cases do not yield any progress or success; interventions should come from countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Military assets, medical assistance, and financial aid should be given, indirectly, by the West; which should be the extent to their intervention.