Assad, Syria and Sarin

sarinThere is no doubt in many people’s minds that the deadly nerve gas, Sarin, was used on innocent civilians in Syria. I don’t think there is a thinking person, on this planet, that doesn’t condemn this action as horrific, as insane, as inhuman.

Right, well – the world is in agreement that this was wrong, inexcusable, and unacceptable. Except for Putin, of course; he refuses to believe Sarin was used, regardless of evidence. Dictators need to stick together.

For a look at what Sarin is and what it does:
Pretty terrifying stuff. In fact, as a chemical weapon, it is outlawed as per the 1925 Geneva Protocol and in 1997, the Geneva Protocol was replaced by the Chemical Weapons Convention, which demanded that chemical weapons be destroyed. 188 state parties signed the document, except for North Korea and … surprise, surprise, Syria.

Read more:

So, now what? Do U.N. security troops march in? Should the U.S. take unilateral action, and march on in? Toss a few bombs, deploy some ground troops? Syria is a sovereign nation and this is not something that would do the global view of the United States, any good at all. Besides, they are spread thin in other sovereign nations as it is.

The Western world does not understand the Middle East. Let’s be honest. We know what we hear, what we read in the media. Few of us understand the history, the culture and definitely don’t understand the politics but damn, if we don’t have an opinion.

Here’s what I assume to be true based on the information available to me; Assad is a dictator from a line of dictators. There’s no democracy as we understand it to be, in Syria. Actually, there isn’t much democracy going on in the Middle East at all. Assad is just one of the club members.

There is a group, in Syria, who don’t like Assad and want him gone. Assad’s family line were not elected – they arrived via a coup d’état in 1963. This Assad’s dad – Hafez el-Assad was not adverse to using force to repress opposition either. It seems to be a family trait. The group forming an anti-Assad coalition is pretty diverse and complicated. On the chance that they manage to de-throne Assad? The ensuing chaos may well be worse than what is happening now, as hard as that is to believe. Here’s a link that can show you what I mean:

It could prove to be Afghanistan all over again; what if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, should Assad be ousted? Fundamentalist Islamists in power. We know how that works for human rights, particularly women’s rights. For the Syrian people, this would be out of one frying pan and into another. Neither pan concerned with freedom.

So, what does the West do? Stand back and watch as families are wiped out by nerve gas? Sadly watch the flickering images of ancient cities get blown to bits, along with their inhabitants? Innocent people, simply trying to survive?

And those are the questions facing Western democracies, facing the United Nations – what to do? I know I have no clue. The people of Syria have no clue. I don’t think the Obama administration knows what to do either. Putin? Well, we all know what he would advocate; suppression, violence and slap a little more nerve gas on ’em, if they won’t shut up.

Do we turn away? Allow Syria to sort out its one internal strife? Send medical aid and food but keep out of their politics? Or march on in there and try to clean up a mess that has been festering for decades? Giving Middle Eastern militants just another reason to hate the West, just another justification for a bombing, an attack, an assassination?

Makes you glad that you aren’t a politician around now, doesn’t it?

Our hearts go out to the people of Syria but a solution is not ours to find, not yet anyway.


Filed under Whatnot

2 responses to “Assad, Syria and Sarin

  1. I clicked on this thinking it was a news article and then realized, no, I am reading my friend’s blog. One of the best summaries of the issues of Syria I have read. Excellent. I have no idea what the answer is for Syria either. I really don’t. But it hurts the heart.

  2. There is no answer. None. There is a solution, but it’s completely unprecedented, and that is to claim the territory for the UN, so they act as foster parents, remove the government AND the rebels, weed out any even more maverick troublemakers (good luck) and sort of start over. The UN was not set up to do that, and its member never agree on anything, and they wouldn’t agree on that. The people of Syria would resent it, and it could set a worrying precedent which could lead to ….let’s not even go there. As always, it’s all been left too late. This could have prevented 20 years ago, but now? All you could do, in all seriousness is evacuate the bloody place, i.e. get the decent people out, and leave the rest of them to kill each other off.

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