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Syria was intolerable long before ISIS existed. It was so intolerable that brainwashed Syrian schoolchildren like me -- Christians, Muslims, and all other faiths -- have grown up to free their minds and sacrifice their lives by the thousands for a free Syria. The international community ignored our cries. Now that the Islamic State is in the picture, the world is paying attention to Syria again. As the world fights the radical presence of ISIS, they must keep in mind that Assad and the Islamic State are two sides of the same coin. They are both brutal, bloodthirsty murderers. If we destroy ISIS now, another ISIS will quickly emerge. I believe that the only way to destroy ISIS is to destroy Assad too.
Obama's "small footprint" action will, even if authorized by Congress, likely produce no advantageous consequence vis-à-vis American interests in Syria, but could illicit all of the bad consequences that are inevitably associated with acts of war. As the sports types say, he should go big or stay home.
The Assad regime continues to kill indiscriminately in a desperate effort to regain control. The merciless army it has deployed to wipe out dissent is destroying entire rebel-held towns. The horrifying chemical weapons attacks it most likely carried out on innocent civilians may be only a terrible prelude to more massacres.
The international community has not only failed to live up to its responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes but its very inaction has encouraged escalating criminality by the Assad regime. With the crossing of the red line on chemical weapons use refocusing international attention on Syria, we risk losing credibility -- and more Syrians risk losing their lives -- should we not start now taking meaningful action to protect civilians in Syria. To that end, it is critically important that any intervention adhere to the requirements of international law.
Syria today is Afghanistan circa 1998. We don't need a crystal ball to see how it will end up if left to its own fate. If, or rather when this war explodes and threatens the regional balance of power, the West will recalculate its current standing of staying on the sidelines.
I have been writing for over a year now of the need to affirm and implement the Responsibility to Protect doctrine to help save Syrian civilians being massacred by the Assad regime. Everything that was predicted would happen in Syria as a result of international action has in fact resulted, but from international inaction. It is now as timely as it is necessary to increase pressure on Assad, and those loyal to him.
Pragmatically, there is no need for outside intervention when it comes to Syria. Yes, a lot of people are being killed, but perhaps more would be killed if outside forces were used to despose Assad. And unlike conventional war, a revolution is a personal thing for those involved. When outsiders participate, the dynamics change. And revolutions never turn out the way those who lead them expect, or even intend.
Now that the UN has finally acknowledged that Syria is in a "full blown civil war," it's even more reason why we of the Western alliance should stay out of it. Harsh as it may seem, intervention would be a mistake. If we (meaning Western democracies) entered the fray, it'll be war by proxy and wouldn't curb bloodshed, but spread it.
We now see every week the crumbling of foreign policy of the United States. The War on Terror was not without mistakes, but the War on Drugs has been a disaster in every respect. Only 20 years ago, the U.S. bestrode the world, the only super power, strong by any measurement. Today it is quavering, waffling, semi-bankrupt, lurching from one mistaken and often hypocritical policy to the next.
Let's cut to the chase. NATO partners do not want to enter another war to overthrow another Arab dictator where the end-game is not clear. The West is cash-strapped and has Arab Spring fatigue. Let's start an overt and sincere effort to arm the Syrian rebels, and stop the niceties in face of this building massacre.