Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Syria: The implications of heightened violence and mass exodus

On January 30th Israel engaged in an air strike upon Syrian soil, targeting what was claimed to be a convoy of carrying advanced weaponry. It is believed these arms were intended for the Israeli opposition group, Hezbollah. This aggression points to the diffusion effect in the Middle East as a result from the Syrian conflict. While Syria and Israel have long been in a state of war they have maintained years of peace along their armistice line. As violence within Syria has escalated, it has resulted in masses of fleeing refuges, projected to number at one million people today.

This current situation in Syria is something the whole world should be concerned with due to the catastrophic nature of the problem and the interconnected nature of this conflict to the surrounding NEMA region. “Regional stability is at stake(Guterres)”.  If aid and intervention are not further pursued situations such as Jordan’s economic unrest, the age old Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the strait of Hormuz may all spark off due to neighboring Syria’s civil conflict (Guterres). Refugees continue to strain Turkish and Jordanian resources, exemplifying the spill over costs that Syria’s neighbors must endure. The weapons convoy was targeted under the assumption that if the Syrian revolution topples Assad, Hezbollah will at least have these destructive resources(Barnard, Rudoren), a reason for alarm for the U.S. and Israel
This wave of violence and the potential for a more widespread conflict can be explained by the diffusion effect, in which both external and internal factors have lead to it becoming a priority interest for many states, such as Israel as demonstrated by their recent air attacks. Grievance has caused the internal population to demand reform due to political repression and economic inequalities within Syria, the timing as a result of the Arab Spring and western support for Libya.
            This has become a difficult issue for policy makers due to the rebels lack of a central and unified command, the rebels lack of a conventional military, and the rebels ineffectiveness at capturing major cities. The lack of a unified and cohesive rebel body detracts from their legitimacy thus rendering outside political, and military aid confused and useless. In order for the outside community to provide effective solutions, outside sanctions will need to be implemented, similar to those used in Libya. In order to overcome preference falsification rebels will need to become more centralized and  unified in order to offer specific recommendations for the situation as well as provide informative and accurate situational updates. 

Barnard, Anne, and Jodi Rudoren. "Syria Says It Has Right to Counterattack Israel." New York Times 31 Jan 2013, n. pag. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. <>.

Kershner, Isabel, and Michael R. Gordon. "Israeli Airstrike in Syria Targets Arms Convoy, U.S. Says." New York Times 30 Jan 2013, n. pag. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. <>.

Guterres, Antonio. "One Million Syrian Refugees." New York Times 05 Mar 2013, n. pag. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. <>.


  1. Looking back at this attack shows how weak the Assad state in Syria truly is. The fact that Syria was unable to respond to being bombed just goes to show that they are at full war with the Rebels. I think that this shows enough weakness to justify military action against Assad. I think that Israel alone could go in and at least take out Assad. Israel is famous for very elaborate assassinations; I think that they could potentially assassinate Assad which would greatly help the opposition. I do not see international politics being too bad for Israel. They can justify the use of force due to the “spill-over” of Syrian refugees in their country, and they would surly have the backing of the West. Also, they could use this as a proxy war against Iran.

  2. The mass diffusion of Syrian refugees to neighboring countries could put even more pressure on the unstable nations that surround Syria. The entire MENA region has been shaken in some way by the Arab Spring and mass fleeing of citizens from one nation to another will continue to play a role in the instability of these nations as many are already stretched to their limits of what the newly established regimes can provide to angry citizens. Syria, with its many borders, will ultimately have a major effect on its neighbors and how their Arab Springs will play out.