Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Fear of Violence Spreading from Syria and Outside Intervention

The Syria conflict goes much further than a Syrian rebellion group attempting to over throw an oppressive unpopular regime. The rebel group is made up of different factions each with different backings in the local and international community. Also the government and its supporters have a complex network of allies both near the region and far away. This web that blankets the conflict makes any sort of international intervention that much harder to act upon. This conflict also poses a fear to the region that the violence in Syria could spread to it neighbors, especially Lebanon and Jordan. Not unlike other conflicts in this area throughout history, religion is playing a big part in who supports whom. The Assad regime comes from a small sect of Islam that is radical but can associate with Shia’s, where as the rebels are mostly made up of Sunni’s. The fear that religious allegiances will transcend borders in the region is a big concern. An example of this has been Hezbollah leaders, mostly Shia, stating that they would aid the Assad regime militarily if necessary and already hinting that they have had Hezbollah fighters operating against the rebels. Hezbollah is based in Lebanon, making the public of Lebanon fear a spillover of violence. Millions of Syrians have been displaced by the violence and have fled to neighboring Jordan and Turkey causing problems in these countries. This has been exemplified in recent violence at the Turkish border when a large group of Syrians attempted to cross illegally. This resulted in a firefight were several border guards were injured and one killed.

The potential for the spread of violence and the recent suspicions of the use of chemical weapons has heightened urgency from some sort of outside intervention. President Obama has been vocal in support of aid to the rebels but there has been little real help. The US did come to the side of ally Turkey, a fellow NATO member, in providing Patriot missiles to protect their southern border but beyond this, there has not been any physical help. Britain and France too seem as though they want to help the rebels but have yet to make any substantial moves. Actions from a powerful outside country, especially a western one, will have far reacting implications and rippling effects in the region. As this conflict continues to develop it will be interesting to see what actions are taken by the US and others. The US will have to navigate the situation very carefully in order to gain an effective result, which in the US’s eyes will be a fall of the Assad regime with a take over of a coalition party and eventually democracy. This will be incredibly difficult in Syria.

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  1. Even though I agree with you saying it will be difficult to create stability and democracy in Syria, I don't understand why you say the United States or any western country should get involved with the mess in Syria. Western countries are powerful but we are not the world police, more fellow MENA countries should be offering helpful and positive support for Syria since they are not only closer in location but have similar ideologies. I believe the problem that occurs when the United States get involved with middle eastern countries is that since our two culture clash and have some animosity that any help me give wont be taken seriously or appreciated and therefore we will be hurting ourselves by wasting our time and resources. I think one of the stable MENA countries or stabilized countries from the Arab spring should step in an offer more support and help because Syria will more likely take after the example of a country that has the same culture that suffer the same downfall and was able to recover.

  2. It will most definitely be interesting to see if the United States chooses to intervene. The question is; does the expected use of chemical weapons by Assad, require the U.S. to intervene? I am not so sure it does, but that does not mean that the United States will not choose some form of intervention, for example drone strikes. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently said that we need more information before we make a decision. It is important to recognize that America is a country who is extremely used to fighting wars. Since the beginning of the 20th century we have basically been at war. WW1, WW2, Vietnam,Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Iraq twice, Afghanistan etc. With two wars winding down, does the U.S. have any interest of continuing the norm and getting involved with yet another war?