Viewpoint: Syrian strike–Is military force required?

By on September 10, 2013
ForumOpinion

Undoubtedly, using chemical weapons on civilians is a terrible thing to do, but would a military strike on Syria stop the horrors and restore peace?

Of course, such a reprehensible act deserves some sort of sanction, but military action will only add to the turmoil and destabilize the region.

Unlike the premise of Star Wars, the situation in Syria is not a black-and-white battle between right and wrong.

There is no evil Palpatine in Syria oppressing and destroying the country, and nor is there a single band of valiant rebels seeking to return peace to the region.

Though the Assad regime is undoubtedly a dictatorship that has suppressed uprisings with an iron fist, it was also able to keep the nation in a state of relative stability and peace.

The opposition, unlike the rebels of “Star Wars,” is fragmented and fighting for different reasons.

The Free Syrian Army comes closest to the rebels of Star Wars, fighting for a peaceful, tolerant, and democratic government.

Islamists, on the other hand, want to establish a theocracy in place of the Assad regime. The most dangerous of all are the Jihadists.

Well-trained and well-armed by Al-Qaeda, they hope to use Syria as a springboard for a global jihad.

A military intervention would no doubt give the rebels an upper hand in the struggle. But who in the mish-mash of rebels would come out on top?

Unfortunately, it would be the Islamists and the Jihadists. The Free Syrian Army suffers from a lack of coherent organization.

Many individual fighters desert it for the better organized and ideologically stronger Islamist groups.

If a jihadist group comes out on top, it would not stop at taking control of Syria. The conflict would spread southwards into Israel and the entire Middle East.

However, it could be argued that military intervention in Syria is also about sending a message to other countries. The US response will not only affect Syria, but also send a message to these countries.

Case in point? North Korea.

An idle response in Syria would tell Kim Jong Un that the US would not react to a provocation on his part either.

Is that really the case, though?

A provocation from North Korea would be much different than what is happening in Syria.

Whereas the motivation to intervene in Syria as a response to gas attacks is upholding international law and a moral imperative, a provocation from North Korea would be directly in the face of US national security, prompting a much quicker and decisive response.

Tianjio Zhang
Contributor
tzhang@uab.edu

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