Reports of the Syrian government forces killing more than 400 people since mid-March with hundreds missing, 1700+ protesters being detained over the past week and cutting off telephone lines and water/electricity supplies to the general area conjoining with Bashar al-Assad’s tanks and machine gunned armed Syrian security forces entering the city of Dara’a in attempt to quell the protesters has sparked a concern from many human rights activists.
It is important to note that there has been massive fighting in Syria with Bashar al-Assad imposing violence on his people ever since Libya started rioting a couple months ago. This type of violence is nothing new to the Syrian People.
Which leads me to the question- If we were to pick a human rights violation and looking to help Israel and her people; why would we not engage war with Syria who borders Israel? Wouldnt that be in our best interest?
Apparently, 4 European countries think so as France, Britain, Germany and Portugal have circulated a draft media statement to the Security Council that would strongly condemn the violence against peaceful demonstrators. Although sanctions were not specifically mentioned.
Lebanon, the only Arab member of the council, has very strong ties to Syria and diplomats said it is likely to oppose a council statement as may Russia, also a friend of Syria.
Good ol’ undecided China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong said “we want to get engaged with everybody and try to find a solution and to push for a political solution.”
Turkey, Iraq and Jordan (Syria’s neighboring countries) have been eerily silent on the matter.
We’ll talk about US actions at the end of this Commentary.
Some nations are wanting the US to get involved but is that really the best thing for the US at a time where the US is already committed to 3 full blown wars and an outstanding financial debt of $14.3 Trillion? Can we really afford yet another war?
The George W. Bush administration had, clearly, toughened relations in Syria — imposing new sanctions as Assad ran operations against U.S. troops in Iraq and was implicated in the murder of the Lebanese prime minister — so it will be a little more challenging to see how a non-violent shake up can play out but diplomacy and peace is possible and probable, if the US handles this correctly.
In responding to this crisis in Syria, the Obama administration is pulled by two conflicting currents.
First, Obama appears to be cautious like Syria- much like he was with Egypt- in the fear that the opposition leaders would be worse that the current situation and since the majority of Syria is terrorist based; that could prove to be detrimental to not only the US but also Israel.
(Note: The terrorist infiltration case also runs true in Libya where it is a known fact that Al Qaeda has infiltrated the leaders of the Libyan opposition and Obama has stated that he wants a regime change- so Obama’s foreign policy stance his, once again, inconsistent and much to be desired.)
May I caution the Obama administration about policing the World and encouraging regime changes when he has little information on the opposition parties (Libya anyone?) and little leverage to control events in a land very foreign to us.
Second, there is resentment running amok as the violence escalates in the Syrian streets and the contradiction of US actions in Libya. The mentality that I predicted would form, “The US helped out the opposition in Libya- why will the US not help us?!” is indeed taking place.
It is a belief of many that Assad is no reformer. Rather, he is an ally of Iran, a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. So the administration has another chance to “fight the good fight”.
Honestly? If the US was get involved in another war (I wish we wouldnt; we have enough problems and debt at home as it is) but if we were to get involved- I would RATHER get involved in Syria instead of Libya.
But, first above everything else, I would work on transitioning a new US Ambassador to Syria because; obviously, the current one is not doing a very good job.
We need to be EXTREMELY careful as Hezbollah could utilize this opportunity to capitalize in Lebanon and work to consolidate its control and upset the status quo.
The fall of the Assads and the emergence of a more radicalized Sunni regime in Damascus could raise questions in Israel about the viability of the 1974 disengagement agreement on the Golan Heights, which has made the Syrian-Israeli border the quietest in the Middle East. A Sunni regime would also likely raise tensions with Iraq’s Shia-dominated government.
Personally, I think that the US should deploy another communicator over to assist the US Ambassador to Syria because obviously; he’s not doing a very good job getting a message of “Peace and Prosperity” across.
We should not under any circumstances remove our ambassador from Syria. I realize that there was not an ambassador there before Obama placed him but now, since it has been established, revoking such a position could prove to backfire as we need as many “peaceful” eyes and ears near ground zero.
If that fails to work, THEN and ONLY then; should we place an asset freeze and travel restrictions on the Syrian president and close allies as we have exhausted all means of diplomacy.
After the asset freeze and travel restrictions are placed and if Bashar al-Assad is continuing to use violence- then we should consider how else we can resolve the matter.
Regime change should only be pushed IF we know WHO we are supporting. We already made that mistake in Libya- let’s not support terrorists again. This would be especially dangerous as Syria borders Israel and would give terrorists direct access to wage war with the holy land.
I feel that diplomacy is possible within Syria but our current way of going about it is not working; let’s focus on reshaping our diplomacy efforts before we consider freezing assets and travel restrictions; especially use of force as that should be our last resort.
US-Syria communication is blocked and we must take steps to get the communication flowing in the right direction before the US gets forceful.
Perhaps the US can talk to the UN Human Rights Council and see what type of diplomatic measures are available within the UN.
NOTE TO OBAMA: Please get Congressional approval before invading Syria so we can comply with the US Constitution as well as join efforts with other nations so that we are not singled out.
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