Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The World's Betrayal of Syria



The world has betrayed Syria.
Even as the Syrian conflict has entered its third year, the world is silent.
While ordinary people like Abdul Karim Hamdan, a refugee from Aleppo, a city still witness to the worst fighting, sings odes to his motherland, the world refuses to even come down to the discussion table and talk about Syria.
More than two million Syrians today, Christians, Sunnis, Shias and Alawites, are living the life of refugees in Turkey and Jordan among other places, but we have still failed to solve a crisis, making it worse by the day.
The Arab world was swept over by the Arab Spring Fever like all spring fevers do. A rash of people spread across the streets, and the world stared, wondering, as dictator after dictator fell in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. However, the euphoria was short lived, as several other governments brutally cracked down, pretty much silencing any voice of dissent. Millions of Syrians came out on the street against Bashar-al-Assad in the northern cities of Syria. There was much anticipation that the government would fall down, that Bashar would abdicate the throne he inherited from his father. Bashar and Syria, however, decided to take the route that would lead to much bloodshed in a bitter conflict that sees no sign of moving forward.
The story of Syria is a highly complicated one. The people are not united in their opposition against Assad. Contrary to popular perception, there are a lot of people who are behind Assad, as they fear the rise of the Islamists to power. Egypt and Tunisia have shown us the problem with the rise of Islamists in the face of a modern, secular and relatively progressive urban population. Even though Assad has not been the doyen of democracy, people are backing the government precisely because of this simple reason. Bashar has repeatedly stated that the people fighting the government forces are nothing but terrorists. It was difficult to believe so, till recently, when it has now emerged that Al-Nusrah, a terrorist group linked directly to Al-Qaida, is fighting the government in Aleppo. While their affiliation to the Free Syria forces has been vehemently denied by the Syria National Alliance, there is no denying the fact that these forces are present and fighting on the ground. While much hair was split over the targeting of journalists in Syria last year, the fact remains that the journalists close to Al-Ikhberiya, taken off air from European satellites due to their proximity to Assad, have been regularly targeted by the terrorists to create a lot of hype and send a warning to those who do not agree with the state of affairs. Even if the people believe that Assad is not the best bet for Syria, the journalistic community in Damascus controlled areas strongly opposes these rabid elements in the Free Syria Alliance. Due to the bitterness in these views, journalists have become victims to this unending military conflict that has started. This might have been one of the reasons why the United States has been hesitant to push for a military offensive against the Assad regime. Even though there are reports now emerging of the Assad regime possibly using chemical weapons, the presence of terrorists amidst the forces fighting Assad is making it very difficult for Barack Obama to push openly for a military option. In addition to that, nightmares of Iraq and Afghanistan seem to be deterring Obama, who otherwise received a Nobel Prize for not being George W Bush (thanks Economist). Russia and China have been playing a deadly game in their own interests of propping up the Assad regime, but the game is so complicated that one cannot say that they are right or wrong in propping up Assad.
The road to Syria is very complex. Casualty is not just the people but even the heritage of Syria. The Umaiyyad Mosque in Aleppo is lost to the world forever. Damascus is bombed every day. The human cost being paid by Syria is increasing day by day. And the world is just looking on, its false claims of humanitarianism being beaten hollow by their utter inaction in Syria.

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