Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

No easy solution for Syria

The current conflict in Syria has a complicated history. The bare bones of it comes down to the Syrian people wishing to have more freedoms and liberties while the current president, Bashar Al-Assad, is refusing to allow them any. While this has been going on for the past two years or so, Syria has reentered the world stage due to recent allegations against Al-Assad for utilizing chemical weapons on his own people.
The use of chemical weapons was first outlawed by the 1925 Geneva Convention and further restricted by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Due to the United State’s participation in these conventions Obama believes that Assad’s attacks are inhumane and he should be punished. Obama made sure that these remarks were meant strictly as a punishment and not to destabilize Assad’s rule.
Should we actually launch a strike against Syria as punishment? On a purely humanitarian level, I think the US should have acted a long time ago in the Syrian conflict with everything Assad’s rule has done, from restricting freedom of expression to outright basic human rights violations.
This latest act is simply the last straw in a long list of human right violations that cannot go unpunished. If we, the US, truly believe that we are the protectors of democracy we should have acted years ago.
Let’s move on to more realistic thinking. To act now, simply because of the chemical weapons, shows the world that we only protect democracy and human rights when it is so blatantly violated that we cannot ignore it.
Striking Syria could lead to blow back with China and Russia, who are actively supporting the current Syrian regime. Russia is delivering arms directly to Damascus.
Action against Syria simply as punishment rather than a complete destabilization of the regime does not strike me as something that must be done. Why risk angering both China and Russia to metaphorically wag our finger at the bad kid in class? If we act at all, we should expel the child who’s been acting out for so many years, instead of just giving them one more time-out.
To strike Syria could lead to another long standing military conflict, something the US does not need to be involved in again. In the past we have tried to subdue these human rights violations from Assad with economic sanctions and other diplomatic actions. Why not try those again? The conflict in Syria has claimed so many lives already. Does the use of these chemical weapons really make a difference?
It’s as if the US is saying ‘Missiles? Fine. Bullets? Alright. Chemical weapons? No!’ What makes these attacks any different than what’s already been done? Chemical weapons or not, people in Syria are still dying every single day.
The heart of the matter is that Assad’s regime has been extremely oppressive and has been in violation of numerous human rights for far too long. Regardless of the politics, I think the US should do something, anything, to expose Assad’s cruelties and condemn his actions.
I realize that directly striking or blatantly trying to destabilize the Assad regime is an insane gambit that can and probably will result in major setbacks for the US and is something that cannot be done practically.
Empirical evidence proves that economic sanctions and public denouncements of Assad’s actions are obviously not deterring his regime in any way whatsoever. We need not tread down that path again. The United States needs to find a middle ground between full blown war and petty political name-calling to deter Assad’s horrendous actions.
Perhaps the US, with the support of other countries, could put pressure on Assad to end these outrageous human rights abuses. A collective effort might produce results that US actions alone couldn’t before.
The best solution is anything but obvious, but something between war and petty sanctions needs to be done. The human rights violations committed by Assad’s regime need to be stopped.

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No easy solution for Syria