UN needs to align with Syrian opposition effort
Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 15:02
Since its inception last January, the uprising in Syria has claimed many civilian lives, with estimates from the United Nations exceeding 5,000 deaths as of last month. Civil unrest has mounted to undeniable levels despite pleas from the international community for President Bashar al-Assad's resignation.
"You cannot replicate the Middle West in the Middle East," former presidential adviser Pat Buchanan said in an interview with Russia Today, acknowledging that America's crusade of ending tyranny worldwide is "utterly utopian." There have always been tyrants. Dictators such as al-Assad will continue to breed tyranny until they are dismantled.
History will continue to repeat itself, and the cycle will persist until someone puts an end to it, which the citizens of Syria are attempting to do. If the United States wants to continue to claim the mantle as leader of the free world, being a proponent of change and supporting the struggle for democracy in Syria is crucial.
While a quick and painless humanitarian effort by the U.N. may be a pipe dream, the longer it is delayed, the more innocent civilian lives will be claimed, and that blood is on our hands. Putting weapons in the hands of the anti-Assad factions in Syria will only produce more bloodshed and potentially fuel an all-out civil war.
The international community has been continually met with resistance from Assad to allow humanitarian aid into Syria, and the U.N. has waited long enough. If a military peace-keeping component is required to help the flow of aid through the country, so be it. Innocent civilians have been caught in the crossfire for more than a year now with no way out.
Syria's cries for Assad's resignation must be answered, but the potential backlash of ushering in another dictator of Assad's stature is important to examine. The country's foundation has been shaken to its core thus far, and with such strong backing of Syrian opposition from groups such as al-Qaida, the country's vulnerable state leaves the door wide open for continued oppressive dictatorship.
Egypt's revolt must be viewed as a prime example in this regard. When evaluating Egypt's political and social state one year later, it is evident the country is far from a stable democracy. Although stability in any sense of the word is far off for Syria, it must be a primary goal kept at the forefront of the country's efforts throughout its transition to democratic freedom. United opposition without aid from the international community is simply not viable.
"People really want to be free, and in the long term, democracy and a greater freedom will come about in the Middle East," Thomas Henriksen of Stanford University said in an NPR report. "In the interim, there may be some difficult days."
What is the cost of such an interim? Is the world willing to sit and watch Syrians kill one another until there is simply nothing left? What will it take for Russia and China to align themselves with the international community's efforts to drive out Assad? How many innocent lives must be lost before global intervention is necessary?
The U.N. has delayed action long enough, and although direct U.N. military involvement seems almost inevitable, efforts should be focused to create a cohesive opposition force within Syria.