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Endgame

Hello readers, it’s good to be back at the keys and even better to be resuming the dissection of varying international circumstances. When examining the Syrian conflict I tend to first place a spotlight on Assad: Can he run? Will his funds save him? Is there an option for Assad outside of simply winning or losing the war? The answer to each of these questions: No. Assad has more money, arguably more military might, but an even worse international standing than former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, and as you may recall he received no asylum in his final days. It is certain this thought haunts Assad each night before he sleeps and every morning he awakes.

His desperation has led him to seek help from abroad via a strategy now commonly utilized on the international stage: the portrayal of opposition as a terrorist force. His portrayal of the FSA as terrorists serves to invite anti-sunni extremists from over the borders to engage in a “Holy War” against the Sunni majority, for Assad’s Alawaite sect makes up roughly 12% of the islamic population in Syria. Assad needs the conflict to be portrayed as a holy war against terrorists lest he be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Declaring the FSA as a terrorist organization isn’t entirely accurate however, while the FSA has fought alongside terrorist groups such as Jabhat al-Nursa the FSA is not linked to al-Qaeda. Further, if and when Assad falls, the groups maintain polarizing views on what direction Syria will head in post-Assad, which will likely lead to further years of civil strife. Had the FSA been armed early on by the United States, Al-Nursa’s involvement would not have been needed by the FSA for military support against the Syrian Government Army, and thus the call to global jihadists and international mercenaries would have likely been weak if present at all. The mess the United States feared of Syria should the rebels be armed: it being a state supporter of terrorism, supporter of Iran, have a grudge against Israel and the U.S, that human rights violations could occur within the borders amidst political distrust and corruption, yet these are all aspects of present Syria with the Assad regime. Had the rebels been armed before their desperation lead them into Jihadist hands it can be argued that the FSA’s influence would have remained prominent and allowed Al-Nursa no time to establish itself as a prominent force in the nation. Had Nursa not grown and the United States stepped in as it did in Libya, the conflict likely would have concluded hastily and with less bloodshed.

If terrorist influence has finally grown to the point where the U.S. believes the situation should be reevaluated, this could be the last opportunity to aid the FSA before the conflict spirals further into civil conflict corrupting international volunteers and spitting them back out as hardened soldiers of fortune, possibly bent on wreaking havoc abroad. The United States has an obligation as a world superpower to help where needed, yet it is common for nations in such a position to do so only when personal interest is being served. In this case personal interest would have been served with aid to the FSA and their eventual victory possibly leading to a strong bond with the new Syria and an additional ally in the region, yet for once when the right thing was to get involved we didn’t. The nations track record of interjecting, ranging from Honduras, to Vietnam, to Iran is despicable yet eerily consistent, but when the time comes to really provide needed and requested help, particularly on a military scale, the United States somehow falls through. My hope is that some kind of foreign power, if not the United States, will aid the FSA before its dwindling influence fades to nothing, allowing for Nursa to become the primary force battling Assad, opening the door for a much more likely Jihadist home base when Assad topples. -Shivite12

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