Thoughts On Syria

2 years ago I wrote to my MP to question why we hadn’t
intervened in Syria, like we did in Libya, when Assad started to slaughter and
torture his own people.
We did nothing, mostly because of Russia and China who are
afraid of similarly authoritarian regimes being challenged and overthrown.  Yet this man is vile and evil.
So as a humanitarian, I had my answer as to how many people
it is ok to kill – over 100,000.  Include
over 1 million refugees, the minor use of chemical weapons and countless injured
and that apparently until this weekend just gone was perfectly acceptable.
This is not the only human tragedy of recent times that has
gone unanswered by those able to assist – Darfur, North Korea and Rwanda are
particular stains on the human conscience as far as I am concerned.
There are occasions when we have taken action and stopped
atrocities, such as Libya, Kosovo and Sierra Leone, and done significant good
to countries.  However foremost at many
people’s mind will be the bloodshed in Iraq where we inadvertently initiated a
civil war, along with those deaths our previous government and leaders should
take responsibility for.
The time to act was 2 years ago.  Now it is a total mess with several simultaneous wars –
Sunni vs Shia, Iran and Hezbollah on one side, secularists on the other,
Islamists backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and Russia’s little arms business –
not to mention their Mediterranean port which they are very fond of.
As far as I am concerned, the question is – is it ok for
Assad to continue to barbarically kill his own people?  And are we happy for other potentially
murderous regimes to believe they have a green light to butcher their citizens?
There are definitely risks in acting – amongst those that come to mind
are Islamists taking over Syria, revenge attacks on Israel or other western
targets, further and widespread use of chemical weapons and that particularly
cold saying “collateral damage”.
I am still for action – as a humanitarian I believe in
saving lives.  Though due to the added
complications, I believe in only limited action – that of destroying missile
systems, destroying military planes and helicopters – any potential delivery
systems for chemical weapons.  If we can
seize said chemicals then that would be ideal.
No all-out war, no regime change, no fighting the Syrian infantry, tank brigades, etc.
I would also love to see a protected humanitarian corridor, where refugees can flee safely, without the fair of further violence.  Added to that, further assistance in the way of aid, particularly to countries with large amounts of refugees such as Jordan.
I still believe there is the potential for a negotiated
solution, and perhaps Assad may come to the table if and when he feels under
threat.  We should not publicly reject
the possibility of regime change as Assad needs to believe that his days could
be numbered.  At the moment he believes
in his invincibility and has the criminal state of Russia backing him covertly, along with other aforementioned actors.
My solution is that the country splits into 4.  The west becomes an Alawite state, headed by
Assad.  The Kurdish areas have their own independent
state, along with a separate state for secularists and yes, Islamists.
Can you suggest any other solution except
continued slaughter?

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