Intervention In Syria Is Necessary
Seriously, how many more people have to be killed, how many more protestors have to be tortured, how many more times does the Syrian government have to stomp all over human rights and dignity, before America decides it's worth our while to do something about it?
In March of 2011, a group of civilians in the south of Syria took to the streets to protest the torture of students who had put up anti-government graffiti. A wave of demonstrations soon swept the country—but so did a brutal and unjustified government response, as tanks stormed cities and security forces opened fire on protestors.
Statistics compiled by the United Nations last week indicate that the conflict thus far has resulted in over 5400 deaths and over 70,000 internally displaced persons. Escalating episodes of government violence, and the growing number of military defections and retaliation attacks has pushed the country to the brink of civil war. A graphic collection of Internet video footage shows exactly what this means for the people of Syria.
The crisis begs international attention. Recognizing this, an overwhelming majority of the UN voted Thursday to approve a resolution condemning Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's 11-month crackdown.
“We see neighborhoods shelled indiscriminately. Hospitals used as torture centers. Children as young as 10 years old jailed and abused. We see almost certain crimes against humanity,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, needing no further explanation for why condemnation is so necessary.
Such condemnation remains meaningless, however, unless enforced by concrete international action. This is where the United States and other nations need to step up.
The need for American intervention goes beyond the humanitarian one. The Syrian uprising is part of the greater Arab Spring, a vitally important movement to proponents of democracy worldwide. Not only is it our responsibility as human beings to protect the people of Syria from atrocities, but it also our responsibility as global citizens to promote and preserve freedom and democracy wherever they are challenged.
Furthermore, intervening in Syria offers the U.S. a distinct geopolitical advantage. A regime change in Syria would service a current American priority overseas by further isolating Iran, an ally of Syria's current administration. It would also weaken Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based jihadist terrorist organization that has long supported al-Assad.
Most significantly, it would provide the U.S. with another democratic foothold in the Middle East, a region with which its interests are inevitably entangled—and an oil-producing foothold at that.
The situation calls for an immediate strategic approach. A Syria Sanctions Act was introduced in Congress in August 2011, but it has met with significant resistance.. However those spearheading the resistance fail to understand how imprudent it would be for our government to disregard both a desperate cry for help from our fellow suffering humans, and an opportunity to alter the world's geopolitical landscape in our favor and in the favor of freedom in general.
Congress should get behind the bill and expedite its passage into law—at a minimum. The climbing death toll and the rapid approach of civil war in Syria necessitates even more direct action, particularly the establishment of safe havens for Syrian freedom fighters along the nation's borders with Turkey and Jordan, and the opening up of humanitarian corridors to provide aid for protestors and other victims of government violence.
During the Syrian government's most recent attack, on the city of Deraa, shelling and sniper fire killed at least five and wounded another fifty within thirty-six hours. Incidences of violence are becoming more and more frequent; things are not about to work themselves out. The American nation has a responsibility to the world, and really to itself, to intervene, and help liberate the people of Syria from tyranny and chaos.