If there is no outside intervention in Syria, the prospect of a stable Syria coming out of this conflict seems increasingly remote. What may well be the eventual outcome is a fractured country with different Sunni, Alawite, Christian, and Shiite forces creating their own safe havens within the country's borders. We have seen this before, and it rarely ends well.
Prime Minister Harper's stance on Syria seems to be a textbook instance of boring second-fiddleism. Like a good backup musician, the PM's endorsed the idea that "Western military action" should be taken against the blood-and-poison-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad, which in practice means supporting President Obama's promised plan to bomb select Syrian sites at some uncertain time in the uncertain future. And like a good bore, Harp's also emphasized that said support will entail precisely no Canadian military contribution whatsoever.
As thoroughly unpalatable as it is to sit back and watch the horrific murder of innocents without doing something to help, it's difficult to see how a military strike on Syria will do anything to stop the violence, though it would almost certainly add to it, and could realistically help spread it beyond the country's borders. Is making a public moral statement a good enough reason for initiating military action when there's precious little chance of the action contributing to peace? It's a question the United States will have to answer in the coming days.
The Assad regime continues to kill indiscriminately in a desperate effort to regain control. The merciless army it has deployed to wipe out dissent is destroying entire rebel-held towns. The horrifying chemical weapons attacks it most likely carried out on innocent civilians may be only a terrible prelude to more massacres.
The international community has not only failed to live up to its responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes but its very inaction has encouraged escalating criminality by the Assad regime. With the crossing of the red line on chemical weapons use refocusing international attention on Syria, we risk losing credibility -- and more Syrians risk losing their lives -- should we not start now taking meaningful action to protect civilians in Syria. To that end, it is critically important that any intervention adhere to the requirements of international law.
Earlier this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden decried the use of chemical weapons on "defenceless men, women and children" in Syria. As someone who works for an international aid and development agency looking out for children, something is deadly certain to me: Those children have been defenceless ever since the war in Syria began.
In the late weeks of August 2012 President Obama, played up the concern of chemical weapon movement in Syria, talking about how that could determine U.S. involvement. Explaining that would be the crossing of a "RED LINE". I remember the last time a president talked about a foreign country and the movement of it's arrsenal AKA: weapons of mass destruction.
It remains a difficult thing for Canadians to embrace when hearing little concerning the injustices of the governments of such regions as Syria. Certain voices indeed have been raised from within the Muslim/Arab communities, but the lack of overall response until it is too late remains a mystery. But is that enough to refuse any kind of intervention? Clearly not.
The footage of purported victims of recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria shows a distressing number of children's corpses... but then both Saddam Hussein and Hezbollah have been accused of stockpiling such corpses in the past to reserve for media events. The Syrian National Front might be no different.
In February 2012, amidst the then unfolding horror in Syria, British journalist Marie Colvin summed it up in one final poignant and painful dispatch before she herself was murdered in the assault on Homs: "In Baba Amr. Sickening. Cannot understand how the world can stand by... Feeling helpless... No one here can understand how the international community can let this happen."