Friday, August 3, 2012

Playground Politics: A Brief Look at the Syrian Conflict

The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s resignation from his post as special envoy to Syria confirmed what everyone in the political arena was thinking but didn’t want to say: the situation in Syria is beyond help.
Mr. Annan finally realized that he (like the United Nations) is as influential in world affairs as a fly trying to blow out a candle. With the UN peacekeepers’ role being reduced to on-the-ground reporters, there was nothing left for Annan to do but step down and admit that without a unified decision of all the permanent members of the Security Council, the situation in Syria will continue to be a stalemate.
But if we stop talking in the tone of politicians for a second and look at what is really happening on the ground, we’d realize that this little chess game between East and West has allowed and justified yet another act of institutionalized, state-mandated genocide. This edition’s dictator: Bashar Al Assad. The victims: the Syrian people.
And while we are used to seeing the number of casualties scroll through the news reels on our TV screens, it’s worth it to stop and think of the millions that have been displaced, the 15,000+ innocent civilians that have been killed, not to mention the 65,000 missing and the 212,000 incarcerated.
Why is the world standing by while all this is happening? Well, let’s go back to the tone of politics as it is the only way one can get through explaining a human tragedy through a dispassionate analysis of governance in practice.
As always, it boils down to super powers using the Third World as their battleground for power, control, access and superiority. With Russia and China getting the short end of the straw with the regime changes in Iraq and Libya, they simply cannot accept any further losses or cancelled contracts of arms and oil deals in this region. They will do whatever is possible to retain their economic, military and political stronghold in Syria and Iran. On the other side, we have the United States and Israel with their European cheerleaders (the UK, France, Germany, and for some reason Portugal) all fixated on installing another friendly regime to control Iranian activity, secure Israel’s safety, and profit off the unlimited resources the region hides below its soil.
And while both sides continue flirting with each other through threats of economic sanctions and calls for renewal of the UN Peacekeeper missions, a deadly ground battle is unfolding and edging closer to the Syrian regime’s strongholds, Aleppo and the capital Damascus.
The Syrian Freedom Fighters’ recent successes may soon put President/War Criminal Bashar Al Assad in a very peculiar situation. Should Aleppo fall to the rebels and the battle of Damascus commence, Assad will be put between a rock and a hard place. His two options would be to 1) use the familiar tactic of heavy bombing, shelling and airborne strikes or 2) engage in an all out street war.
As effective as the first option could be in denying the rebels, the disadvantages would be the inevitable large count of innocent human casualties which may increase the risk of defections from the military and economic collapse.
As for the second option, Al Assad should be prepared for a long and deadly fight that may drag on for a long time, time he simply doesn’t have, not to mention the costs and potentially large body count of the thousands of mercenaries he may have to rely on.
A sane person may present a third option to Assad: Step down and let the people live. But as we have learned through time and history, in politics, sanity is a relative term in a world of mad men.

Mohammed Khamis

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  1. As usual, brilliantly written, but I specifically liked "sanity is a relative term in a world of mad men" & lately this relativity has been spreading like fever world wide & not only in the political world, yet again, the world only operated through politics

    1. Thank you Reem.
      You are right. We are being forced to redefine sanity just to be able to make sense of the madness all around us.