Jonathan Fryer

The Syria Dilemma

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 27th August, 2013

Bashar al-AssadSyria casualtiesBritain’s armed forces are preparing themselves for an armed strike against Syria, following the recent use of chemical weapons inside the country, probably by the Assad regime’s forces. As I said in a live interview on the al-Etejah (Iraqi Arab) TV channel last night, the justification for the UK, US, France and maybe Germany taking such a step, along with sympathetic Middle Eastern countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, without UN approval, would be the relatively new concept within International Law, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), about which I have written extensively. This asserts that if a government is unable or unwilling to protect its own people, then the international community has a responsibility to intervene on humanitarian grounds, providing there are reasonable prospects of success. Of course it would be preferable if the UN Security Council backed such a move, but that is currently impossible given the fact that Russia and to a lesser extent China are standing behind Bashar al-Assad — though in China’s case this is mainly because of its strong belief in the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. The humanitarian need in Syria is self-evident. More than 110,000 Syrians have been killed, a high proportion of them civilians. There are now between four and five million Syrian refugees and whole swaths of cities such as Aleppo and Homs are a wasteland. Yet still Assad and his thugs continue to try to pound the people into submission. The situation is complicated by the fact that this is not a fight between good and evil, however. Evil the Assad regime certainly is — and has been for over 40 years — but the disparate rebel forces contain some pretty unpleasant characters and radical groups that seek to impose an alien, fundamentalist creed that is alien to the modern Syrian secular society. But things have now reached a stage at which the world cannot just sit by and watch a people and a country be annihilated. The problem is what exactly should be done, now that what President Obama described as the “red line” of chemical weapon use has been crossed? The imposition of a no fly zone is one obvious option, or carefully targeted use of cruise missiles against the regime’s military installations. But there is no guarantee of effectiveness. What certainly needs to be avoided is sending foreign — and especially Western — troops on the ground, which would not only lead to heavy casualties but also risks turning some of the anti-Assad population against the intervention. Russia meanwhile has warned the West against intervention. But I think the momentum now is unstoppable. Unless the Assad clique stands aside — which it has shown no willingness to do — Syria is going to be the latest in a string of Middle Eastern/North African Wars. And the poor United Nations will look even more impotent and marginalised than ever.

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6 Responses to “The Syria Dilemma”

  1. Interesting post. I posted something on this topic a while ago; baring in mind what you’ve written you may be interested. rileyfrost.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/what-are-the-concequences-of-military-intervention-in-syria/

  2. neilfutureboy said

    “relatively new concept within International Law”

    As in completely opposed to all the principles of law and simply a war crime.

    Of course if the LDs actually supported this principle they would have invaded Kosovo to stop the massacres, genocide, ethnic cleansing of 350,000 people, kidnapping of children to service western brothels and dissection of 1,800 people and enforcement of the racial programme of Adolf Hitler while still alive carried out by the NATO occupiers.

    But of course the LDs actively assisted in these atrocities and, i8n the manner of Nazis everywhere, have actively lied and censored to promote these obscenities.

  3. Greenfield said

    neilfutureboy – oh if life was so simple….but its not (not to mention politics). Bombing with bread and water and supplies and those displaced would be a Liberal response – why not set up save zones…. that would require BALLS. Bombing and killing is bombing and killing …..who ever the targets are.

    • neilfutureboy said

      That seems tangential to my point. Yes NATO bombing was a war crime but the genocide, ethnic cleansing, sexual enslavement of children & dissection of living people the LDs were involved in was far worse. Even Hitler didn’t dissect living people to steal their organs as the LDs were involved in,

  4. […] no chance of UN backing, but, as Jonathan Fryer argues, the “responsibility to protect” might cover […]

  5. How can “the responsibility to protect” give a cover to Nazis like the LDs. Raping children and dissecting adults while alive as you obscenities do is not protecting them

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