On April 29, 2013 a CNN headline reads, “Syrian prime minister uninjured after bomb targets motorcade in Damascus”.
Unimpressed by the escalating violence of Syria’s two-year-old civil war, the average unsophisticated internet News voyeur elects to connect to the sports and celebrity gossip link while pouring a second cup of coffee.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, Syria is burning. Let “the record reflect” that Syria is not merely smoldering with irrelevant social discontent, rather the country is fully ablaze in a “forest fire” that threatens to consume the entire Middle East and Northern Africa.
At last count the Syrian civil war has prematurely taken the lives of over 70,000 Syrians, condemning millions of Syrians of all ages and sects to be tortured by fear and the uncertainties associated with war.
The armed forces controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is busy on the military offensive, mounting counter attack after counter attack against Syrian opposition forces who fight to the death to topple Assad’s regime. Understanding the scenario, the question that should be asked by Syrians and interested spectators worldwide is “replace Assad’s government with what and with whom?”
The spark that detonated Syria’s “revolutionary bomb” occurred nearly 26 months ago in the southern city of Daraa after at least 15 children were arrested and brutally tortured by Syrian police for painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of a local school.
The children’s arrest and mistreatment by Syria’s dreaded secret police “The Mukhabarat”on March 11, 2011initiated a fury within the community that promptly ignited a rallying cry against Assad and his government. Years of angry discontent erupted, reverberating both in the streets and in the bazaars.
Daraa’s spiraling community anger, acting in the manner of a virus, spread across Syria and fed instant-courage to Assad’s opponents. But again, who exactly are Assad’s opponents and what kind of government do they seek to replace the current regime with?
According to a Syrian video released on the internet on July 29, 2011, out of anger and despair, the Free Syrian Army or FSA was born. Composed mostly of Syrian Sunni rebels, there are units within the FSA that also include Kurds, Palestinians, Druze and Turkmen.
Estimated by U.S. Intelligence to number between 15,000 and 25,000 troops, the FSA implores for Syrians to defect from Assad’s armed forces and join their cause.
In a surprise press conference at the White House on Tuesday morning President Obama conveyed that Syria’s civil war has now deteriorated to a new low. Evidence indicates that chemical weapons have been used against civilians, crossing a “thin red line” that Obama refers to as a “game changer”. But when pressed by reporters on what action the U.S. would take if it can be proven that Syria’s President Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, Obama appeared reluctant to commit to the idea of directly involving U.S. troops against Assad’s forces.
“What we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don’t know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. We don’t have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened…I’ve got to make sure I’ve got the facts.”
Republican senators, led by John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have repeatedly urged the president to react forcefully, claiming that failure to do so would damage U.S. credibility in the world after Obama defined the use of chemical weapons as a “red line” and “a game changer.”
With Syrian refugees crossing over in the thousands into neighboring countries and with instability mounting in the Middle East and Northern Africa, the question of what to do about Syria’s civil war has become an integral part of U.S. foreign diplomacy and strategy.
The trillion dollar question is, except for the “usual War Hawk suspects”, are the American people too war-weary to even consider the idea of sending tens of thousands of battle fatigued troops back into harm’s way without an understanding of who the Syrian Rebels are and what it is that they hope to achieve? Wars cost a lot of money, so… who’s “footing the bill” for Syria’s revolution? Could it be Iran, North Korea, China, Russia or Pakistan?
The list of potential instigators is too long. Perhaps President Obama should be more cautious. Isn’t it true that we have more than enough domestic problems in the U.S. that require our lawmaker’s immediate attention? Except for the War Hawks, most would agree.
As always the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Should U.S. troops be used to intervene in Syria’s civil war? Or should the U.S. government stay focused on fixing what’s “broken” in our own country? And where is the Arab League? Why can’t they fix the problems that are looming in their own back yard? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.