Watching the Civil War in Syria

There is a civil war in Syria. Millions have fled the country to escape death and injury. Thousands have been killed. Chemical weapons have been used. It seems that all sides in the civil war (there are more than two sides) are committing atrocities and war crimes against the civilian population. The Western democracies are talking of intervening in some way. Any intervention will not end the war and the atrocities. It may end the existing government of Syria, but there are many people who want to take over the government and ending the rule of one regime does not guarantee that the rule of the next regime will be better for the people of Syria.

Of course the Western democracies are very much against the present regime in Syria and have been for many years. Before the civil war broke out in Syria the Western democracies blamed Syria for its support of terrorists and its bellicose words against Israel. Now the civil war has removed the immediate threat (as the Western democracies saw it) of Syria’s actions affecting the security and peace of those democracies but the Syrian people have found themselves suffering far more than any suffering that Syria could have imposed upon the Western democracies.

It is hard to know what should be done to prevent further suffering of the Syrian people. Certainly some things should not be done. Arms should not be supplied to the rebels; you cannot prevent killing by giving any side the means to kill more easily. The West should not intervene with its own armies; it is difficult to identify the good guys from the bad guys and a military intervention without a political objective will cause more harm that it prevents.

Some things can be done; the West might enforce a complete arms embargo and prevent any now arms reaching Syria. That will be hard as the West cannot police all the borders of Syria, and it is impossible to prevent arms travelling across borders with nations that support one side or faction of the rebels.

All our knowledge, all our wisdom all our good intentions and all our wealth cannot prevent the murder and destruction that is happening in Syria. We are onlookers, gaping at events that we are powerless to prevent.

One Response

  1. Interesting post. I posted something on this topic a while ago; baring in mind what you’ve written you may be interested.

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