The U.S. Should Intervene in Syria
Mounting Criticism Against America’s Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy
While the U.S. is keeping a cautious stance toward a potential intervention in Syria, brutality created by the conflict between the Assad regime and the opposition group increases.
On Monday February 18th, UN Human Rights investigators urged the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court in order to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and other abuses committed in nearly two years of conflict.
Carla del Ponte, a United Nations human rights investigator who had been chief prosecutor for international tribunals on both the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda said, “It’s incredible that the Security Council hasn’t made a decision. Since crimes are continuing, and the number of victims is increasing day to day, justice must be done.”
According to the panel’s report, the Assad government must bear responsibility for most of the war crimes, but the rebels have also committed murder, torture, taken hostages, and used children under 15 in hostilities. All concerned parties must be held accountable, the investigators emphasized.
The UN says nearly 70,000 people have been killed since March 2011. The total number of refugees, who fled to countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, amounted to 800,000, which is about four percent of Syria’s population.
The New York Times recently revealed the behind-the-scenes story in order to combat the deteriorating situation. Last summer, the former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton privately conferred with David H. Petraeus, then director of the CIA, and they made a plan to arm the Syrian resistance. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus presented the proposal to the White House, which was also supported by the Defense Secretary, Leon E. Panetta. Yet, they were declined. The White House was worried about the risks because President Obama was in the midst of a re-election bid. （February 2nd and 20th, 2013, The New York Times, Global Edition）
The reason why President Obama rejected this plan was clear: in addition to the humanitarian aid and economic sanctions against Syria, arming the rebels would draw the United States into a war. It was natural for President Obama, a politician that expressed the recognition that “the tide of war is receding” during his period of campaigning. He counted the retreat of his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as one of his major achievements.
However, reports have indicated that the U.S. economic sanctions against Syria have not been as effective as initially hoped for: they have only hurt the poor and middle-class while allowing regime loyalists to get even richer because the regime members are capable of bypassing most sanctions by using non-U.S. and non-Western means of production.
The Assad government is not likely to step down soon: Russia and Iran have reportedly supplied them with arms and financial support. Hezbollah has sent militants to help Mr. Assad’s forces. On the other side, there has been a sheer increase of al-Qaeda affiliated fighters among the rebels; during last spring, there were only 50 adherents, but now the group may have grown close to 1000 members.
In his State of the Union Speech, President Obama said, “We will keep the pressure on the Syrian regime […] and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian.” Interpreting this speech and answering a CNN interviewer, Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations said, it “means more watching from the sidelines as the horror unfolds.”
Jon Kerry, the new Secretary of State, will travel to Europe and the Middle East including such countries as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. U.S. politicians expect him to meet with the Syrian opposition leaders.
With the infiltration of al-Qaeda affiliated fighters among the rebels, the opposition group is now loosing popularity among the people. The United States may have lost its timing for an intervention because its politicians wavered too much over their options.
If America continues to keep a non-interventionist policy, it will surely create additional problems.
In a lecture recorded in the month of September 2012, Master Ryuho Okawa said:
“The civil war in Syria has already left several tens of thousands of dead.[…] If you leave as it is, despite there being chances to stop it, I have to say justice has not been done. The United States must be a ‘dictator’ in these cases. If the U.N. Security Council splits over this conflict, the U.S. must intervene asserting that other countries which oppose our plan would have to fight with the U.S. Since the Assad government is killing civilians with fighter jets, the nonmilitary personnel have no means to combat them with their guns. We need to stop them at all costs. President Obama is not fast enough to take actions and stop the killing.”
Unless America fulfills its mission as the World Policeman, the conflict will even become worse than it is, and the strife will also increase in East Asia with autocratic countries such as China and North Korea nuclear-armed.
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