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The US Should Not Be Involved In the Syrian War
The US-backed Syrian rebel groups train their US-made weapons on government positions, while Al-Assad’s forces backed by Iran and Russia attack rebel positions from the air and with rockets. It is not clear which side or what cause a rebel group supports. The one group that is universally opposed is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an off-shoot of Al Qaeda which wants to establish Sharia Law in Syria (Vasilyeva and Corbet).
The Problem in Syria
The civil war in Syria is sectarian, with the minority Alawite government fighting the majority but marginalized rebel factions of Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims. Syria has been under military rule since 1963, and Asma Al-Assad was a military ruler through a coup in 1971, until his death in 2000 when his son Bashar Al-Assad took over. Asma did not make significant reforms and Bashar did not honor his promises, which led to the rebellion of 2011. Other factors were: high unemployment rate among the youth, severe drought between 2007 and 2010, free-market policy that benefited only Alawites in the government and some Sunni merchants, an influx of Iraqi refugees, high inflation rates, Arab Spring fever, and human rights abuses which included 50 years of emergency laws, press gagging, limiting freedom of assembly, single party rule, and discrimination against ethnic minorities like Syrian Kurds (Kechichian).
Why the US Is Involved In Syria
The US and Russia have interests in the Middle East’s oil. The US accuses the regime of high-handedness, while Russia wants to retain Al-Assad in order to stem refugee flow into Russia, dominate Syria’s affairs, and check Iran’s increasing influence over Al-Assad. Russia started active participation by bombing rebel targets and supplying arms to the government (Thompson). The US seeks to protect Syria’s and its own national interest in the Middle East. It is concerned about the undemocratic rule and poor human rights record, and has been involved in trying to bring peace into Syria.
Why the US Should Stay Out Of Syria
It is ironical that the US supports a coup in Syria, yet it advocates democratic rule. The intervention of the US when the civil war broke out was minimal until Russia got involved, which proves that US is only serving its national interest. A spillover of Syria’s war into Israel would draw the US into another long war, and its presence creates further tension and instability in the Middle East. Since it has no alternative regime to install, the US should leave Syrian affairs to the Syrians. The US program of training and arming small batches of rebels, who end up being quickly eliminated at the battle front, and financing the rebels covertly through CIA is morally unacceptable (Vasilyeva and Corbet). While Iran and Russia actively support Al-Assad with finances, weapons and aircraft, the US has no meaningful strategy to win the war, bring about reforms in Syria, or find a replacement for Al-Assad (Thompson). In a recent incident, Russia bullied and belittled the US by following a US jet, just when the two countries were signing a memorandum of understanding concerning safe use of the Syrian airspace, an embarrassing matter that showed US as cowardly (Vasilyeva and Corbet).
The Syrian problem needs a Syrian solution because it is historical and sectarian in nature, and the US should adopt a peacekeeping role in the region, promote good governance and peaceful engagement. National interest must not overshadow global order, and especially, the US must avoid conflict with Russia.
Kechichian, Joseph. ‘What Is Russia Playing At In Syria?’. Albawaba. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
Vasilyeva, Nataliya, and Sylvie Corbet. ‘France Tells Putin That Russia Must Confine Airstrikes In Syria To Islamic State Targets’. Brandon Sun. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
Nick Thompson, CNN. ‘Syria’s War, Explained In Graphics – CNN.Com’. CNN. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.