December 1, 2020

Politically Incorrect: Diplomacy has failed in Syria, so what’s next?

Death does not discriminate during war and the Syrian conflict is no exception. Women and children have been killed in systematic executions, wiping out entire families. This conflict needs to end, but the United Nations’ diplomatic solutions have been severely unsuccessful. Pacifists claim that intervention and a no-fly zone would not solve the problem and would worsen the conflict. Yet, those opposed to intervention offer no other alternative aside from their failed policy of negotiating with President Bashar al-Assad.
The problem with attempting to continue negotiations between the rebels and the government is neither side wants to talk. It is almost impossible to create a dialogue between two parties who are too busy shooting at each other. War is the breakdown of politics and it is safe to say Syria is at war with itself without a political solution in sight.
The Egyptian-based activist group, Local Coordination Committees, reported 4,933 civilians were killed in August alone. This is larger than any monthly civilian death toll for the entire duration of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The failure of the U.N. and the lack of a unique and effective alternative cause me to believe the only way this conflict can be resolved is through force. The only party with the means is NATO.
A NATO intervention does not mean American soldiers invading another Middle-Eastern country. Nor does it mean the United States should take the forefront in this endeavor. In 2011, Britain and France took the lead in the implementation of a NATO no-fly zone over Libya, which helped successfully bring down the brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi and prevented multiple potential civilian massacres, most notably in Benghazi.
The British foreign secretary and his French counterpart have both stated, in reference to a journalist’s questions on a NATO intervention, no option has been left off the table. And no option should be left off the table. If there is a way to diplomatically end this conflict, it should be pursued at all costs, but there is none, except for the idea of continuing to attempt to talk things out with a power-hungry dictator as he kills scores of Syrians. Even Kofi Annan threw up his hands and gave up on the peace process.
Despite the necessity of a military intervention, no plan is perfect. A NATO intervention in Syria will cause deaths. But not intervening at all will drag this conflict out for years, raising the death toll exponentially.
What is also important to note is a military intervention in Syria does not necessarily mean regime change. I am simply advocating for a military intervention to prevent the killings from continuing. It clearly won’t happen through a U.N. peacekeeping mandate.
Turkey, Egypt and France have already vocalized support for an intervention in Syria. The United States has already stationed bio-hazard equipment in Turkey in case Assad decides to use the chemical weapons he has threatened to unleash. Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army is left barely able to fend off Assad’s onslaught. Although it is not necessarily the United States’ job to be the world’s policeman, it should take every opportunity to end deadly conflicts in which it has the means to do so.

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