Syrian war is everybody’s problem

This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. /
This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. /

*By Frida Ghitis, Special to CNN

Last week, a huge explosion rocked the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds. The victims of the blast in a busy downtown street were mostly civilians, including schoolchildren. Each side in the Syrian civil war blamed the other.

In the northern city of Aleppo, about 58 people — 36 of them children — died in a missile attack last week. Washington condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad; the world looked at the awful images and moved on.

Syria is ripping itself to pieces. The extent of human suffering is beyond comprehension. That alone should be reason enough to encourage a determined effort to bring this conflict to a quick resolution. But if humanitarian reasons were not enough, the international community — including the U.S. and its allies — should weigh the potential implications of allowing this calamity to continue.

We’ve all heard the argument: It’s not our problem. We’re not the world’s policeman. We would only make it worse.

This is not a plea to send American or European troops to fight in this conflict. Nobody wants that.

But before we allow this mostly hands-off approach to continue, we would do well to consider the potential toll ofcontinuing with a failed policy, one that has focused in vain over the past two years searching for a diplomatic solution.

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry has just announced that the U.S. will provide an additional $60 million in non-lethal assistance to the opposition. He has hinted that President Obama, after rejecting suggestions from the CIA and previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to arm Syrian rebels, might be ready to change course. And not a day too soon.

The war is taking longer than anyone expected. The longer it lasts, the more Syria is radicalized and the region is destabilized.

If you think the Syrian war is the concern of Syrians alone, think about other countries that have torn themselves apart over a long time. Consider Lebanon, Afghanistan or Somalia; each with unique circumstances, but with one thing in common: Their wars created enormous suffering at home, and the destructiveness eventually spilled beyond their borders. All of those wars triggered lengthy, costly refugee crises. They all spawned international terrorism and eventually direct international — including U.S. — intervention.

The uprising against al-Assad started two years ago in the spirit of what was then referred to — without a hint of irony — as the Arab Spring. Young Syrians marched, chanting for freedom and democracy. The ideals of equality, rule of law and human rights wafted in the air.

Al-Assad responded to peaceful protests with gunfire. Syrians started dying by the hundreds each day. Gradually the nonviolent protesters started fighting back. Members of the Syrian army started defecting.

The opposition’s Free Syrian Army came together. Factions within the Syrian opposition took up arms and the political contest became a brutal civil war. The death toll has climbed to as many as 90,000,according to Kerry. About 2 million people have left their homes, and the killing continues with no end in sight.

In fairness to Washington, Europe and the rest of the international community, there were never easy choices in this war. Opposition leaders bickered, and their clashing views scared away would-be supporters.Western nations rejected the idea of arming the opposition, saying Syria already has too many weapons. They were also concerned about who would control the weaponry, including an existing arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, after al-Assad’s fall.

These are all legitimate concerns. But inaction is producing the worst possible outcome.

The moderates, whose views most closely align with the West, are losing out to the better-armed Islamists and, especially, to the extremists. Moderates are losing the ideological debate and the battle for the future character of a Syria after al-Assad.

Radical Islamist groups have taken the lead. Young people are losing faith in moderation, lured by disciplined, devout extremists. Reporters on the ground have seen young democracy advocates turn into fervent supporters of dangerous groups such as the Nusra Front, which has scored impressive victories.

The U.S. State Department recently listed the Nusra Front, which has close ties to al Qaeda in Iraq and a strong anti-Western ideology, as a terrorist organization.

Meantime, countries bordering Syria are experiencing repercussions. And these are likely to become more dangerous.

Jordan, an important American ally, is struggling with a flood of refugees, as many as 10,000 each week since the start of the year. The government estimates 380,000 Syrians are in Jordan, a country whose government is under pressure from its own restive population and still dealing with huge refugee populations from other wars.

Turkey is also burdened with hundreds of thousands of refugeesand occasional Syrian fire. Israel has warned about chemical weapons transfers from al-Assad to Hezbollah in Lebanon and may have already fired on a Syrian convoy attempting the move.

Lebanon, always perched precariously on the edge of crisis, lives with growing fears that Syria’s war will enter its borders. Despite denials, there is evidence that Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a close ally of al-Assad and of Iran, has joined the fighting on the side of the Syrian president. The Free Syrian Army has threatened to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon if it doesn’t leave Syria.

The possible outcomes in Syria include the emergence of a failed state, stirring unrest throughout the region. If al-Assad wins, Syria will become an even more repressive country.

Al-Assad’s survival would fortify Iran and Hezbollah and other anti-Western forces. If the extremists inside the opposition win, Syria could see factional fighting for many years, followed by anti-democratic, anti-Western policies.

The only good outcome is victory for the opposition’s moderate forces. They may not be easy to identify with complete certainty. But to the extent that it is possible, these forces need Western support.

They need training, funding, careful arming and strong political and diplomatic backing. The people of Syria should know that support for human rights, democracy and pluralism will lead toward a peaceful, prosperous future.

Democratic nations should not avert their eyes from the killings in Syria which are, after all, a warning to the world.

Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of “The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television.” Follow her on Twitter: @FridaGColumns

CNN

  • Drug Dealer

    No one cared when the Lebanese were ripping each other apart. The Syrians cared even less they raped our girls, stole our goods, beat us up, took our money and controlled our lives; they showed no mercy to us they were savages in our own country. Why should we care? Let the same thing happen to them that happened to us. What goes around comes around!!!

    • AntiFSA01

      From what you have written, you should change your name from drug dealer to drug user

      • master09

        Looks as if others use drugs just as much. Because when the SYrians kicked us out of our house and lived in it for 10 years and no body could do a thing, I guess we where on drugs too. We should have let them take our fn lives to . I remember a guy parking his car in tripoli in front of a Syrian office or building with no signs, they came out told him to move, he said why this is not private property and refused to move it, half hour later he was shot. But we where on drugs to see that, a made up story. Syrians did nothing your rite 100%. We all make up stories but you, you are a legend. I see we all talk shit but some of us have been doing it for so long that we forget when to stop. You see you fail to also understand people and you shot them down as soon as you see something that you translate the way you want .

        You see I think Assad should stay,
        And maybe he should go I do not know, but I have never supported any group and see the faults in every single one of them and that they do not care for the people but war and politics. That is every one of them. I can say to you I do not know everything and do not know about everyone that’s for sure, but I have the jugglers to admit that.

        • hariri assaoudi

          when the syrians stole our lands they cut the fruit trees and used their wood for warming; they grew hashish and opium instead; they also stole our 100 000 dollar water pump; naively my father complained to them and within two days they told him they found the thief but they wanted 35 000 dollar to release the pump; lol…..unfortunately most of those syrian criminals and thieves are now stealing in syria in the ranks of the “democoranic free syrian army”

          • 5thDrawer

            And Leb-gov’t ‘fees’ still work the same way as the pump thing.
            By the way, anyone see an ‘electricity ship’??

          • master09

            It left before the titanic, it is a divers dream.

      • Drug Dealer

        What I stated are facts you ask any Lebanses who lived in Lebanon when the Syrians were there. I don’t know which world you live in; wake up and see what is happening!! Or maybe you are awake but HIGH as kite hallucinating from the drugs I sold you.

    • hezzies are terrorists

      Two wrongs don’t make a right! As for your callous disregard for human life, you disgust me!!! What does one expect from a drug dealer.

      • Drug Dealer

        You must live in a perfect world. The Lebanese should just forget what the Syrians did to them?? As for disregard for human life, I have the greatest regard for human life; but why should I have regard for Syrian life? Because they raped our girls, stole our goods, beat us up, took our money and controlled our lives; they showed no mercy to us they were savages in our own country!!!!! I wonder how you feel if all that happened to you or your family of friends. They treated us like animals even worse. BUT HEY MY NAME IS DAVID FOLTMAN NONE OF THIS HAPPENED TO ME SO I CAN JUDGE HOW PEOPLE ARE TO FEEL AND THINK BECAUSE I LIVE IN IDEAL WORLD!! Get out of your hole & stop snorting the drugs I sold you and see the real world for what it is. What goes around comes around!! That’s the REAL WORLD!!!!

    • Btru2u

      Your Mind must be too befogged to decide what is good and what is evil. You stand for nothing.

      • Drug Dealer

        So what do you stand for??? Or should I say “Bend over for?” Because it seems you want me to forget what happened to us Lebanese at the hands of the Syrians and take it bending over. Well guess what? I have pride & honour which no one will ever take away. You can take it bending over as much as you like but I won’t. Next time try making a worthwhile statement, look at the history of the Syrians (especially their actions & attitudes) towards the Lebanese. You must enjoy bending over a lot!!!!!

  • Drug Dealer

    No one cared when the Lebanese were ripping each other apart. The Syrians cared even less they raped our girls, stole our goods, beat us up, took our money and controlled our lives; they showed no mercy to us they were savages in our own country. Why should we care? Let the same thing happen to them that happened to us. What goes around comes around!!!

    • AntiFSA01

      From what you have written, you should change your name from drug dealer to drug user

      • master09

        Looks as if others use drugs just as much. Because when the SYrians kicked us out of our house and lived in it for 10 years and no body could do a thing, I guess we where on drugs too. We should have let them take our fn lives to . I remember a guy parking his car in tripoli in front of a Syrian office or building with no signs, they came out told him to move, he said why this is not private property and refused to move it, half hour later he was shot. But we where on drugs to see that, a made up story. Syrians did nothing your rite 100%. We all make up stories but you, you are a legend. I see we all talk shit but some of us have been doing it for so long that we forget when to stop.

        • hariri assaoudi

          when the syrians stole our lands they cut the fruit trees and used their wood for warming; they grew hashish and opium instead; they also stole our 100 000 dollar water pump; naively my father complained to them and within two days they told him they found the thief but they wanted 35 000 dollar to release the pump; lol…..unfortunately most of those syrian criminals and thieves are now stealing in syria in the ranks of the “democoranic free syrian army”

          • 5thDrawer

            And Leb-gov’t ‘fees’ still work the same way as the pump thing.
            By the way, anyone see an ‘electricity ship’??

          • master09

            It left before the titanic, it is a divers dream.

      • Drug Dealer

        What I stated are facts you ask any Lebanses who lived in Lebanon when the Syrians were there. I don’t know which world you live in; wake up and see what is happening!! Or maybe you are awake but HIGH as kite hallucinating from the drugs I sold you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=748130073 David Foltman

      Two wrongs don’t make a right! As for your callous disregard for human life, you disgust me!!! What does one expect from a drug dealer.

      • Drug Dealer

        You must live in a perfect world. The Lebanese should just forget what the Syrians did to them?? As for disregard for human life, I have the greatest regard for human life; but why should I have regard for Syrian life? Because they raped our girls, stole our goods, beat us up, took our money and controlled our lives; they showed no mercy to us they were savages in our own country!!!!! I wonder how you feel if all that happened to you or your family of friends. They treated us like animals even worse. BUT HEY MY NAME IS DAVID FOLTMAN NONE OF THIS HAPPENED TO ME SO I CAN JUDGE HOW PEOPLE ARE TO FEEL AND THINK BECAUSE I LIVE IN IDEAL WORLD!! Get out of your hole & stop snorting the drugs I sold you and see the real world for what it is. What goes around comes around!! That’s the REAL WORLD!!!!

    • Btru2u

      Your Mind must be too befogged to decide what is good and what is evil. You stand for nothing.

      • Drug Dealer

        So what do you stand for??? Or should I say “Bend over for?” Because it seems you want me to forget what happened to us Lebanese at the hands of the Syrians and take it bending over. Well guess what? I have pride & honour which no one will ever take away. You can take it bending over as much as you like but I won’t. Next time try making a worthwhile statement, look at the history of the Syrians (especially their actions & attitudes) towards the Lebanese. You must enjoy bending over a lot!!!!!

  • Drug Dealer

    No one cared when the Lebanese were ripping each other apart. The Syrians cared even less they raped our girls, stole our goods, beat us up, took our money and controlled our lives; they showed no mercy to us they were savages in our own country. Why should we care? Let the same thing happen to them that happened to us. What goes around comes around!!!

    • AntiFSA01

      From what you have written, you should change your name from drug dealer to drug user

      • master09

        Looks as if others use drugs just as much. Because when the SYrians kicked us out of our house and lived in it for 10 years and no body could do a thing, I guess we where on drugs too. We should have let them take our fn lives to . I remember a guy parking his car in tripoli in front of a Syrian office or building with no signs, they came out told him to move, he said why this is not private property and refused to move it, half hour later he was shot. But we where on drugs to see that, a made up story. Syrians did nothing your rite 100%. We all make up stories but you, you are a legend. I see we all talk shit but some of us have been doing it for so long that we forget when to stop.

        • hariri assaoudi

          when the syrians stole our lands they cut the fruit trees and used their wood for warming; they grew hashish and opium instead; they also stole our 100 000 dollar water pump; naively my father complained to them and within two days they told him they found the thief but they wanted 35 000 dollar to release the pump; lol…..unfortunately most of those syrian criminals and thieves are now stealing in syria in the ranks of the “democoranic free syrian army”

          • 5thDrawer

            And Leb-gov’t ‘fees’ still work the same way as the pump thing.
            By the way, anyone see an ‘electricity ship’??

          • master09

            It left before the titanic, it is a divers dream.

      • Drug Dealer

        What I stated are facts you ask any Lebanses who lived in Lebanon when the Syrians were there. I don’t know which world you live in; wake up and see what is happening!! Or maybe you are awake but HIGH as kite hallucinating from the drugs I sold you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=748130073 David Foltman

      Two wrongs don’t make a right! As for your callous disregard for human life, you disgust me!!! What does one expect from a drug dealer.

      • Drug Dealer

        You must live in a perfect world. The Lebanese should just forget what the Syrians did to them?? As for disregard for human life, I have the greatest regard for human life; but why should I have regard for Syrian life? Because they raped our girls, stole our goods, beat us up, took our money and controlled our lives; they showed no mercy to us they were savages in our own country!!!!! I wonder how you feel if all that happened to you or your family of friends. They treated us like animals even worse. BUT HEY MY NAME IS DAVID FOLTMAN NONE OF THIS HAPPENED TO ME SO I CAN JUDGE HOW PEOPLE ARE TO FEEL AND THINK BECAUSE I LIVE IN IDEAL WORLD!! Get out of your hole & stop snorting the drugs I sold you and see the real world for what it is. What goes around comes around!! That’s the REAL WORLD!!!!

    • Btru2u

      Your Mind must be too befogged to decide what is good and what is evil. You stand for nothing.

      • Drug Dealer

        So what do you stand for??? Or should I say “Bend over for?” Because it seems you want me to forget what happened to us Lebanese at the hands of the Syrians and take it bending over. Well guess what? I have pride & honour which no one will ever take away. You can take it bending over as much as you like but I won’t. Next time try making a worthwhile statement, look at the history of the Syrians (especially their actions & attitudes) towards the Lebanese. You must enjoy bending over a lot!!!!!

  • Btru2u

    Anti-Islamic nature of foreign policy revealed on Syria and Burma

    Burmese President Thein Sein arrived in Australia on, Sunday 17 March 2013, for a three-day tour in which he will meet the Prime Minister, Governor-General and business leaders and be the guest of honour at a state lunch at Government House.

    A day earlier Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that Australia would list Jabhat al-Nusrah, one of the Islamic groups fighting the Assad regime in Syria, as a terrorist organisation, saying, “There is no place for violent extremist groups such as Al-Nusrah in Syria or elsewhere.”

    Uthman Badar, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, commenting on these developments said,

    “We remind the Foreign Minister, first and foremost, that he has no place dictating what should or should not happen in Syria. Australia should mind its own business and cease interfering in the affairs of the Muslim World. We also remind him that he is in no position on lecturing others about terrorism given the horrendous record of his own government and its allies, greater terrorists than whom the 21st century has not seen.”

    “The juxtaposition of Australia’s policy on Syria and Burma reveal clearly the anti-Islamic nature of its foreign policy. On Syria, Australia has watched on from the sidelines, offering little more than rhetoric, as the Assad regime has butchered the people of Syria in the tens of thousands and in the most inhumane of ways. Now, it seeks to take a stand against sincere Muslims groups defending themselves against the brutality of the Assad regime. It is clear that the Australia’s position has little to do with terrorism. Rather, it is based on its desire to suffocate the Syrian uprising and prevent it from reaching its natural end in the establishment of the Islamic state.

    On the other hand, Australia rolls out the red carpet for proven terrorists such as President Thein Sein whose hands have not yet dried from the blood of the Royhinga Muslims of Arakan province which his regime spilt with impunity less than a year ago. The Australian Government is sending a clear message that it is not only an enemy of Muslims itself, but also a close friend of all those who have enmity for Muslims.”

    “The question is do Australian policymakers, who carry this anti-Islam policy, really care about the true interests of their own people, in the short and long-term? Are they really aware of the consequences of waging war against a great nation like the Muslims whose return to leading the world is imminent?”

  • Btru2u

    Anti-Islamic nature of foreign policy revealed on Syria and Burma

    Burmese President Thein Sein arrived in Australia on, Sunday 17 March 2013, for a three-day tour in which he will meet the Prime Minister, Governor-General and business leaders and be the guest of honour at a state lunch at Government House.

    A day earlier Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that Australia would list Jabhat al-Nusrah, one of the Islamic groups fighting the Assad regime in Syria, as a terrorist organisation, saying, “There is no place for violent extremist groups such as Al-Nusrah in Syria or elsewhere.”

    Uthman Badar, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, commenting on these developments said,

    “We remind the Foreign Minister, first and foremost, that he has no place dictating what should or should not happen in Syria. Australia should mind its own business and cease interfering in the affairs of the Muslim World. We also remind him that he is in no position on lecturing others about terrorism given the horrendous record of his own government and its allies, greater terrorists than whom the 21st century has not seen.”

    “The juxtaposition of Australia’s policy on Syria and Burma reveal clearly the anti-Islamic nature of its foreign policy. On Syria, Australia has watched on from the sidelines, offering little more than rhetoric, as the Assad regime has butchered the people of Syria in the tens of thousands and in the most inhumane of ways. Now, it seeks to take a stand against sincere Muslims groups defending themselves against the brutality of the Assad regime. It is clear that the Australia’s position has little to do with terrorism. Rather, it is based on its desire to suffocate the Syrian uprising and prevent it from reaching its natural end in the establishment of the Islamic state.

    On the other hand, Australia rolls out the red carpet for proven terrorists such as President Thein Sein whose hands have not yet dried from the blood of the Royhinga Muslims of Arakan province which his regime spilt with impunity less than a year ago. The Australian Government is sending a clear message that it is not only an enemy of Muslims itself, but also a close friend of all those who have enmity for Muslims.”

    “The question is do Australian policymakers, who carry this anti-Islam policy, really care about the true interests of their own people, in the short and long-term? Are they really aware of the consequences of waging war against a great nation like the Muslims whose return to leading the world is imminent?”

  • Btru2u

    Anti-Islamic nature of foreign policy revealed on Syria and Burma

    Burmese President Thein Sein arrived in Australia on, Sunday 17 March 2013, for a three-day tour in which he will meet the Prime Minister, Governor-General and business leaders and be the guest of honour at a state lunch at Government House.

    A day earlier Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that Australia would list Jabhat al-Nusrah, one of the Islamic groups fighting the Assad regime in Syria, as a terrorist organisation, saying, “There is no place for violent extremist groups such as Al-Nusrah in Syria or elsewhere.”

    Uthman Badar, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, commenting on these developments said,

    “We remind the Foreign Minister, first and foremost, that he has no place dictating what should or should not happen in Syria. Australia should mind its own business and cease interfering in the affairs of the Muslim World. We also remind him that he is in no position on lecturing others about terrorism given the horrendous record of his own government and its allies, greater terrorists than whom the 21st century has not seen.”

    “The juxtaposition of Australia’s policy on Syria and Burma reveal clearly the anti-Islamic nature of its foreign policy. On Syria, Australia has watched on from the sidelines, offering little more than rhetoric, as the Assad regime has butchered the people of Syria in the tens of thousands and in the most inhumane of ways. Now, it seeks to take a stand against sincere Muslims groups defending themselves against the brutality of the Assad regime. It is clear that the Australia’s position has little to do with terrorism. Rather, it is based on its desire to suffocate the Syrian uprising and prevent it from reaching its natural end in the establishment of the Islamic state.

    On the other hand, Australia rolls out the red carpet for proven terrorists such as President Thein Sein whose hands have not yet dried from the blood of the Royhinga Muslims of Arakan province which his regime spilt with impunity less than a year ago. The Australian Government is sending a clear message that it is not only an enemy of Muslims itself, but also a close friend of all those who have enmity for Muslims.”

    “The question is do Australian policymakers, who carry this anti-Islam policy, really care about the true interests of their own people, in the short and long-term? Are they really aware of the consequences of waging war against a great nation like the Muslims whose return to leading the world is imminent?”