America is the country of justifiable rebellion. During and after the birth of this nation, the enemies the United States swore to defeat were ignorance, tyranny, and fanaticism, a country truly born from Freemasons, and while focus is spread across the revolutions burning in Venezuela and Ukraine, the conflict in Syria officially starts its fourth year, so perhaps the salvation of peace can be offered for this dark age of humanity.
As of September 2013, Assad was known to be a war criminal after the US discovered that he had used sarin gas through hair and blood samples offered to Washington by first responders in Damascus. When he used the nerve agent classified as a weapon of mass destruction by UN Resolution 687 against civilians, in addition to his other atrocities, he abandoned the rules of three out of the four Geneva Conventions adopted in 1949. The UN also received complaints about possible chemical attacks on 16 occasions, seven of which were worth investigating and in four the use of sarin was confirmed. Reports include the use of thermobaric weapons, which add a mixture of fuel and air for combustion, and in August of 2013, the BBC cited the use of incendiary bombs similar to napalm on a school in the north.
This conflict is not a protest, it is not sectarian violence, and it is not even a civil war, this is another uprising against a despotic terrorist and megalomaniac, and at this point for the rebels to win, proponents in the region are saying that it will take a miracle. If there is anything the US can do to provide real help and not tentative bravado, the American government has to remember the intensity of presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, who suggested that it is best to talk softly and carry a big stick, because those who have the power to stop suffering are inherently responsible for it, as Edmund Burke wrote, since the triumph of evil is the result of good men doing nothing. For this to occur when facing paper tigers like Russia and Iran, and for the lack of action in the entire European Union, the blood of the innocent is now on their hands.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that no one can afford to overlook Syria and what he referred to as the worst humanitarian and security crisis in the world. The situation for children is getting to the point that they are being called “the lost generation.” According to UNICEF, the number of kids affected doubled to 5.5 million in the past year. Before the civil strife began, Syria as of March 2011 had enrolled 97 percent of school-age children and literacy rates were higher than the regional average. Two years later, only 30 percent had access to education, and 10 percent of refugee children were working as cheap laborers in cafes and repair shops, if they were lucky enough not to be begging in the street. The Chief Executive of Save the Children, which is based in Lebanon, said that the situation is getting worse, and doctors report that their water is polluted with sewage, that they eat moldy rice and use expired medication, and that they have gone without electricity and baby milk while lacking basic sterility.
Around 10,000 BC, Syria was a part of the Fertile Crescent and a center for Neolithic culture where cattle breeding and farming appeared for the first time in the world, with archaeologists proving that it is one of the oldest civilizations on earth only preceded by those of Mesopotamia. Modern Syria was founded after WWI as a French mandate after the fall of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and earned its independence in April 1946 by becoming a parliamentary republic, but power shifted numerous times through a series of military coups from 1949 to 1970, with 1963 being the end of any hope for the constitutional protection of its citizens. As of now, the system of government is considered to be non-democratic to say the least.
The reason for this is obvious. Bashar Al-Assad and his family, which has ruled the country since 1970, come from a severe minority of Shi’ites in the Alawite religious group that constitutes a mere 12 percent of the entire population. A similar situation, though religiously reversed because the Ba’ath party split in 1966, existed with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and created the same necessity for the oppression of the majority. In Syria, however, it is the Sunnis that constitute three-quarters of the population.
These marginalized groups begging for salvation from the dark age were hit by a drought in 2011, and socioeconomic starvation has gotten worse. Free market policies were initiated by Hafez Al-Assad in his later years in power and were advanced after his son Bashar succeeded him, which of course benefited the minority Shi’ites of the service sector, those who had ties to the government, and the Sunni merchant class in Damascus and Aleppo. The rest of the country has been under Emergency Rule since 1963, outlawing public gatherings of more than five people, and though all political parties other than the Ba’ath Syrian Regional Branch are banned, making it a one-party state without free elections, Assad is pressing ahead this summer with plans to stage a fake election in which he will be handed a third seven-year term.
Worse still, in-fighting among rebel groups is not helping their situation. There was a brief battle in January by diverse factions in the Al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that led to bloodshed in the rebel-controlled north, as well as a break with Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat Al-Nusra in the east. The Supreme Military Council, which is backed by the United States, has also split into feuding camps, but the entire opposition vows to press on and fight to the last man. The statistics of their fortitude are staggering, as so far they have documented between 100,000 and 150,000 deaths, with over 206,000 casualties listed by SOHR, the Syrian Observation for Human Rights, and according to the United Nations, between 4.5 and 5.1 million people have been internally displaced with 3 million refugees forced to flee their homeland and another 130,000 rebels missing or detained.
The turning point for American diplomacy occurred in September of 2013 when in response to escalated violence by the government and 1,400 Syrian civilians being murdered by a chemical weapons attack, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal said that it was time for the world to act and that it would support a US strike if the Syrian people did as well. Though Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Algeria remained opposed to foreign military action, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that he was confident that Congress would back Obama, but that the president also had the authority to act on his own even if Congress did not give its approval.
After Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad called Obama weak, showing hesitation and confusion on the matter, he was eventually proven right when administration officials said that the president took a walk around the White House grounds with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough while contemplating the ramifications of ordering a strike. The moment he decided against it, Obama effectively declared victory for Assad. Know the enemy is the first rule of warfare, and if underestimating the opponent is the first mistake, it is usually the last. Bashar Al-Assad graduated from medical school in 1988 at the Damascus University and was later a physician for the army. He is a cold-blooded and methodical mass murderer with all the backing he will ever need from Russia and Iran. This is a proxy war and a game of chicken between rival nations on a global scale, but for anyone to be shouting fear over World War Three is calling themselves out to be isolationists, as no one believes that Putin and Khamenei are willing to die for the political situation in Syria.
Iran and its theocracy are currently refining nuclear material for the purpose of creating atomic bombs that will overthrow the entire balance of power in the region, even after the dust settles around these fledgling pseudo-democracies and war-torn rebellions. The world knows what Russia is doing now, and blatantly so, and the US administration cannot claim that its own weakness is not culpable for the brazen flouting of human rights in Crimea. The only thing that ever kept a check on the legalism that manifests out of Communism, Socialism, and Fascism alike was the fear of the ruling oligarchies that someone would stand in their way. The Russians and Iranians have already taken their gloves off, so who is going to stand up now that the President of the United States has stepped aside?
Martin Luther King said that the ultimate measure of a man is not what he does in moments of comfort, but what he does in times of controversy, and that the ultimate tragedy is not oppression but the silence of good people.
The US is not going to put troops on the ground to risk another prolonged war or even a drop of American bloodshed, that much is perfectly obvious, and apparently the president will not risk possible damage to international relations with countries that already hate him and actively make political decisions against him. It is known in modern war that if someone owns the sky, they also own the ground, and there is no doubt over America’s capacity to completely own the Syrian stratosphere with waves of unmanned drones, or that the CIA has adequate satellite imagery to know exactly what targets need to be removed to foment the safety of the rebels and civilians. If the US declared that the killing of the innocent must stop, with a mandate from the United Nations and backing from the Arab League, and proceeded as if it was not just an empty threat, it is likely that the Syrian government’s human rights violations would end overnight.
Further solutions involve Saudi Arabia, because with a population that is 85 to 90 percent Sunni and with 18 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, it is the largest exporter of petroleum on the planet and has the capacity to temporarily handle refugees. Unfortunately the Arab League defers to the UN, which is failing to put enough international aid programs at the forefront to even supply food and water, let alone an alternative way of escaping from the violence other than becoming nomads in the desert. If a solution is possible, it will come with the spread of democracy, but somebody has to stand up for it against the fear that fills people with doubt over the unknown. The future of this world and the salvation of humanity from the current dark age will rest in how America responds to places like Syria, and history will judge everyone for the decisions elected officials choose to make during this eon of rebellion. Right now, they are the ones dying and bleeding and reaching out for help, and this is inevitably going to set the tone for what will happen in Ukraine and Venezuela and so forth as people start waking up to the possibility of freedom.
Americans were willing to die for this once, it was victory or nothing against the British, but now the US seems willing to abdicate power to tyrants who mutilate children and use chemical weapons on the elderly, calling into question whether or not the appreciation of liberty lends itself to those who are still enslaved.
By Elijah Stephens