The use of chemical weapons may be the push needed to have the United States play a much bigger role than it has during the Syrian conflict that has ranged on for two years. Recently intelligence reports from the U.S, Great Britain, and Israel say that they believe that some chemical weapon has been used in the fierce fighting between the Assad’s government and the Syrian opposition. Now it must be stated that the United States has waited to long to play a more active role in the Syrian conflict.
As months went by and the United States did not play a role everyone may have expected it to play. I mean it did catch a couple of people off that the U.S has yet to provided the Syrian Opposition with any weapons to “equal” the playing field against the Assad government. However, the country of Qatar and one more Persian Gulf state have been providing arms to the Opposition.
A major issue that the United States and its allies are worried about in regards to arming the rebels is who receives them. Over the two years jihadist groups have been able to infiltrate the opposition and assist in fighting Assad’s government. Recent attacks on high level officials show the signature of jihadist militants. On Monday the Prime Minster of Syria Wael al-Halki was targeted in car bombing attack by insurgents. The Prime Minister came out of the attack unscathed however, nine people were killed and seventeen injured. Attacks like this make more nations hesitant on contributing arms to the Syrian Opposition.
Now lets look at how we handled the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. As the United States and the rest of the world saw the potential spread of communism towards the west action had to be done to prevent that from happening. The United States help supply the taliban with not only weapons and money but training as well. After the Soviets were pushed out of Afghanistan the Taliban took control of the country. Then in 2001 the United States invaded the country of Afghanistan after the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
If we give arms to the opposition what guarantee do we have that those weapons go in the right hands? If history can teach us anything it has taught us of our mistakes in how we handle situations very similar to what we see now. However, with more and more talk of possible chemical use by the Assad government more action may come from Washington. President Obama has stated that if the Assad regime was to use chemical weapons then that would be a “game changer” on how the U.S policy will be towards Syria.
As chief U.N. weapons chemical expert Ake Sellstorm attempts to gain access to Syria to inspect the sites where accounts of chemical weapons have been used, the Assad government has stated they will allow only one site to be inspected. In a New York Times article by ANNE BARNARD and ALAN COWELL the current status of Syria “The United Nations has estimated that the conflict has killed more than 70,000 people, left 6.8 million in need, displaced 4.25 million inside the country and forced about 1.4 million to flee to neighboring countries.” We have waited too long to take the necessary steps to prevent complete loss of control. The same procedures that were taken in Libya may have been an option to take in imposing a no fly zone in Syria. Deterring the Syrian government from using its Air Force and scud missiles against innocent civilians. However, a strong supporter of Syria, Russia and China have played a role in the U.N that may block any such move.
The correct and humane thing to do would be to find a way to take out this tyrant and prosecute those who took part in the killings of innocent civilians from government officials down to the generals who carried out those orders. When I say prosecute them I say in the same way Nazi officers were prosecuted in the Nuremberg Trials. However, that seems a far fetched possibility. As more days pass by and months change more and more jihadist militants will enter into the fight against the Assad regime.
We potentially will be handing the government of Syria to possible affiliates of jihadist militant groups who can create unstable region even after the fall of Assad. We are facing a lot of outcomes for the possible future of Syria. The more we wait the worst it will get however, if we do get involved how can we do it where we do not have a repeat in Afghanistan where terrorist networks were being harbored by the Taliban government.
This will be a tough and difficult road we are facing. If chemical weapons were used the possibility of a stronger intervention will happen however, to what extent. Will we arm or will we just place more sanctions. Will we begin to think of placing boots on the ground to secure the chemical stockpiles in the country because we know once that Assad governments falls those chemical stockpiles may be up for grabs to some of these jihadist extremist or sold within the black market. Policy makers have to come to a realization that eventually boots on the ground may be the option on the table. Those stockpiles can be a major threat to national security not only for the U.S but also it’s allies. Because who else will secure the chemical facilities? The Syrian Opposition who have extremist within different rebel groups.
World leaders need to unite on a common goal for Syria. Plans that will involve the monitoring of Syria after the fall of Assad because he will fall, and the securing of warhouse which hold these chemical weapons. A plan to weed with the new government in weeding out those who pose a potential threat of the new body of government. To even show our good will we should find ways that we can assit in rebuilding Syria’s infrastructure which is now in rubbles with the fighting going on. Something similar to the Marshal Plan. Again a thought that seems so far from happening.