Price of US Inaction in Syria

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There are a plethora of reasons for the U.S. not to intervene in Syria, which have been cited time and time again, and have been largely supported. A recent video showing a Syrian rebel soldier engaging in an act of cannibalism has the US even more hesitant to supply aid to the forces opposing Assad, and understandably so. Yet it is difficult to ignore the increasing horror stories emerging from the region as its interminable civil war rages onwards, descending further into barbarity the longer it lasts. Syria’s war is quickly becoming not only a living hell for its citizens, but a very real threat to its neighbours and to US foreign policy. While it is true that there is a high cost to intervention, the cost of inaction might be even higher.

Assad’s regime has seen a recent resurgence in strength, especially with the backing of Hezbollah. His increasingly brutal fighting – including the use of chemical weapons – is forcing only the extreme factions of each side to endure, intensifying the brutality of the war and its effect. The current situation, where non-lethal aid is provided to the rebels, seems to be having the unfortunate effect of barely sustaining the Syrian population only so that it can continue to suffer its country’s slow death.

The Washington Post recently published an op-ed, weighing the potential effects of an Assad victory for the United States, the most disturbing of which included the destruction of the nation’s years of work in Iraq should the conflict spread. Yet this is only one among a myriad of other very real dangers: Jordan, currently a US ally, may not be able to withstand an influx of refugees. Extremists could gain control of large parts of what is now Syria, creating a breeding ground for terrorism. Assad’s chemical weapons could spread. At the very least, the US’s clout will be called into doubt should it fail to step in.

It is very difficult to deal in potential outcomes when faced with the certainty of placing US soldiers in harm’s way. The US has already seen far too much of war in recent years: Iraq, Afghanistan, interventions in Libya – the President is right to be hesitant to involve the country in another military conflict. Yet the US must carefully examine the situation and decide – at what point does refusing to engage in this war for fear of the results become an inadvertent invitation for a bigger, bloodier conflict further down the line?

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Source: Time,The Washington Post
Photo: Fox News

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