Saving Syria in 3, 2, 1, 1, 1…

by RimaAlha on February 23, 2015 - 5:34pm

A civil war in Syria is going on since 2011. Several times, the UN discussed possibilities of intervention to remove the Assad regime but Russia used the veto every time to counter these efforts. In 2013, the United States prepared themselves to enter in Syria with the help of France but the plans were canceled. Several political leaders such as Barack Obama, François Hollande and Steven Harper condemned the brutal actions of the Syrian government against its own people. However, what should we think of the fact that nothing happened yet? No intervention has been done in a proper manner and Bachar Al Assad is still bombarding civilians. After these events, France decided to revive the debate on limiting the right to vetoes in case of mass crimes. On the other hand, the problem is not Russia’s veto for Syria... it’s much more than that.

            Syrians are in a dead end. Al Assad may be killing them now, but he kept all religious tensions under control during so many years, and his father did the same before him. Presently, the Islamic state is gaining power in Syria, as well as the rebels, while other minorities are being persecuted. Without governance, the country will likely fall into chaos and there may be worse than the actual dictator. An earlier intervention would have been efficient, but it is late now. In this case, playing the dices of chance and hoping that it will not be worse is a big responsibility for Occidental countries.

            The first ones to fear an Islamic rise are the United States. Intervening in Syria may help them to control the Middle East and stabilize the region but the situation is trickier than it seems and an involvement will not necessarily lead to a good end. Since the beginning, Iran sends troops and political advisors to keep rebels under control while Russia sell loads of weapons to the Syrian regime for the same purpose. If USA tempts anything to help rebels, Russia and Iran will likely throw their pinch of salt and negotiations with those countries would be endless.

            France however seems to be eager to eradicate the Syrian regime from the map. Hollande stated that France was prepared to “punish” the ones who used chemical weapons in Syria (Marlière par.3). Yet, when USA backed off from the intervention, France did the same. In reality, France seems to have lost their dedication to Syria, but their purpose stays the same: “stick as close as possible to Obama and Cameron” (Marlière par.2). France’s public is opposed by 59% to military intervention though and the slogan used by the opposition is “No to war on our pensions!”. For the French president, it may be more difficult to decide whether to intervene or not when his own people do not really favor this option.

            Canada also declared that “a firm response” (Mulholland par. 1) to the use of chemical weapons is needed. When USA decided to attack however, Canada stated that time is too short to assemble troops and waiting after their neighbor’s actions is a better choice. Despite these statements, Canada will likely stay “a sort of moral support, and political support” (par. 5) for Syria. In fact, they confirmed that 42.8$ million will be put in humanitarian aid to help Syrian refugees in other countries (Mulholland par. 11).

            For occidental countries, Syria is really a lot of work but they have to intervene because their credibility regarding human rights and freedom is threatened  (Pearlman par. 24). A point that has not been discussed yet is a central part of this whole equation: Israel. In Syria, Iraq, Egypt and several countries having dictators at their head for years, the people are for the most part against Israel. Yet, none attacked it. The United States, proud protector of Israel, let dictators rule their country with brutality in exchange with a certain peace with Israel. When the revolution started in Syria, Al Assad’s actions were too violent to be ignored by Occidental leaders. Seeing a coalition forming, the Syrian regime decided to free all the Muslim extremists who were kept in prisons for so many years – Syria is one of the only countries to repress any Islamic burst since 1982. These liberations turned a revolution into a war against terrorism and Al Assad looks like he is now fighting the Islamic state. These events calmed occidental countries who want the Islamists to stay under control and they sent troops to fight it.

            In the end, maybe occidental countries never really wanted to send help. They only hoped that there will be something to back them off. However, we cannot be sure of anything. So many things happen behind those political curtains and it is pretty hard to distinguish truth from lies. Despite this uncertainty, I believe helping Syria has never been part of occidental countries’ plans. They ignored the horrible acts happening out there for too long. Pretending to be deeply sorry for a nation serves nothing if actions are absent. I still hope something would change, but the Syrian regime may drop an atomic bomb before anybody sends help, and that is if they send help at all.


Marlière, Philippe. "Syria Intervention: After the UK Vote France's next Move Is Crucial." theguardian., 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.

Mulholland, Angela. "Military Intervention in Syria: What Role Might Canada Play?" Canada AM. CTV News, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.

Pearlman, Wendy. "The Argument Against U.S. Intervention in Syria... And Why It's Wrong." The Huffington Post., 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


Hi Rima! I really liked your post, it was really insightful and interesting! The Red Cross has a lot of volunteering opportunities to help civilians accross the world, including Syria. You should check their website out!

All the best,

Hello RimaAlha! I’m glad to have come across your post, because it addresses a serious problem that has, over the years, slipped out of the main public spotlight, yet lost none of its urgency. Your post is very good at outlining the many parties directly and indirectly involved with the strife in Syria, as well as the lack of any conclusive action undertaken by outside governments. I believe the central moral dilemma of the whole Syrian situation is really the question of whether other countries have the right and moral duty to intervene.

You seem to lean towards interventionism in this post; it is clear that you consider it our moral duty as humans to take decisive action to address the crimes against human values of life and freedom taking place in Syria. It must be noted, however, that other viewpoints exist as to whether or not other countries should intervene in Syria’s internal affairs; notably the ethical perspective of relativism that demands we respect the cultural and societal values of other groups, as well as view our own values critically. An ethical relativist would argue that we have no right to impose our own values on a different society, for on what basis can we judge our own moral values as superior? In addition, the United States has a troubling history of armed intervention, which often leads the country being 'liberated' in worse shape than it was found.

Personally, I think we must defend fundamental human rights and should intervene in Syria; albeit in a fashion that allows the people of Syria to fairly choose their own system of governance and maintain their cultural integrity after the fact. I simply wished to point out why some people may be opposed to an intervention, deeming the situation of Syria to be ‘none of their business’.

It is amazing how Syria has been in this huge crisis for years and not many interventions have been taken. In a matter a fact, I think that Canada has just now realized to really take action. I believe that since the population is only now pushing the government to take action because of the Kurdi incident, the government has no choice but to step in. The crisis has even become one of the main issues in the ongoing federal election campaign. I truly hope Canada will finally get involved, although it should have been done earlier on.

I encourage you to read this article of you want to know more about the Kurdi tragedy: