On The Crisis in Syria and Historical Inevitability

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Lately, I have been hearing a great deal of talk inside the beltway about the inevitable decline of America.  The buzz is that all great powers, from that of Rome to Great Britain, have inevitably risen and fallen, and that the United States, because of a series of severe miscalculations in recent years, is in a period of rapidly spiraling decline.  They argue that the age of the current domination of the United States over the world order, at least since the fall of the Soviet empire, is over, and feel that this is a perfectly acceptable option.  I would like to assert that if this were the case, then this would be tremendously tragic for all people of good will throughout the world.

As I write these words, the Syrian opposition is in its eleventh month of a bloody struggle against the brutally repressive government of Bashar Assad.  The people in Syria have been seen for months desperately crying out for help on You Tube videos and often within the mainstream media.  Recent reports coming out of the United Nations put the most recent death toll at 5,400, as of January 10th, more than a month ago, but according to several Syrian dissidents I have spoken with, the death toll is by now, close to 8,000. In the meantime, 20,000 to 30,000 people have been summarily disappeared from the streets, including children.

Today, the western city of Homs suffered its eleventh day of bombardment of its pro-opposition neighborhoods. On this day alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that another twenty people have been killed.  Navi Pillay, the UN Commissioner of Human Rights, spoke at the United Nations yesterday, and said that “the suffering of Syrian civilians will continue as long as the international community fails to take action.

The way in which the Obama administration has been behaving, however, in regards to this urgent situation indicates that:  a.) nature abhors a vacuum and b.) without the moral leadership of the United States, there is a danger that the very most egregious and despotic powers threaten to step in and to fill the void.

On February 4th, Russia and China vetoed an Arab League Resolution calling on the government of Bashar Assad to step down.  This led to a statement from the Arab League on February 12th, calling for the formation a joint UN Arab-League Peacekeeping force to support the Syrian opposition. The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, supported the idea, saying ,”Such a mission could have an important role to play in saving human lives.”

Unfortunately, our own Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked, “I don’t know that it is going to be possible to persuade Syria. They have already as of today, rejected that.”

This would be akin to Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, under Franklin D. Roosevelt, first calling to ask Adolf Hitler’s permission before landing troops on the beaches of Normandy.

Where is the moral clarity coming out of our own nation?  Even without committing troops on the ground there is a great deal more that we can be doing to help the Syrian opposition, such as providing them with money, weapons, ammunition, and communication devices to organize themselves and to reach the outside world.

By ignoring this tremendous human need, we are only strengthening the genocidal hands of Iran and that of Hizballah. It has long been known that there is a great “axis of evil” between Iran, Syria and Hizballah, that goes back for at least the last thirty years. Iran has long been importing weapons to and training Syrian backed Hizballah. This has then been exported to Lebanon, which has become a puppet state of Hizballah.

So, if we abandon the people that are crying out for our help in Syria, who will swoop in to fill the void?

Last week, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahari said that “The brave, jihadi Syrian people rose and will never accept anything less than victory over the criminal butchers.”

Al-Zawahari is obviously trying to seize this opportunity for Al Qaeda to profit from the chaos that has been sweeping throughout the Arab world, from Egypt to Yemen.

I understand that people in the State Department and the Obama administration are tired of the mess and confusion of the current Middle East. They want to switch the channel to the Far East. The growing crises in this region of the world, however, will not wait for us to suddenly regain interest in them.

As I said, nature abhors a vacuum. If we do not step in and do what is moral and right for the good people of the Syrian opposition, than there are plenty of other players on the world scene who are more than willing to sweep in and to fill the void with their nasty agendas.

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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