|Olympic Games prevail while war in Syria rages|
|Friday, 10 August 2012 10:30|
Since July 27, countries around the world have eagerly watched their athletes participate in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Each day is filled with images of athletes competing in friendly rivalry, embodying the Olympic ideal of peace and camaraderie.
So it is ironic that as the world watches victorious athletes vie for gold in the peaceful environment of the Olympics, Syria is experiencing brutal internal strife that is killing thousands of its citizens. The world is also watching the bloodshed in Syria, expounding a volume of words against the violence, but still mainly just watching.
The brutal violence in Syria has been ongoing since the spring of 2011, when a non-violent challenge emerged against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar Hafez al-Assad. As the regime perpetuated brutal acts to suppress rebels, the opposition armed itself and went on the offensive. Following a series of attacks and counter arracks between government forces and rebels, the International Committee of the Red Cross recently acknowledged what the rest of the world already knows – a wide-scale civil war and humanitarian crisis has engulfed most of Syria. Despite defections from the Syrian army and government, efforts to bring peace by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan have proved fruitless. Meanwhile as condemnation from world leaders pile up, including the U.S., civilian casualties in Syria keep rising.
There is much consternation from citizens across the world as to why there has been no international military intervention into Syria, as was the case of Libya which led to the fall of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It is a natural human reaction to want to do something to stop the mass slaughter of other human beings.
The problem in Syria however proves much more complex than it seems on the surface. The solution is not as simple as sending in UN/NATO troops to overthrow the regime, and then back the rebels. For one, the Syrian military, especially its air force, is very formidable, and military intervention could spark an all out international war that risks the involvement of Iran, Israel, Russia and China as allies of Syria.
That is a risk that cannot be taken. And, even if military intervention was feasible, the post-rebellion experience of Libya, and to a lesser extent Egypt, suggests there is no guarantee that international military intervention offers stability or benefits for the oppressed.
On the other hand, there is danger that the increasingly sectarian civil war in Syria could also influence and widen the Sunni and Shiite divide in nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Iraq.
Although the efforts by Kofi Annan may seem ineffective, the UN still represents the best chance to negotiate peace in Syria. However, this requires China, Russia, the U.S. and other countries on the UN Security Council to join in accord.