Morals, Logic, And Dissonance: Trump Goes To Syria

In my previous article on the justified use of humanitarian intervention in Syria, it was discussed how Syria was a state that is neither willing or able to protect its citizens. In light of this, the targeted missile strike on a Shayrat airbase within Syria has been long overdue. The Assad regime has perpetrated anathemas against universal human rights that we, as a species, should hold most sacrosanct.

In a whirlwind of post-truth and what is shaping up to be a century of contradiction, I was not surprised that Trump, momentarily, belied his hallowed (and electable) isolationist position. Trump is a cheese snack that had been placed in a petri dish for 70 years and gained sentience through an immersion of flashing primary coloured television. This time, however, I actually welcome the actions of the ego-maniacal Dorito.

A Brief Overview of the Syrian Civil War

“Syria is the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time”- Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

The shots which triggered the Syrian civil war were first fired by President Bashar al-Assad’s military against civilians during a peaceful Arab-spring demonstration in March 2011. By July 2011, a liberation organisation, the Free Syrian Army, was formed by civilians and military defectors. In 2012, the USA and nine other members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) attempted to impose sanctions on Syria which aimed to stop the Syrian government’s weapons proliferation, involvement in terrorist activities, and its attacks on Syrian civilians. However, the UNSC failed to ratify these sanctions due to the veto of permanent council members Russia and China. A proxy war began in 2013 which saw support for the rebels by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and the USA, and support for the Assad regime by Iran. In August of 2013, Assad used chemical weapons against civilians killing 1,429 individuals, including 426 children; Assad denied these figures. In an address to the nation, President Barack Obama stipulated the USA’s position on chemical warfare, stating:

“The United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people – to those children – is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.”

The initial intervention was not followed through by the USA. However, due to the growing threat of terrorism posed by ISIS, exacerbated by its claim to beheading two American citizens, President Obama announced in September 2014 that the USA would conduct airstrikes in Syria against the terrorist organisation. In October 2015, Russia officially intervened in Syria bolstering the Assad regime. In late 2016, coordinated airstrikes conducted by the Russian military decimated the rebel forces in Aleppo.

The dying days of 2016 ushered in the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s 4 year battle in Aleppo. Fighting in Aleppo has ostensibly ceased but it came at a price of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions of individuals.  Aleppo, previously the largest city in Syria before the civil war, is now for all intent and purposes: a pile of rubble. Reports of mass executions and barrel bombing by the Assad regime against civilians are prolific. Civilians who managed to flee the city have ended up being held by Assad’s military in makeshift internment camps. Further driving the atrocities of the siege on Aleppo are reports of sexual violence which have led more than 20 women to choose suicide over what they feared would be inevitable rape. Since the civil war erupted in March 2011, it is estimated that 400,000 Syrians have died, 11 million have been forced to evacuate their homes, 4.8 million have fled to neighboring countries, and 6.6 million are internally displaced.

Dictating to a dictator is futile; the personal rule of the Assad regime will not be influenced by the implementation of economic sanctions. As was the case during the first gulf war, economic deprivation worked against the west by creating an environment of poverty that led to the deaths of 170,000 to 1.5 million individuals. This in turn deified Saddam as an agent against imperialism. Only through a systematic overthrow by both militia and foreign humanitarian intervention is it possible to overhaul the dictatorship of Assad.

Of course with the geopolitical civil union currently between Trump and Putin, it is incredibly likely that the previously mentioned missile strike is merely a red herring. The loss of 70 Assad-regime lives plays well across the media, and as Assad is in the pocket of the Kremlin it is of no consequence to allow for this deception to take place. Perhaps it is merely a flex of Trumps atrophying ego, no doubt it is the first time Melania has seen him produce anything phallic and explosive in a good few years. However, for those that truly believe all individuals are born equal irrespective of culture or location, we hope that this is finally a legitimate and overdue intervention to ensure universal freedom. I just wish the human Dorito was not the one spearheading it.

Christian Harraway
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