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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jul 5, 2012

The Syrian Tragedy

More than 16 months have passed since the Spring Revolution, which was sparked by a young teenager in Dere3a-Syria, which led to the Syrian uprising. Since then, more than 16,000 people have been killed by the brutality of the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al Assad.

The Syrian uprising has been politicized internationally and attempts by the U.N. have been initiated to stop the bloodbath taking place on a daily basis.

So far, these attempts, sponsored by the U.N. and supported by the leading world superpowers and the Arab League, have failed to produce any positive results.

The Syrian president has opted for the military approach over the political one, which called for his resignation and the establishment of a transitional government until a free election takes place.

Nevertheless, all such efforts led nowhere. Recently the Arab League sponsored a meeting that took place in Cairo, where nearly 250 members from various Syrian opposition groups attended to establish a united front to meet the challenges of the brutality of the al Assad regime.

The meeting was attended by foreign ministers of Turkey, Iraq, Qatar and Egypt. All spoke and urged the leadership of the Syrian opposition groups to created a united national front that would strengthen the struggle of those fighting the Syrian army inside Syria. Even the new president of Egypt, Dr. M. Morsi, sent a message that was read by Egyptian foreign ministers, urging the group to forget their differences and unite in support of their cause.

The major friction between the various groups is attributed to one major policy. One group has been calling for a foreign intervention to stop the bloodbath, which, in addition to killing 16,000 Syrians, has created over 150,000 refugees in neighboring states, such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

The second major group opposes foreign intervention and is calling for a political solution to the problem in the interest of the country as a whole. Their rationale is influenced by the fact that the regime is supported by two major powers, Russia and China, in addition to Iran, who has been sending weapons to the Syrian government and preventing the U.N. from adopting sanctions against Syria. For that reason and others, the military approach will take a long time and at the end will be disastrous for Syria.

It was reported on July 3rd that 215 members were among the participating groups that have signed an agreement supporting the political approach as the best way to face the challenge. The adopted document called for the removal of Bashar al Assad’s regime and the punishment of those responsible for the killings of many civilians in very inhumane and brutal ways.

In the meantime, the Free Syrian Army, whose number has been estimated to be between 30,000 and 70,000, opposed the Arab League’s meeting and are fighting the Syrian army in various areas of Syria. The Free Syrian Army consists of soldiers who have deserted the Syrian army in protest of the brutality against unarmed civilian protestors.

The Free Syrian Army is getting armaments from the Arab Gulf states, but they are not strong enough to meet the threat of army tanks and airplanes. Nevertheless, their influence in the long run will have a positive impact and will encourage more defectors from the Syrian army.

In a previous post written more than a year ago, I pointed out that the only effective way to remove al Assad’s regime is through a military coup. Unfortunately, the fact is that the Chinese and Russian governments are part of the international political game and are using the Syrian tragedy to send a message to the U.S. and its western allies to stop interfering in the internal affairs of foreign states. What is going on under the Syrian umbrella is a continuation of the Cold War era. It is a tragedy that the Syrian population is paying a heavy price for it.

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