With a recent spate of massacres and the end of the cease fire, it’s a wonder why people are even still talking about Kofi Annan’s peace plan. With China and Russia refusing to condemn Assad, the international community has been somewhat neutered.

The latest headline to come from Syria has been from Qubair. A small village which UN monitors found deserted after reports of a massacre. The monitors were heavily held up on their way and when they arrived, there were signs suggesting an attempt to clean up evidence.

…108 were killed, 49 of which were children…

This came not long after the town of Houla where 108 were killed, 49 of which were children. The Houla massacre sparked a massive diplomatic retaliation, with the majority of major western powers expelling their Syrian ambassadors and other diplomatic staff.

The major worry is that in both Qubair and Houla the main part of the killing is thought to have been carried out by the Shabiha, an armed militia supporting and helped by the Assad regime. The Shabiha are young men from the Alawite community who, according to some news sources, are often recruited in Body Building centres and then given extra steroids. The fact that they are Alawite is the most important fact here, it could be a sign of sectarian turmoil to come.

…military intervention has not been ruled out…

France’s president Francois Hollande has been the most vocal on the world stage it seems, saying on a French TV show that military intervention has not been ruled out. Though, nothing will ever come from the UN while China and Russia are still refusing to support any action against Assad.

Though they are not the only countries against intervention, even the Whitehouse said “further militarization of the situation in Syria at this point is not the right course of action, we believe it would lead to greater chaos and greater carnage.” The difference is that China and Russia have said they will Veto all action against Assad, saying that it is not the place of the international community to get involved in an internal dispute. It should be noted that a lot of commentators have mentioned that Assad and Russia have been long standing allies, Syria is Russia’s only ally in the region (and they buy a lot of Russian arms.)

…let Syria be a battle ground for sectarian differences…

Not enough is coming from the rest of the Middle East who seem quite happy to let Syria be a battle ground for sectarian differences. On CNN, a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) spokesman happily said that it was where they would, by proxy, fight Iran.

When you look at all of this, maybe we need to think more about the Syrian people than our own interests. The West is scared of condemnation and calls of Imperialism, Russia doesn’t want to lose an arms export, and both Russia and China don’t want there to be any precedent for international interventions. The real question needs to be ‘what do the Syrians want?’


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Grew up in the Middle East, currently studying Arabic and Linguistics in central London. Write a lot...

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