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Thursday, September 28, 2023


Unrest in Syria supported by veto

While the States prepared for a rematch of Super Bowl XLII and gathered as many people, alcohol and nachos into a single room as physically possible, the Syrian government had a special event of their own. In the last few days, around 230 innocent Syrians were killed in uprisings after 11 straight months of conflict.

The Syrian government reacted to the uprisings in the way that only an oppressive, totalitarian regime could despite that practically the entire United Nations was prepared to formally condemn the Syrian government for its heinous actions. Only Russia and China vetoed the UN resolution, spitting in the face of the right to not be murdered by one’s own government.

Despite international outrage at their actions, Moscow and Beijing adamantly stand by their decision to support Assad’s murderous reign. This is even after reports from a state-run Syrian newspaper that promised harsher methods of cracking down on the protests.

It was probably a sense of kinship that caused these two superpowers from the Cold War to support a totalitarian regime. When the first protests, sparked by the wave of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia early last year, began to break out across Syria, Assad launched a brutal response with tanks and troops to squash the rebellion. It was the Middle East’s own Tiananmen Square. Russia also has economic concerns when vetoing a UN resolution to condemn Syria; Moscow is a major arms dealer to Syria.

What would the resolution have done? In typical UN fashion, the resolution to condemn Syria would have done just that and nothing more — in other words, absolutely nothing. According to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the resolution “did not impose any sanctions, nor did it authorize military action.” All it would have requested was for Syria to answer the questions: Why are you killing your people? and Can you stop it, pretty please? The Syrian mass-murder apparatus run by Assad has denounced the international call for cessation of violence in his country, claiming it as an outright hostile attack on Syria — undoubtedly emboldened by the backing of his arms dealer on the Security Council.

On a resolution that would have done nothing but call to an end a crackdown that has resulted in at least 6,000 deaths since last year. The Chinese and Russians have sided with a madman, against America and her European allies.

The question comes down to what to do about the killings in Syria. In any other decade, America would probably be rolling in with her guns a-blazin’. C-130s would unleash a bombardment of good old American artillery down on Assad’s head. For those of who believe we went to Iraq for the oil, Syria’s right next door to Iraq. Not mention that by removing them, we would be further protecting our Israeli allies. For those of us who believe we went to Iraq to free the Iraqi people, Assad’s looking very much like Saddam at this point.

Maybe 10 years ago we could have done something like that — maybe 10 years from now. Unfortunately, America is still on the ropes after pulling out of two major wars, and despite recent positive upturns, we are still in danger of tail-spinning into another bout of recession. Most of the world would rather we mind our own business, and for now, that’s just an excuse for us to catch our breath. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization handled itself just fine in the toppling of Gaddafi. Given the situation, Assad should be no different.

If Israel is really looking for a fight, instead of attacking Iran and possibly drawing outrage from the Arab League, Israel should act in support of the Arab League who should push for a stronger condemnation against Syria, including an actual invasion to overthrow Assad.

The Arab League and the Muslim community have both been unfairly mislabeled by some in the West as backwards, freedom-hating terrorists when everyone knows this is clearly not the case. Islam is a peaceful religion and the Arab people are just like any other. As believers in human rights and liberty, the Arab League should do more than just call Syria out on this violent crackdown that has people looking for bodies of loved ones under supervision by snipers on neighboring rooftops.

The Arab League cannot tolerate this type of aggression that would seem to legitimize the negative portrayal of the Middle East to the West. The senseless slaughter of civilians in their own region should be brought to a stop by those closest around them. If more Arab nations could rebel against their destructive leaders like the people of Libya and Egypt did, freedom-hating groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban would have no place to go.

Arab League, show Syria that sort of activity will no longer be tolerated. Show China and Russia that their vetoes — like UN resolutions in general, frankly -— mean nothing. Support the Syrian protestors and topple Assad. Gather strong international support to come down on Assad like a great hammer of democracy before more people have to suffer.

While the Arab League, the UN and the US all talk about how awful it is for China and Russia to veto a bill against killing innocent people, there are still people getting sniped from rooftops, and that’s what’s truly awful.

James Wang is a history freshman and may be reached at [email protected].

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