Daily we hear news about North Korea and the possibility of a war brewing in Iran, but interjected in there is the occasional well-placed media snippet about the ongoing situation in Syria. While reports of bloodshed and military involvement make the media circuit, we rarely get a good overview of what is really going on over there, so we at Common Sense Conspiracy decided it was time to take a look at the situation in Syria and educated our readers on this escalating conflict.
It can be hard for Americans to get real enthusiastic about a situation like this, as it seems to have little to do with us and the international scene. What is happening is that not a handful but hundreds of people are dying in demonstrations, and many are crying out for President Barack Obama to do something about it. Russia has already entered into the fray in a limited capacity, and there is little doubt that the United States is at least “unofficially” involved in some manner as well. But what is the story and what does it mean on the international scene?
Unrest in Syria has been developing for months and years, but within that last couple of months it has escalated to new heights. Protests began in earnest after the overthrow of the government in Tunisia and Libya, including the famous killing of Gadhafi. A Facebook page of all things seems to be where the movement really started. The page is called “Reform Against Assad’s Government.” Assad of course refers to the sitting President of Syria, Bassar Assad. He is the son of Hafiz Assad who took power in the 1970’s. When his son took over the presidency in 2000, he promised the people of Syria to bring a more democratic approach than the oppressive rule of his father. However, Syrians obviously feel that not much has changed, and the inspiration of other nations rising up and toppling the status quo has caused Syrians to pursue change more aggressively.
The demonstrators want the dictatorship to stop immediately. There are people that have been jailed over political things that they want to see set free. They also want a complete overhaul of government in Syria. Naturally, Assad’s regime has no intentions of letting this happen, and they have tried to quell the rebellions with a pretty damning show of force that has left hundreds dead.
The Syrian government is not turning a blind eye to the protests. They recently agreed to free a few prominent prisoners and to “take a close look” at the nation’s system of government, but when the military started shooting at protesters, any good will they might have cultivated was instantly turned to more hatred. Put simply, Syrians do not believe that there is a compromise that can be reached with Assad. Removal from power is the only option that gives them any hope for change.
One of the main rallying points for the Syrian protests is the government’s oppression towards what we all here in America take for granted…silly little things like freedom of speech. There is serious consequences for expressing any political concept other than the one in power, and the Internet is heavily monitored. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Syrians are angry because the government claims to “represent” the people, but in reality, the demographics are way off. Almost three quarters of the people in Syria are Sunni Muslims. However, the government is manned almost completely by Alevis. Alevis is a type of Shia Islam, and as you might expect, is synonymous with the bad image that most of us have of the Muslim religion in general.
But even as we in America ponder whether we should get involved, the facts may surprise you as to what Syrians think about us. One of the only things that the Syrian people agree with their government on is the fact that they hate America and Israel. This is also probably one of the principal reasons that other Muslim nations continue to support the Syrian government. Some even see Assad’s regime as a great uniter of two warring ideals of the Islamic faith.
What happens from here? No one can tell. Despite the bloodbaths, the Syrians continue to protest vehemently. They have a spirit…they are beat down and tired of the oppression, and even the threat of death is not enough to
dissuade them from participating in the protests and rallies. This is the definition of a grass-roots movement that is poised to topple a long-standing dictator. It’s easy for Americans to sympathize with the idea of wanting a revolution from tyranny, but it complicates the situation that the would-be revolutionaries happen to hate America as well. But how much of that hatred is brewed by the regime that rules everything they see, say, and hear in every moment of their lives?
Some in the United States believe that the Syrians might like America a lot better if it intervened and helped topple the dictatorship. However, a quick look around the Middle East is not a good sign for this theory. In Iraq, America is as unpopular as ever, and this sentiment is consistent across the region.
President Obama will likely avoid entering into the Syrian conflict in an election year. He doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize his chances of a second term. But, as he has already indicated in a very public microphone slip, Obama will have nothing to lose if he is granted a second term. Expect action in Syria to come quickly if Obama is re-elected, but probably not until then. That is, unless the situation escalates in some way nobody has thought of yet. For now, President Obama is content to tow the line and keep his head turned towards November. Meanwhile, notice how the media seems to downplay the conflict even as it gets bloodier and bloodier. The media machine is on high, making sure that while Obama avoids confronting this problem, we are all led to believe it’s not that big of a deal anyway.
Is it? As always, that’s up for each of us to decide for ourselves.