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Rudaw

Opinion

Striking Syria, US repeating same mistakes as in Iraq

By Arif Qurbany 19/4/2018
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The objective behind the establishment of the United Nations and its Security Council in the twentieth century was to enforce international peace, security, and stability in a world that had just survived two destructive world wars. 

The world witnessed much instability and violation of international laws as a result of the rivalry between the two spheres of power – the US and Soviet Union blocs. During this time, massive crimes were committed, yet the UN and Security Council were silent or just didn’t have the power to respond. 

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US alone led the world for a while and its leadership during this time was known for protecting and promoting democracy and freedom as well as standing against oppression.  

Over the past three decades, oppressive regimes somehow changed and the world opened up to more tolerance. Consequently, some stagnant countries went into a transition and finally embraced new changes. Countries that didn’t want to go along with the new world order finally took a soft stance to adapt. 

Following the resurgence of Russia, the world order is about to change again. The world is about to relapse into the two spheres during which the community of nations turned a blind eye to crimes and oppressions perpetrated by authorities. Russia has returned to international rivalries. The events unfolding in Syria are a clear indication of this. 

The Security Council has so far had trouble passing a decisive resolution on the question of Syria because Russia, as a permanent member of the Council that has the right of veto, is an advocate of Syria. This will be the case with even future events and will finally undermine the legitimacy of the Council.  

Numerous crimes were committed and hundreds of thousands of people became victims of this international rivalry over the past six years due to the world turning a blind eye to Bashar al-Assad. It is because of this that international rivalries and disagreements are getting ever more complicated, especially after Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians.  

Following the Arab Spring, member states of the Security Council differed on Syria and the bombardment of Douma with prohibited weapons divided the Council even more and led to new rivalries. 

In the Council’s first meeting after the events of Douma, Russia defended Bashar al-Assad and wanted to give a distorted image of the event. This prompted the US, UK, and France to mount a military operation on Syria without a UN Security Council resolution. 

The circumstances beg the question whether the US and its allies want to oust the Syrian regime. Will the US repeat with Syria the scenario it enacted against Saddam Hussein’s regime? Was the recent missile attack on Syria mere reaction to Russia’s stance or a warning to Assad and his allies? 

In their first reaction after their missile attack on Syria, the US, UK, and France reiterated that the aim behind their operation was not to depose Assad’s regime. Rather, they said they aimed to neutralize his chemical weapons capacities. The operation, however, had many ulterior objectives, even if the aim of the attack was as stated to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons ability. 

The US wanted to prove it still has hegemony over the world, despite threats from Russia and Iran that they would react should Syria be attacked. 

The missile attack was a response to Iran and Russia and was aimed at upsetting the friendship between Turkey, Iran, and Russia. Consequently, Turkey expressed its support for the allied operation and joined the camp against the front pursued by Russia and Iran.  

The US made many mistakes in its operations against Iraq, beginning with Desert Storm and through to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime. If the US, after defeating Saddam Hussein’s army, didn’t flash the green light for Iraq to crack down on the peoples’ uprising in 1991, Iraq’s people would have dethroned Saddam Hussein by themselves. 

The US turned a blind eye to Saddam Hussein curbing the uprising because of its fear of Iranian influence in the region. And this enabled Hussein’s regime to persist in ruling the country for 12 more years. 

Finally, the US resorted to removing Hussein from power by force. But, contrary to US expectations, the story of Iraq ended with Iran imposing its hegemony on the country anyway. Baghdad is currently deemed the shadow of Tehran in the region. 

What the US is currently doing in Syria is a repetition of the same mistake. There was a plan to topple Assad’s regime after removing Hussein from power. But they put this plan on hold, thinking that the Muslim Brotherhood would rise to power after Assad was ousted. The US administration reached this kind of flawed understanding due to the influence of some Kurdish and Iraqi leaders as well as some American institutions. 

The Syrian regime has since been more oppressive. Since then, tens of fundamentalist Muslim groups have emerged and there is no guarantee that Syria won’t be run by these groups in the future. 

The international community will one day think of using force to change the regime in Syria. But it will then be too late. The missile attack should not have stopped until Assad was toppled. 

Russia is defending the Syrian regime and preventing the Security Council from passing a resolution to punish Assad. Russia had the same stance on Iraq, but the US didn’t pay attention to the concerns and objections of Russia because Moscow was weak at the time. 

Nowadays, Russia is in a stronger political and military position. But the US can still unilaterally, or in coordination with its allies, oust the Syrian regime now. It is, however, unclear whether it will still be able to do so in a few years’ time. 

Iraq and Syria were the source of instability and oppression in the last century as well. That is why allowing these two states to remain with this regime mentality serves no good purpose. If the world is seriously looking to establish peace in the region, then they should turn these two states into a state for the Kurds, one for Shiites, and one for Sunnis. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.

Comments

 
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kurd | 19/4/2018
this is a shallow analysis of situation in syria. In fact, USA should take out assad and turn syria into a federal state..
Guest | 19/4/2018
The views may reflect the position of the author but Rudaw did published this article, which is not accurate. The military action taken by the United States, France, and the UK was exactly for the purpose publicly stated by the officials of those nations. As for the Assad regime, the Syrian people will have to come together and decide who will govern them, not some foreign force, either the U.S., Russia, UK, France, or Iran. The author of this article has made a lot of inaccurate statements in this article about the reasons for the military action, U.S. intentions, U.S. actions in the past, theories, that are not accurate. People need to clear their heads and get rid of the conspiracy theories and understand that U.S. policy is a very public thing. Its underlying assumptions are not always correct. It does make mistakes, like everyone does. Overall, it is focused on a large picture while trying to jointly achieve goals in different regions that achieve the overall goal of making the world a better place for all humanity, one day at a time.
looneyhart | 20/4/2018
its likely that all the US and France want, is the higher moral ground. the absence of chemical weapons, no more no less. That isn't too hard to see. beyond that its up to everyone who is killing each other right now. This stance is an endpoint in itself. Now all the rest of everyone can keep fighting until you don't. Assad was never going to be deposed. His heinous pushback against jihadists must be "acceptable" except in case of chemical weapons. What other conclusion can one draw ?
Outsider | 20/4/2018
(A) the Americans did not kick Saddam in the bu@@ because they were unhappy about "democracy" in Iraq...they did it because he invaded Kuwait. ..and American petrol companies had/have contracts with the Kuwaitis. ..complete own interest (B) not Russia got stronger... they simply have a stronger leader...who dreams about the good old time...but one has to show respect what he has achieved with the little he has... (C) any person having lived in these countries will know...though it seems that there is a religious divide ...Sunni vs Shia. .. the genuine divide is based on tribal lines... and it should not be forgotten that...although in the West the Kurds are always presented as a group striving for secularism. ..that is a small minority...the reality on the ground is that a high majority of the Kurds in the region are extremely traditional and conservative...and Sunni...why does no one admit that many Sunni Kurds too joint ISIS...and that in fact the Sunni Kurds were the guides and leaders who massacred their neighbour Ezidi Kurds or Shia Kurds...
ms rehman | 20/4/2018
excellent analysis except the three regions should have a federal stucture like UK
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