BEIRUT

Editorial

Guilty of inaction

A man walks along a street past rubble from damaged buildings in the northern city of Aleppo following months of clashes between Syrian rebels and government forces on October 1, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/MIGUEL MEDINA)

If Syria continues on its current road, there will be little left of the country to fight over. Not only is its heritage being destroyed, but also its infrastructure and social fabric.

The country’s porous borders have allowed it to play host to groups that will do more harm than good for Syria and who will destroy the cause of the Syrian rebels who are fighting for their lives and their freedom.

Their presence is liable to lead to further violence and divisions down the road.

Meanwhile, political reports from Western countries, especially the United States, make it very clear that there won’t be any military intervention as long as the fighting is confined to the Syrian territory.

This position makes it seem as though they are determined to see Syria set back by some 50 years.

Their unwillingness to get involved in the conflict may jar with some who believe the United States to be a defender of freedom and human rights.

But the truth is that the West – and the East – have long been concerned with this area of the world, but only as far as it affects them.

Now, their main areas of concern have been contained. In Iraq, the army has been destroyed. The Gulf countries spend phenomenal amounts on defense to keep the threat from Iran at bay. Yemen, like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, is distracted by the fallout from its own revolution.

And now Syria. In their policy of inaction, the West has ensured that Syria as a military threat is finished. Even Turkey, once the most vociferous advocate of some kind of action over Syria, has toned down its calls.

The United States, of course with the blessing of Israel, will therefore maintain the status quo for as long as it takes for one side or the other to prevail.

By the time that happens both sides will be too weak to be of any threat to any external actor for many years to come.

The West and the East will in the meantime give enough support for both sides to keep killing each other, but not enough for either side to win.

With Europe distracted by its financial crisis, and the United States with its election, Syria is not appearing on the agenda of the West while the bloodshed and its fallout are contained to this part of the world.

What this means, sadly, is that the deaths will go on, although that may seem almost incomprehensible at their current rates.

The resolute inaction of the West, coupled with the rampant divisions within the Syrian opposition and the bloody determination of the regime, not to mention the fear among the general population, mean the conditions are set for a protracted war.

Syria is being turned into another field in the game of nations and the blood of its people is on the conscience of everyone, without exception. Even though they may not be directly killing civilians, all players in this game have contributed to this state of affairs, if not via their material support, then via their words.

With their constant pronouncements, they create a grain of hope that the conflict may be over soon, all the time aware that the opposite is true.

Hopefully all Syrians realize this fact, and act accordingly. They will need to if they hope to have a country left to rule when this is all over.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 02, 2012, on page 7.

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