The revolutions that are ongoing in Syria have been deemed an internal problem by almost every world leading organization. The UN Security Council quickly decided that Syria is experiencing a civil war. As I have mentioned before that designation allows the Security Council the moral standpoint of non-intervention. However, there still exists the pesky ideology of “Responsibility to Protect”.
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), ideology was born in 2001. It was the brain storm of the “soft” or “smart” power countries. The crux of this ideology is that sovereignty can be broken if there is cause enough to do so. Criteria for breaking sovereignty would be a ruling government failing to stop a violent uprising or conducting a violent rampage upon its own people, for example Yugoslavia and Rwanda. There are other cases that can be pointed to as well such as Cambodia and Somalia.
There is no magical number or line in which we can point to and say this is the line for action. The world is just not that easy or simple. Also there are many scales of account to consider. A civil war is by nature a challenge to the ruling government. As brutal as it may seem such a condition of chaos must be allowed to play itself out, case in point is Ireland, Egypt, Tunisia and Georgia. The murky cases are Libya, Kashmir Region, Sri Lanka and others. Even the countries named here are debated whether or not they indicate civil war, terrorism, gang violence, failing states or what have you.
With all of this judging of circumstances we have the politics of intervention. The questions swirl around about; why should we intervene, is there capacity to intervene and who should lead the intervention. In addition to those questions there is always predicting how long it will take to quell the violence. I myself have come to understand that the only answer is – as long as it takes. It may take months, years or even decades. To be completely honest time is a reason the UN Security Council stays out. Well not just time but the longer the war the higher the death count. Few countries have the will to be engaged in a single combat for extended periods of time, unless it is happening in their own area.
With the case of 5 000 dead in Syria and counting, is a significant portion of the population. The Arab Observers have seen enough and are being recalled due to an unsafe environment. The Arab Council had seen a need for intervention as it did with Libya. The different between Libya and Syria is the location of Syria, the area is extremely volatile.
Now on the surface of all that is peaceful this would be the exact area where the UN Security Council should deploy. This region holds the crucible of tension in most wars today – religion/ideology. The only reason I can see for not having a greater presence is the hypocrisy in political will of the world leaders. Killing 5 000 people because they asked for a different government is a crime against humanity in my view.
The debate about who fired the first shot will forever go on. In some sense that is an important fact yet, the thousandth shot is just as important. In such a debate this is called “stacking bodies”. The side that has the most bodies is the side that has incurred the most harm, therefore is justified in all their actions. In the world of peace relations, justification is not an excuse for killing. Killing is part of the “eye for and eye” game theory. In the end we are all dead if we follow that theory through.
I say it is time that the people of Syria be relieved and the world step in to stop the killing.