Commentary  Wrong motives

How the international community has been complicit with bloodshed in Syria

For a Canadian like me – reading countless articles describing the torturous uprising happening in Syria – it is clear that this nation sits amidst all sorts of foreign strategists eyeing its every step. From the sanctimonious claims of “humanist and caring” foreign parties ranting about brotherhoods and a militarized opposition to a confused, numb international community, the discourse around Syria is a ceaseless battle of conflicting solutions.

Syrians, despite their greatly divided sectarian and ethnic complexities, are united in their desperate wait for either the international community or a legitimate Syrian opposition group to induce the collapse of the current regime. While they wait, the lives of more than 7,000 Syrians have already been paid as the price for freedom. But how can the vulnerable residents of this country finally be freed from a dangerous regime when the international community has the wrong priorities for Syria?

It is evident that misguided international endeavours have created failing solutions. In fact, the concerns of some foreign allies’ and “peacemakers” seem to reinforce a volatile social and political reality, leading to the deaths of more victims as a result of the Syrian crackdowns. In the midst of arguments about intervention strategies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been discussing supplying military aid to the Syrian opposition. For them, it is the only solution to end the massacre of Syrians which has been going on now for 11 months. As the Saudis draw attention to their plan for a militarized opposition, the rising supply of arms involved is only going to yield more bloodshed. Let’s face it, this sabre-rattling ideology on the part of Qatar and Saudi Arabia will not do. Despite their increasing number, the armed opposition rebels will never succeed in the face of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s inhumane assault, especially since Assad has hired mercenary warriors. There is little hope for a militarized opposition.

On the other side of the globe, the United States hasn’t changed its same old hopeful humanitarian message, framing their recommendations for Syria in the frame of counter-terrorism. Last week, after denouncing Assad’s regime with much insistence on the need for an immediate cessation of rule, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her deep concerns about  Al-Qaeda’s involvement with the Syrian opposition rebels – especially considering Saudi Arabia’s proposed arming plan. But why conflate concerns about Syria with America’s own worries about Al-Qaeda? Shouldn’t we be concerned about Assad’s current massacre, and the foreign powers, like Russia, who are complicit in Syrian civilian deaths?

Monitoring Al-Qaeda’s possible involvement in Syrian politics is necessary. However, the importance of Russia’s peace-preventing strategies, and its dangerous affiliation with Assad, should be the foremost international concern. Russia is one of Syria’s closest allies and its foremost arms dealer – a relationship that’s been strong since the 1970’s with Russian-Syrian naval cooperation – leading Syria to be Russia’s primary toehold. Recently, this relationship has been revealed when Russia, alongside China, blocked the attempt at the UN Security Council resolution calling for Assad to step down.

Are we, as spectators of this international conflict, worried about the endless deaths and suffering experienced by the loved ones of Syrian protesters, or are our own political ties more important than the price paid by thousands of souls? There will be no peace and the massacre will not cease until foreign entities reconsider their motives in this Syria’s genocidal turmoil.

Asma Falfoul is a U1 International Development Studies student. She can be reached at