Should the UN Security Council launch a military intervention in Syria?

Last weekend’s massacre in Hula put the discussion of a military intervention of the UN Security Council on motion again. Russia and the U.S. hold back.

By Alejandro Gonzalez, Deborah Jeggli, Jaime Carro and Susana Andres.

A year ago Barack Obama was proud that the U.S. and its allies in Libya had intervened quickly and decisively. In the 90ties in Bosnia, it has taken more than a year, until the international community had intervened with air strikes to protect the civilian population. “It took us 31 days,” Obama said. The conflict in Syria takes almost 15 months and is running far bloodier. But even after the massacre in Hula at the weekend, the U.S. as well as Russia is not moving to intervene militarily.

Therefore the comparison with the Yugoslavia war is increasingly relying on the U.S. president. Syria would be “Obama’s Bosnia,” wrote the “New York Times,” and the “Wall Street Journal” Hula compared with the massacre of Srebrenica. Some U.S. politicians are fed up; they say its is embarrassing that the U.S. had not taken any resolute steps to help the people in Syria.

White House: No Military Intervention in Syria


Also, analysts warned that Syria was a far more difficult case than Libya. Bashar Assad’s kingdom is an ethnically and religiously complex structure in a strategically sensitive region. Stronger army, weaker opposition. The Syrian army is considered to be significantly stronger than the forces of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. A no-fly zone would therefore associate with high risks. The same applies to air attacks, which are further complicated by the fact that the fights played out mainly in residential areas. The probability that civilians get hit is high and this should hardly be bypassed. And the use of ground troops is already off limits.

Conversely, the opposition is weaker than in Libya. There is no clear leadership, its structure is unclear, and some elements among the rebels are regarded as allies of the terrorist network Al Qaeda. Not least because of this scare, the U.S. reluctant to arm the rebels. In addition, there is a risk that Assad will respond to an arms deal with even greater brutality.

Last week’s massacre of 108 people, including 49 children, in the Syrian area of Hula, was unanimously judged by the Security Council. And this is very important, because the violence against the innocent must be stopped soon. Are the tables about to turn against President Bassar al-Asshad?

“Despite clear evidence of repeated detentions, torture and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas by Syrian government forces, it has taken the horror of Hula to finally drive home to the world what has been obvious for months,” writes Ali Khaled in the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National. Assad’s “regime has crossed the Rubicon; it is inconceivable a negotiated settlement could be implemented now.”

America is still behaving passively, while the world calls for leadership. Even Russia and Germany do not want to make the case for an military intervention. They want to solve the problem politically, and do not support further military force. Whether a political solution is possible is unclear. But it is absolutly clear, however, that the violence has to be stopped and a political structure must be created. A state is required by one you can live without the daily fear for life.

“Every country must do its utmost to prevent a civil war in Syria”, urged Angela Merkel. “The massacre of Hula has shown once again how “horrible” the human rights situation in Syria is”, said Merkel further and she is absolutly right. The UN Security Council must “with all power and all the emphasis,” ensure that the peace plan of the Syrian envoy Kofi Annan would be implemented, she demanded.

A draft of the resolution to be put to the Human Rights Council that circulated on Thursday condemned “the wanton killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse by pro-regime elements.” It also condemned a “series of government artillery and tank spellings of a residential neighbourhood.” The draft would require that commission of inquiry set up by the Human Rights Council last year to “publicly identify those responsible for these atrocities and hold them to account.” Free Syria.


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