By Supad Kumar Ghose
September 1, 2013
It is very likely that the US, along with UK, France and Australia, will intervene in Syria on the pretext that the Assad regime has used chemical gas against its own people. It is very tough to assess the ground level realities in this strife torn country, and it is not yet clear that the Assad regime has used chemical gas. Moreover, the Assad government has no rational motivation to use chemical weapons when it has the upper hand against the rebels.
Amidst this, the UN team in Syria has been investigating the chemical attack in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus. It is expected that it will complete the investigation by the end of the month. It is hoped that it will be able to find out who used chemical gas.
But the West is being impatient. Several Western governments have already jumped to a conclusion and accused the Assad regime of using chemical weapons. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has turned out to be the chief apologist for intervention in Syria. He has invoked moral claim in favour of Western intervention in Syria in a column published in The Times of London. It should bear mentioning here that the same Tony Blair, who was the prime minister at that time, was the chief apologist for the US attack on Saddam Hussain’s Iraq in 2003 on the false accusation that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Some quarters in the US are also exhorting the Obama administration to intervene in Syria. It seems that military preparation is afoot to attack Syria. The West is claiming that it is not ready for regime change in Syria, rather, what is seeks is the decimation of the ability of the Assad regime to use such weapons against its own people.
Whatever may be the nature of possible intervention in Syria, it will be totally unjustified for a variety of reasons. First, it is not clear what purpose it will serve. The Assad regime has shown remarkable tenacity to cling to power in the face of adverse circumstances. It is still popular among a section of the people who are in the minority. It is possible that it will fight back as lethally as possible as long as it enjoys the support of the other minorities, Alawites, Kurds, Christians and Armenians.
Second, the West should ponder hard before intervening against a member of the Muslim World which has been at the receiving end of Western aggression for much of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. One should add that the bitter memories of Western intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan are still fresh in Muslim psyche.
Iraq is a fractured society as a result of US intervention against Saddam Hossain in 2003, and its democracy may not prove itself capable enough to prevent its future dissolution.
The case of Afghanistan is no better either. The Taliban are regrouping and may come back to power following US withdrawal. The ragtag Afghan army may not be a match for the tenacious Taliban.
Third, the Syrian scenario is more fraught with dangers because the Syrian rebels have been fighting internecine civil war among themselves. Sometimes, they are more divided among themselves than they are united against the Assad regime. In this backdrop, it is very unlikely that the rebels can ever be united enough to form any national government and represent all factions of the Syrian people once the Assad regime is defeated in the battle field. The presence of the al-Qaeda elements on the side of the rebels makes it more complicated to envisage any post-Assad solution in Syria.
Fourth, Western intervention may produce regional repercussions that may embroil several countries, such as Iran, Israel, Lebanon, etc. Iran has already declared that it will not sit idle if Syria, its only ally state, is attacked by the West. Hezbollah in Lebanon, who are already involved in Syria to prop up the Assad regime, may become bolder and attack Israel, which will, in turn, react more violently if it comes under attack.
Fifth, how can the West justify its intervention in Syria for the death of 330 people, allegedly in a chemical attack, when it is conniving at the death of four times more civilians at the hands of the Egyptian army, which is nurtured by Western countries?
Whatever might be the shortcomings of Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, he is the first democratically elected leader in the five thousand years history of Egypt. The only fault of Muhammad Morsi’s supporters is that they are calling for the reinstatement of their democratically elected leader. Nevertheless, the US and its allies are playing a variety of diplomatic games to overlook the crime of the Egyptian usurpers.
On the other hand, the mighty West is edging closer to attack the Assad regime in Syria, whose role in this chemical attack is still subject to investigation. From this viewpoint, one can easily infer that the logic of Western intervention is selective and biased.
Supad Kumar Ghose teaches at the University of Information Technology and Sciences (UITS).