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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Chaos in Syria continues with no U.S. support

More than a year later, Syria is still in chaos. For the past year, rebels have been fighting for a new progressive government and the overthrow of current President Bashar al-Assad. In the spring, The Statesman published an article on the state of Syria, and a few months later, nothing has changed.

Bashar al-Assad’s regime started in 2000 with the death of his father.  Prior to his death, Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria for 29 years. Hafez had an extremely hostile foreign policy that set the stage for the current day regime. Bashar was appointed president and then won a controversial vote where he won unopposed with a ‘popular majority’ of 97.2 percent of the votes.

Though the revolution started in 2011, it became front-page news in the spring of 2012 with the mass bombing of major cities in Syria. In the past seven months, the violence and death toll have drastically climbed but have not been a major issue for policy makers.

The Free Syrian Army is around 40,000 people strong and consists of former army members and volunteers. With an estimated number of over 20,000 defectors from the Syrian military, the rebel forces are more than capable of breaking the regime of a powerful, violent dictator. Though the United Nations had many talks about formulating a resolution about what to do, no agency has given the rebels the support that they need. During Libya’s revolution, NATO gave support to the rebels fighting against the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi.

In the case of Libya, people supported the revolution, as it was seen as a fight for democracy. In the case of Syria, the rebels are seen as a militia group. NATO placed air restrictions and embargoes on Libya during its revolution in order to prevent the fighting from escalating. The response to Syria has been dragged out and weak. It’s time the United States steps up and leads the way to a solution to the terror going on.

The U.S. has never been shy about protecting the values of democracy around the world. After all, the Cold War was purely about protecting the U.S. from communism, and containing it in areas where it already existed. In places such as Afghanistan, the population isn’t asking us for a democratic system; in fact, most Afghans don’t want any foreign military in the country. Yet when a country is begging the world for aid to fight a dictator and bring democracy to the people, no one has bothered to step forward.

Every day there are new images of bomb blasts, dying children and bloodied teenagers struggling to build a new Syria. With the lack of foreign aid, fighters who won Libya’s revolution are now traveling into Syria to assist in battle. Turkey took action after one of its planes was shot down after it wandered into Syrian air space. Turkey has warned Syria that if troops (al-Assad’s troops) get close to the Turkish border, it will be seen as an act of military aggression.

This is a fight that won’t end soon. Both sides are gearing up for the long haul, and it’s time countries start backing the rebels. They are not a militia group. The fact that they have stayed so strong throughout all the violence and their underdog status should show the world that they have the motivation to win. With more than 30,000 people dead, there is no end in sight.

It’s appalling to see how politicians won’t intervene because there is no immediate threat to U.S. security from Syria. There are human rights being violated by an oppressive dictator and no form of democracy, yet the U.S. is silent. As the rebels slowly win Syria, we, as a nation that was built by rebels in accordance with the values of democracy, need to support this revolution.

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