By William J. Furney
Syria is the war without end and one that keeps on giving — to Bashar al-Assad at least. The 52-year-old strongman will have been president of his war-ravaged nation for 18 years later this month, having conveniently taken over from his late father who ruled the middle-eastern nation for almost three decades; and his insatiable thirst for power ensures he will not readily be stepping down.
Even as more than 400,000 are dead from a civil war that is now well into its eight year and shows no sign of resolution.
Syria, a once-proud and thriving nation and a place of great culture and art, is invariably now described as “hell on earth”. It began with the hopes of the “Arab Spring” awakening that erupted in the region in 2011 and that really has dissolved into an autumn or winter of discontent (see Egypt and yet another strongman), fuelled in Syria by people’s frustrations at not having political freedoms but also perceptions of widespread corruption and high levels of unemployment. Assad was having none of it and has been on the offensive against his rebelling people ever since.
Many Meddlers, No Helpers
Compounding efforts at bringing about an end to the conflict have been multilateral interventions — Russia, the United States with allies and militants attempting to bring about an Islamic state not just in Syria but as many countries as possible and who now, largely, have been exterminated. (No, ISIS, the civilized world does not wish to live under a barbaric system based on your interpretations of the diktats of a sky fairy that no one in the history of humankind has ever seen.)
And what has the United Nations, which was established after World War II with the aim of preventing conflict (or at least intervening to end emerging wars) done as the many Syria civil-war years and hundreds of thousands have died? Nothing. It represents yet another shameful failure for the gigantic world body bogged down in huge levels of bureaucracy and highly inflated salaries and eye-watering perks. The UN is heading the way of the disbanded League of Nations, rendered impotent to save human lives from conflict by the self-serving machinations of its impotent Security Council and its ignored “resolutions” that are not worth the paper they’re printed on (see Israel).
Meanwhile, Assad continues to disregard the international community by hurling banned chemicals weapons on his own people, the West halfheartedly hits back by lobbing a few bombs into Syria and otherwise it’s just war-business as usual. Britain is currently basking in a prolonged spell of sunshiny weather, in place of the usual dreary summer downpours, and the entire country — and the world — is wrapped up in the Russian football roulette — and who really cares about all these Syrians anyway? If any even dare to escape the conflict and board rickety boats to Europe, they will most likely now find the coldest of welcomes, and their craft refused permission to dock.
So the Syrian war goes on, driven by another madman-strongman with whatever international allies he has left and who abhors the voice of his people. And as the death toll creeps up to close to half a million people in under a decade, the wider world remains, for the most part, entirely indifferent. They say massacres on this scale can never happen again, because of apparently powerful global organisations and countries that will not allow them to occur. But they do, the ongoing tragedy in Syria proves it.
Clearly the solution to the Syrian civil war is to bring about the end of a government that has presided over the almost entire destruction of its country, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of its people and that has not been able — or even minded — to end the conflict.
It starts with getting rid of Assad, and then hauling the thug to the International Criminal Court in the Hague on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.