Syria Crisis 101
Written: Aug 28, 2013
The Syrian civil war started with the recent Arab Spring last March, 2011. When people started demonstrating against Pres. Bashar al-Assad’s government, his response was quick and bloody. His military crackdown quelled the uprising that evolved into a civil war. Majority of the populace is Sunni Muslims while the government is made up of mostly Alawites (a form of Shia Islam). FYI: Sunni and Shia are rival factions/denominations within Islam.
The civil war serves as a proxy war since Syria is backed by Iran (a Shia country) and the rebels are backed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries. Also, Iran is backed by Russia and China while the rebels are backed by US, France and Britain (a proxy war between the UN permanent Security Council). Russia provides defense materials to Syria and it’s the only remaining country that Russia has a major influence in Middle East. It is important for Russia to maintain the government that is friendly to him. Same with China.
Although US supports the rebels, they cannot provide weapons since many of the rebel fighters are militants with pro-al Qaeda sympathies, the same stripe of militants America has battled in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that may change now.
President Obama warned months ago that the use of chemical weapons is crossing a red line. A few days ago, thousands of innocent people died because of suspected chemical weapons from the Syrian government. Just right now, US had concluded that these chemical weapons were indeed used by the Syrian government.
International law dictates that any military action should be approved by the UN security council. Any resolution will be vetoed by Russia being a close ally of Syria. But western powers are saying that the use of chemical weapons should warrant a military response, with or without a UN resolution.
Western powers (US, France, Britain, Germany) are now preparing for a military response. With them are their NATO allies including Sunni countries such as Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc. President Obama said that he hasn’t decided yet but who knows? Remember, war creates business opportunities.
What will happen in the event of a military strike? The safest US option is to launch missiles from naval ships and submarines stationed over the Mediterranean Sea (US 6th fleet) and Persian Gulf and Red Sea (US 5th fleet). Sending troops is costly (US troops are stretched thin because of the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars). But it is expected that additional support will be provided by its allies.
The adversary/ies: Syria has a stockpile of chemical weapons that can be immediately used in retaliations. I am sure that the number one and easy target is Israel. Iran as an ally of Syria can also use Hezbollah (a terrorist organization it supports) to wreak havoc in Israel and Lebanon. When Iran joined the fray, Saudi (and other Sunni countries) will automatically reacts too. In my opinion, Russia and China can only watch and provide “cheering” support for Syria. They know that they don’t have the capability to match US’ might (as of now). Based on these delicate and complex relationships in the Middle East, it can’t be helped that any miscalculations will have dire repercussions.
Israel (being a Jewish country) on the other hand is a target for all countries in the area. Calling OFWs in the Middle East especially in Israel: please prepare for this impending break out.
- If necessary do not go outside. Crude missiles will once again rain upon your land from Hezbollah in Golan heights, from Hamas and Fatah (and other subgroups) in Gaza and West Bank. Once you heard the siren, run towards your bunkers. Anyways, I know that you already know this.
- Avoid any gatherings/crowds, even buses. These are convenient targets of suicide bombings.
- Research and ask your doctors which drugs are effective against any chemical agent that Syria may use. Check sarin, nerve gas, tabun, VX and mustard gas.
- Always bring your passport with you. Some cash may help too in worst case scenarios.
- Go home to your country if it can’t be helped. Money will never compensate your life.
- If all else fails, pray.