Looking into the situation that has been occurring in Syria it is hard not to make comparisons on the reasons under which NATO had led attacks against Gaddafi forces in Libya.
In this case you have a dictatorship who is attacking his own countries citizens to what appeared to have started as peaceful protesting that only turned violent when the Syrian army stepped in and started using live ammunition against civilians. Granted that both sides have stories to tell however since the banning of foreign media in Syria by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, it isn’t easy to get the full picture of what is occurring. Though what can be stated through media websites such as YouTube is that there are definitely unarmed civilians being killed, wounded by forces who appear to be Syrian security personnel.
The United Nation’s has estimated that over 3,000 people have been killed with many more injured according to their reports. However the Libyan government have agreed with the total amount of dead to around the same amount, though stating that security personnel have taken a loss of 1,500 people; blaming this death toll on “armed gangs”.
The protests which started on the 15th of March 2011 has raised many questions as to whether or not the West should intervene under the same conditions that were made against Libya. – To enforce a no-fly zone and to start bombing targets which are a threat to the civilian population. However what appears to be halting any action from taking place is the fact that Russia still has influence in Syria, owning a Soviet-era naval base in the country which still exists today. There are several other factors of course, however if we excluded other foreign interests from other powerful countries, the west attacked Libya for the same things which are occurring in Syria. It doesn’t make sense that the same action is not being taken against Syria. Yet countries were extremely fast to act over the decision making that occurred in Libya.
Could this be a time where western countries are too afraid to attack after considering the consequences. Or are leaders afraid of their poll ratings back at home since effectively involvement of the western countries in the middle-east is almost seemingly similar to what George Bush may have done, if he were still in power? Is it that same perspective of involving your country into the affairs of others which does not effect your country, stagnate any further possibility of a second intervention in the middle-east, in recent and new times taking place at-all. It shouldn’t be the job of the west to the police the world, but when we ask ourselves the question, “should we intervene when we can, if innocents are being killed?”. Of course it shouldn’t be up to anyone one country, which is why a NATO-led operation against Libya took place with the approval of the 22 member state Arab League. However should we not be seeking the same type of military action and United Nation’s regulations against Syria as well. It only seems a logical step considering the case against Libya.
Though one does have to ask how military options could help the situation in Syria. Perhaps for this situation the military card is not on the table. For example, Libya under the control of Gaddafi consisted of a ground force troop number of 76,000 soldiers; of which a fair few defected to support the NTC. However Syria on the other hand has built up its military and has a 300,000 active military personnel roster.
Considering the fact that the Libyan armed forces are also aligned with the views of the president, since he is an Alawi, as the armed forces consist of around 70% Alawites while the remainder are from other parts of Syria. – It may be difficult to sway the opinion of the armed forces to join the people. – Which is something that occurred against Gadaffi’s regime and something which in-fact occurred in Egypt as well. However the disparity in the Syrian armed forces is that Alawites consist of only 4 million people out of a population of nearly 22 million. Having a President who is also an Alawi gives this minority more reasoning to fight for him, considering they are a minority who want to be in control of the remote control. Although it is only one person at the top who actually controls the country. That is just my theory, so take it with a grain of salt.
I guess we will see where this develops.