Why current Syria strategy is inefficient and ineffective; and why it will continue with Cameron's planned airstrikes.
Syria. A word that conjures up many emotions, for most of us negative. Death, bombs, refugees, war. Peace usually doesn’t spring to mind when it is mentioned. But peace is the first thing we should all — political leaders and general public alike — think of when we hear it. After all, that’s what all the economic sanctions, military maneuvers, and fickle diplomacy has been for, right? Or rather has it just been a show to satiate the whims of a misinformed populous just looking for easy answers to difficult questions? How realistic a chance of success has any policy towards the mess that is Syria actually had? As David Cameron lays out a seven-point plan for UK involvement through airstrikes, I’d argue that more of the same will mean exactly that — a continuation and intensification of conflict and chaos.
Let us analyze the situation as it stands. ‘Allied’ or ‘coalition’ airstrikes (whatever that means considering each ‘ally’ has conflicting interests and agendas) have intensified of late, especially following the tragic terror attacks recently carried out in Paris, Beirut, and elsewhere. Cameron claims that such action has done damage to ISIL positions throughout the region, and this is indeed the case. However damage to ISIL does not mean peace on the ground — the equation is not so simple as 1-1=0. The situation in reality is much more muddled. The positions and relative strength of Syrian government forces and the various rebel groups — moderate and otherwise — must also be adequately accounted for by the UK and other external actors before intervening with bombs. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
Then there is the issue of who is bombing whom. The allies and Russia are all operating at cross-purposes, and adding more airstrikes to the fray will only overcomplicate things further. After all, there’s already Turkey bombing Kurdish Rebels, the US supporting Turkey AND moderate Kurdish rebels whilst bombing ISIL, Russia supporting the Assad regime by bombing ISIL and various rebel groups, Assad bombing everyone not on his side, and of course the recent incident where Turkey shot down a Russian jet. How will MORE airstrikes make things clearer? I’ll answer this one for you — it won’t.
The fact remains that no allied country has intervened with legitimate ground forces to this point. Without this, there can be no assurance that even if airstrikes do diminish ISIL capacities to the point of “withering away” as Cameron postulates, other rebels won’t see this power vacuum and take advantage of it. Look at Iraq after the war, the situation from which ISIL arose. Consider Libya, a country still mired in a power-struggle after Gaddafi was overthrown by ‘moderate’ rebels with the assistance of allied airstrikes lacking a ground presence. Will we learn from these histories, or just ignore them?
If the UK does indeed move forward with airstrikes — which at present there is much support for on both sides of the aisle — we should also truly consider the results of such action. Without boots on the ground, airstrikes will only exacerbate the situation in Syria long term. And seeing as there is no stomach for a ground campaign from any of the allied nations, expect a continuation of conflict to be made manifest.
Death, bombs, refugees, war — David Cameron has laid out his seven-point plan to ensure conflict in Syria for decades more. Whatever the answer to these complex questions may be, I can assure you it’s not more of the same. Unfortunately Dave doesn’t read Daily News Service, what a shame.