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Archives: World ignores massacre in Syria to its detriment

Originally published in February 2012
Simon Nguyen

When Syrian dissidents took to the streets last year to protest the Bashar al-Assad regime, they did not anticipate a muted response from the world community. Thousands of civilian deaths later, outside support for Syria’s democratic movement has been almost nonexistent.

There are no air blockade to protect civilians, no significant humanitarian aid, and no genocide charges against Assad. Leaders like French president Nicolas Sarkozy and U.S. president Barack Obama, both of whom spoke so strongly against Muammar Gaddafi’s carnage in Libya, have been frustratingly subdued on Syria.

Western countries like to pin the blame for the inaction on Russia and China – the two countries that vetoed a U.N. resolution that called for President Assad to step down. Yet, any right-minded person would have known such a veto was coming. Considering the close ties between these countries and Syria, there was absolutely no chance they would abandon their ally. The resolution was clearly a pretense to shift the blame and avoid responsibility. 

If the world does not put a stop to the massacre in Syria, the implications would be significant. Democratic activists around the world will likely question the double standard. Why were the U.S. and NATO so eager to jump into the Libyan conflict, but are staying on the sidelines in regards to the ongoing massacre in Syria?

The obvious conclusion appears to be that western countries will only intervene to prevent genocide or to support democracy when it is convenient. Libya was a convenient target, because the country is oil-rich and Gaddafi had few powerful allies. On the other hand, Syria has the backing of Russia and is a regional power.

Recent U.S. intelligence indicated al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have infiltrated Syria. The inaction by the international community may have given al-Qaeda an opening to hijack the democratic movement in the region. If the information was correct, this could be the beginning of a never-ending nightmare.

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