Syria’s Civil War began in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring Uprisings. The protestors called for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. The military responded harshly and revolutionary forces were created. These consist of groups like the Free Syrian Army, the Al Nusra Front and the Syrian Democratic Force. They gained the support of the United States.
Vlad Putin‘s Russian Army moved to support Assad. The Russian Federation has a naval base at Tartus. Hezbollah, foreign operatives with the backing of Iran, sent forces from South Lebanon to support the Syrian government.
In the middle of this, up jumped ISIL, an apocalyptic military Sunni cult. They have attacked both sides in the fight and have confounded the original struggle. Their goal is to carve out a Islamic State based on strict religious law.
These events seem to have doomed the Arab Spring, as is similar in other Islamic nations (DW.com).
Allegations the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the struggle have persisted. Civilian casualties have been high. Human rights groups in Russia have recently called into question their government’s involvement in the conflict (The Guardian). There are also calls in the United States to pull out of the conflict (Business Insider).
The problem is; what will happen if we abandon those fighting on the side of freedom? We will send a message to tyrannical forces that we can be outlasted. We will be sending allies, present and future, the same message.
ISIL is a reactionary group of deposed Sunni soldiers and like minded people. Sunnis saw their positions in society handed over to the more numerous Shi’ites as a direct result of the US invasion. Wonder if Allah saw that coming? We owe the Iraqi people and the Kurds help in dealing with ISIL. Part of dealing with that threat should be diplomatic. A power sharing agreement between groups in Iraq should be a priority. Abandoning them militarily is not an option at this time. We made our bed….
The US builds coalitions to achieve military and political objectives in the World Arena. We cannot afford to lose credibility. Our steadfastness is not only being challenged in the Muslim world. Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea are nervously watching the growing military might of China. Military might financed by the US for over 20 years as the “Most Favored Nation”(National Review). Our position, and that of democracy, is more tenuous than most care to realize. Now is not the time for weakness.