Intervention: Syria’s most unresolved issue
The Middle East is littered with remnants of failed Western military interventions that at first were based on sound reason and logic
The Middle East is littered with remnants of failed Western military interventions that at first were based on sound reason and logic, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Syria. With Russian military forces and US back-pocket arms deals to rebels, the Syrian conflict is constantly being reshaped by the changing face of modern Western intervention.
Contrary to its claims, the United States is not entirely excluding a military solution to the crisis. The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a rebel coalition in eastern Syria, is heavily backed by Washington. Meanwhile, France does not shy away from the fact that it has deployed boots on the ground to assist in the SDF offensive, mainly in Manbij in Aleppo.
So intervention in Syria is happening, but it is indirect and unconventional, with Western powers allying with local factions. Despite the enmity between these alliances, they share a common desire to annihilate extremist militants, mainly al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Giving the SDF a democracy-orientated name legitimizes the indirect US military intervention, but by no means serves democratic reform in Syria. Rather, Washington is fostering the idea that democracy will only be achieved by military power.
Instead of the West taking a step back and promoting a solution that is sustainable and not based on what seems ideal in the moment, it is pouring yet more arms into a highly militarized conflictDr. Halla Diyab
Instead of the West taking a step back and promoting a solution that is sustainable and not based on what seems ideal in the moment, it is pouring yet more arms into a highly militarized conflict. The most bizarre facet of this intervention is how Western powers are competing for local allies with financial and military offers. With Russia trying to recruit US-supported rebel groups to fight al-Nusra and ISIS, Syrians’ desire for political reform and democracy is compromised.
With rebel leaders weighing up the best offers, the question of their loyalty arises. One day, so-called “democratic” fighters may claim to stand with the United States, and tomorrow they could declare their support for Russia. As a result, arms are easily passed to the rebels, whose nationalistic and “democratic” relativism is not fully defined or known.
Western intervention is distorting the history of the Syrian people’s popular struggle, diverting attention and diminishing it into a proxy war. The current Western intervention will not produce a free democratic state, but rather small divided territories ruled by the most ruthless and powerful. There is no magic wand to end the conflict, but the West will be forced to live with its miscalculation for decades to come.
Dr. Halla Diyab is an award winning screen-writer, producer, broadcaster, a published author and an activist. She has a Ph.D. in English and American Studies from the University of Leicester. She carried out research in New Orleans, USA while working on her thesis “The Examination of Marginality and Minorities in the Drama and Film of Tennessee Wil-liams”. She holds an MA in Gender and Women Studies from the University of Warwick. She has written a number of scripts for TV dramas countering religious extremism and international terrorism resulting in her being awarded Best Syrian Drama Script Award 2010 and the Artists Achievement Award 2011. She is a regular commentator in the Brit-ish and international media and has recently appeared on Channel 4 News, BBC Newsnight, BBC This Week, CNN, Sky News, Channel 5 News, ITV Central, Al Jazeera English, and BBC Radio 4, to name a few. She is a public speaker who spoke at the House of Commons, the Spectator Debate, Uniting for Peace and London’s Frontline Club. She has worked in Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Syria and is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic culture. As a highly successful drama writer, she has been dubbed ‘one of the most influential women in Syria’ in 2011. She also produces documentary films for UK and international channels. She is also the Founder & Director of Liberty Media Productions which focuses on cross-cultural issues between Britain and the Middle East. She can be found on Twitter: @drhalladiyab