With the recent images of the bombings of Aleppo plastered all over our screens people tend to (understandably) get very emotional about the whole thing and with emotion comes loss of focus.
I’ve been following to an extent what is going on and what is happening so here’s a “Syrian conflict for dummies” and my insight on how a sustainable solution could be reached:
There are broadly two sides in the conflict: there’s the Syrian government (led by Assad) and then there are the rebels.
Both sides are Muslim but the government side is Shiite while the rebel forces are largely Sunni. Shiite’s are a minority group within the islam world (<10%) and tend to be more “modern” in Western eyes while Sunni’s are more traditionalist islamic. This is partly due to the former believing that religious leadership is hereditary while the latter strictly observes the ancient scriptures.
The difference shows in it’s most practical sense by the fact that the rebel forces are riddled with AQ & ISIS forces.
There are of course the Kurds but these want independence rather than regime change in Syria so I am just (while I think that they’re a great ally of the West) going to leave them aside for the moment.
So the rest of the world is faced with a choice between two sides: The more modern/western government or the traditionalist/hardcore islamic rebels riddled with terrorist groups.
And here comes the twist; the USA (and Europe to some extent) has decided to support the rebels. Yes that’s right, the group containing strong elements of the organisations responsible for the many, many terror attacks across the globe in the recent decades.
Russia on the other hand has put their might behind the government forces.
Why? I’m sure that it’s not because of love for Assad but rather because Russia is seeing the bigger picture and taking a long-term view. If the rebels are allowed to win this war than Syria will turn into a failed state occupied by a number of radical islamist groups who will not only continue to fight each other but who will continue to plan and execute attacks on the rest of the world. It would be as big or even bigger mess than Libya is now.
If the rebels are defeated however then we are left with a more moderate state with not only an ideology more favourable to the western world but a state and a government which owes a huge debt to whichever countries helped it to defeat the rebels. At that time the opportunity to either replace Assad or to force him to stop committing atrocities against his own people presents itself. It’s good old-fashioned nation-building.
So as a conclusion ask yourself this; what do you want the future Syria to be like? Another radical islamist breeding ground or a country with a government which is not only respectful of its own citizens but also a country which is sympathetic to western democratic values and beliefs?