• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Time to Call the Syrian War What It Is

As the cumulative number of Syrian internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees are reaching over seven million—one third of the country’s total population—we have to stop thinking about ‘Syrian civil war’ and start thinking about ‘Syrian genocide.’ With each spur of violence, more people joined the ranks of IDPs or refugees, with little to no hope of humanitarian living conditions, education, or future. Unless the international community can treat this crisis as genocide and ponder long and hard about its long-term effects, it is highly unlikely that they will realize the need for ceasing violence and restoring some kind of order.

Unfortunately, Assad and armed opposition groups have more influence on people’s lives compared to the non-violent resistance that is taking shape in Syria. This has dire consequences due to one simple fact: violence begets displacement. In a recent interview, the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent stated that the numbers of IDPs are on the rise and now it exceeded 5 million. According to the latest UNHCR numbers, surrounding countries are hosting more than 2 million refugees. What is worse, a recent report highlights the fact that most of the refugees in refugee camps are not registered and thus are not counted within UNHCR’s numbers.

What is worse, the same report suggests that refugee camps are not unlike prisons. Not only there is a decline in children’s education matched with a rise in child labor, but also the refugees in the camps are under strict surveillance. Perhaps, the worst of all, they do not help people with a sense of fulfillment: “you receive your daily portion of food and water and are asked to wait, hopelessly, passively.” It is not a surprise, then, to read that some Syrians are leaving the relative security of the refugee camps and going back into the warzone.

Every spur of violence creates more and more IDPs and refugees—and numbers will only increase over time as violence continues. While the international community made a rare intelligent decision of not bombing Syria, so far they have not helped ceasing violence. In fact, an unintended consequence of the deal between Russia and the US about Syrian chemical weapons have been the increase of violence between Assad and opposition groups, as well as between the opposition groups themselves. While the Assad regime hailed the deal as a victory (and celebrated with air/shell strikes around Damascus), armed opposition groups perceived the deal as a legitimation of the Assad regime. This disappointment coincides with new violence between previously aligned Sunni armed opposition groups, and between Sunni and Kurdish resistance.

The international community supports this violence. As a recent article in the Time magazine puts it: Syria’s Rebels Turn on One Another, and that is not a Bad Thing. The article treats the increasing violence among armed opposition groups as an “opportunity” to shed off affiliations with al-Qaeda, organize, unite and fight back. In addition to a pseudo-colonial imposition of legitimization of violence unto other, the article also does not note the real consequences of violence. According to a report published by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, while not at the level of the Assad’s forces, armed opposition groups also engage in war crimes, senseless murder, rape and other horrors of war; and they “continue to endanger the civilian population by positioning military objectives in civilian areas.”

Moreover, supporting armed opposition, hoping one of them will defeat Assad, is not different than supporting an international military intervention. Both cases increase violence, displacement, and gain almost no ground towards a solution. While the international military intervention was shot down in almost every country, supporting the resistance achieves the same goal without the bad reputation. Supporting armed opposition groups ensures the continuity of violence, without the ‘west’ doing the dirty work—appearing clear in conscience to their public.

Instead of supporting armed groups, the international community should lend their support and give voice to non-violent resistance and call for cease-fire across all the groups—the only way to stop further increase in the number of IDPs and refugees—matched with an increased help in dealing with the refugee crisis. Violence among armed groups, opposition or not, only ensures that generations of Syrians grow up with no education, trauma, poverty and other terrors of war. And that is a systematic way to eradicate people based on who they are. That is genocide.

Ali E. Erol, Ph.D. is a lecturer in the School of International Service at The American University.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
Nyla Ali Khan
The Sociopolitical and Historical Context That Shaped Kashmiri Women Like My Grandmother in the 1940s
Louis Proyect
Does Neo-Feudalism Define Our Current Epoch?
Ralph Nader
S. David Freeman: Seven Decades of Participating in Power for All of Us
Norman Solomon
Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police and Her VP Quest
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuela in the 2020 Pandemic
Ron Mitchell
Defending Our Public Lands: One Man’s Legacy
Nomi Prins 
The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style: Crashes, Then and Now
Richard C. Gross
About That City on A Hill
Kathleen Wallace
An Oath for Hypocrites
Eve Ottenberg
Common Preservation or Extinction?
Graham Peebles
Air Pollution Mental Illness and Covid-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Unearned Income for All
Evan Jones
The Machine Stops
Nicky Reid
Proudhon v. Facebook: A Mutualist Solution to Cyber Tyranny
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What is a “Native” Plant in a Changing World?
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Why are Our Leaders Still Putting Their Faith in the Rich?
John Kendall Hawkins
In Search of the Chosŏn People of Lost Korea
Nick Licata
How Hydroxychloroquine Could Help Trump…Politically
Jill Richardson
Tens of Millions of Are Out of Work, Why on Earth is Trump Trying to Cut Food Aid?
Susan Block
Incel Terrorism
Mitchel Cohen
Masks and COVID-19: an Open Letter to Robert Kennedy Jr and Children’s Health Defense
May 28, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail