So what is all the hubbub about? Well, the Syrian government has been cracking down on the recent protest movement really hard. Some human rights groups estimate that at least 2,000 people have been killed and at least 10,000 have been arrested since the protests began last March.
And as we have seen in Libya, the U.S. and the EU are now willing to conduct military operations in foreign nations in order to protect civilians from their own governments. The precedent for a “humanitarian” military operation has already been set.
But with Syria things are going to be different. For one thing, Syria has much closer ties with both Russia and China than Libya did. Russia and China are not about to approve any military operation against Syria.
And the Assad regime is much stronger than the Gaddafi dictatorship. In Libya, if Gaddafi gets killed the game will more or less be over. In Syria, taking down Assad will not end things.
Right now it appears that Assad is trying to cool things down. He has told the United Nations that operations against protesters have stopped.
But that didn’t stop a chorus of leaders in the U.S. and the EU from declaring today that Assad has lost “legitimacy” and that he must step down.
The Obama administration and the EU have now put Assad on the same level as Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. There is no going back. They aren’t going to turn around 6 months from now and say that now it is okay for Assad to stay in power.
They have crossed a line and there is no going back. It is the same roadmap that was used leading up to the airstrikes in Libya.
The relationship between the western world and the Assad regime will never be the same again. You can count on that.
The following are 12 signs that we are getting dangerously close to war with Syria….
#1 Barack Obama is demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down….
“We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”#2 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was far more blunt in calling for Assad to resign….
“The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it is time for Assad to get out of the way”#3 British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement in which they demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down….
“Our three countries believe that President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country”#4 EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is calling for Assad to resign….
“The EU notes the complete loss of Bashar al-Assad’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people and the necessity for him to step aside.”#5 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that Assad should “vacate his position, relinquish power and step down immediately“.
#6 The U.S. government has imposed a fresh round of economic sanctionson Syria. These include sanctions targeting Syrian oil and gas sales.
#7 There are reports that EU officials will also impose new economic sanctions against Syria on Friday. These sanctions will also reportedly include sanctions targeting oil and gas sales. Approximately 90 percent of Syrian oil exports go to the EU, and oil and gas account for about 25 percent of Syria’s GDP.
#8 The U.S. government has frozen all Syrian government assets in the United States.
#9 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney supports these moves against Syria and believes that we need to do more to “move” Syria “toward modernity”….
“America must show leadership on the world stage and work to move these developing nations toward modernity”#10 At least 12,000 refugees from Syria have flooded into neighboring Turkey, and Turkey has been reinforcing its military forces along the border area. In recent days Turkey’s warnings to Syria have become more heated.
#11 The United Nations is “temporarily” removing some of its staff from Syria.
#12 A U.N. fact-finding mission has determined that the Syrian government is guilty of multiple human rights violations….
“The mission found a pattern of human rights violations that constitutes widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity”Without a doubt, the pressure on the Syrian government is going to be very intense?
So what if Assad gets desperate?
What will he do?
What is his play?
Well, if he really feels backed into a corner he may pull out one of the only cards that he has left – a war with Israel.
There would be nothing like war with Israel to unite the Islamic world. It would be a way that Assad could get all of his neighbors in the Middle East back on his side.
But in the event of a war between Syria and Israel, there is a very good chance that the U.S. and /or the EU would intervene.
And that could potentially be the spark that sets off World War III.
Even before this recent crisis in Syria, tensions in the Middle East were rising to very dangerous levels. Another major war could literally start at any time. The Middle East is a timebomb that could go off at any moment.
We live in very unstable times, and it is almost as if someday is trying to push the Middle East towards war. Let us hope for peace, but let us also realize that war is becoming more likely every single day.