With the war bells tolling over the long weekend, with a strike imminent in Syria may be within days, I took a mental vacation and spent sometime pondering my entries from days of other wars, in other lands I had the misfortune to witness.
Watching Syria being torn apart, tied to the hooves of wild horses running in opposite directions, brought back ghosts of the past. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, all conflicts without closure: some still ongoing yet all scattered with carcasses of States, and people, tired, impoverished, injured, dead.
The toll from mainly the secterian fighting in Iraq counts at least 657 with over a thousand injured, for the month of August only. For my friends, young Iraqis, who are trying to do their best to keep their communities and their lives afloat in Baghdad, Mousul, and Kirkuk alike, the effort turns into a life and death struggle amidst rampant bombings and kidnappings.
In Afganistan, the land outside the main cities like Kabul and Kandahar is long totalled with US and allied bombs bringing “democracy” and a powerless President. A recent Washington Post article tells the much familiar tale of ghost villages bombed out and left in rubble.
In Kosovo, a government still has not been formed, and in segregated cities like Mitrovica troubles continue to keep the outlook bleak.
All stepping stones of my life from 1997 onwards. All wars waged in “higher ideals” of the West in democracy. All massive failures.
No, democracy is not to blame. We all know it is the hypocrisy that is responsible for the deaths of civilians, for the rise of the jihadists, of secterianism, racism, and for all the death and destruction that ensued there and elsewhere, as in the embassy bombings in Kenya, the war in Darfur and the ongoing fighting in Eastern Congo.
Take the U.S., openly arming an insurgency in a sovereign state, talking about “toppling a dictator”; as if should a dictator be toppled as opposed to a “leader”, merely based on semantics and automaticaly, they will become the hero.
Hushed voices of the many Iraqis from bygone years come back to me in the warm August breeze. Sweeping among the palm trees, reminiscing the days under Saddam, as they did during that Baghdad sunset when we would hear distant car bombs, huddled inside an old schoolbuilding, in our flak jackets and helmets, waiting for the all clear call. No, they do not miss his rule, but rather their old quality of life: the little creature comforts such as safety and security.
Yes, Halabja, yes, Saddam, he was mad and cruel, no arguments there. But post-Saddam has been apocalyptic, to say the least, and mostly because of the way he was ousted. The unfounded rumors of WMDs, a war leaving not only their targets but the warriors themselves permanently damaged, one physically, the second sipiritually. Man turning into beast. Humanity’s low moments, the horrors of Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and the naturally triggered secterian infighting. Iraqis killing Iraqis, because now maybe worse than ever it is a feud and now may be worse than ever the region is overloaded with guns and ammunition, a good bye and good luck package left over from the “big brother(s).”
Russia suggesting common sense and caution in intervening in Syria is no better, while itself is losing all sense in dealing with Dagestan. Meanwhile Iran, with a new term under Rouhani’s presidency, continuing to give a boost to the Assad regime through military aid and training. Both Russia and Iran are friends of Syria under Assad, as the country is at a strategic juncture for both their geopolitical interests and is a longterm ally. So, ready to turn a blind eye on the atrocities inside Syria, shrouding them under the cloak of “state sovereignty”, focusing on the atrocities of the opposition, but such is politics. So war is no solution. But what is?
Thinking outside the box always may help. Should the West fail to engage mindful and delicate diplomacy in Syria, Syria can still do so within. Whether he realizes or not, Assad holds a wild card in his hand, the Syrian Kurds. Not recognized before the civil war, ill fit among the rebel opposition, PYD through Saleh Muslim has mentioned several times that they are not in favor of a divided Syria, but rather one where they are recognized, and hold rights. Yes they may favor an Assadless future, but considering their dislike of the Salafis, should Assad reach out with an olive branch from Damascus to Rojava, and give inner diplomacy a chance, the tide may turn.
Afterall noone will do for Syria what Syria can do for itself: stop looking for an easy fix from a dysfunctional UN, from alterior motives of allies and foes, from chemical weapons and killing, but from within. At the dissapointment of all outside forces meddling in Syria, the Syrians can do the ultimate maneuver and unite. Starting with the Alawites, the Christians and the Kurds, it can still be done. Whether or not they are willing, is another story.
But humans, by nature, like the afore mentioned creature comforts: safety, security and above all peace. The more so, if they are on the brink of losing them for life.