E O EkeSunday, September 1, 2013
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nce again, the world is experiencing another catastrophe. So far, close to 100,000 people have died in Syria and many towns bombed back to the dark ages and there appears to be no sign that the end is near. What many feared would happen in Syria, if the rebels or freedom fighter were encourage to take up arms against the Assad government has already started to happen. The Syrian opposition has revealed its fractious and extreme nature which has moderated the west enthusiasm to help them and there is now a stalemate. It is now obvious that the initial optimism that the rebels would win was unfounded or at best, over optimistic.

Having encouraged them to start fighting in the first instance, America and European union are now unsure whether to arm them with the weapon they need to match Assad forces, for fear that the weapons would end up in the hands of jihadist who will use it against western interests after the war; or intervene militarily to win the war on their behalf. Then comes the chemical weapon attack which appears to have changed the equation and given America and Europe the excuse they need to enter the fray.

I am not a fan of Bashir Al- Assad. He is a dictator who should give way and listen to what the majority of the citizens of Syria want. In a perfect world, this is what should have happened and the war would have been unnecessary. Unfortunately we live in a world where the likes of Robert Mugabe can win presidential elections seven times and many African politicians allowed to impoverish their countries through corruption because they hide their loot in the West. In the world we live in, America and Europe arrogated to themselves the right to intervene in other countries when they decide that what is happening there is unacceptable to them. In recent time, they have done it in Ivory Coast, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan and now will do the same in Syria no matter what any person thinks for the simple reason that they have the power to do so. They seem irritated by the effrontery of Bashir Al-Assad, unmindful that as a surgeon, he is programmed to judge himself by the final result. Bashir Al-Assad sees himself as a leader who is defending his country and government against rebellion and he will consider any price to preserve the integrity of Syria worth paying.

Bashir Al Assad is a desperate man who is convinced of the justness of his cause in a conflict where it is difficult to separate the good guys from the bad guys. With the support of a resurgent Russia and belligerent Iran, Syria may be another Afghanistan or Vietnam in the making. American and his allies should stop and ponder the state of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, before further arming the Syrian rebels or intervening to weaken the resolve of Al Assad; to enable the rebels to overrun Syria. Bombing Syria, and destroying her air defences, airports and military barracks will not bring peace to Syria. There is no convincing case to bomb Syria because of the allegation that Bashir Al Assad has used chemical weapons on his enemies.

While I do no not support the use of chemical weapon or any other weapon at all for that matter, I think that the distinction on the right way to kill an enemy who is determined to kill one is semantic. As we say in Nigeria ďall die be, dieĒ and there cannot be any kindness when the motive is to kill. Some people do not simply share the idea of a humane way of killing an enemy one wants dead in a war where one has to kill or be killed and this is what some western minds do not seem to understand. The western idea that how a living thing is killed is important, makes very little sense to the average religious and traditional mind that sees justification in using anything at his disposal to eliminate an enemy who will kill him by any means if he has the chance. In wars, people use whatever they have to prevail.

If the world is repulsed by the use of chemical weapon in Syria, there is existing legal frame work to bring the perpetrators to justice. Bashir Al-Assad can be indicted for crimes against humanity and taken to the world court where he will face justice. There is no moral obligation on America and her allies to intervene in Syrian civil war to arm those whose idea of life is laced in religious intolerance and extremism. America and her allies do not need to weaken the legitimate Syrian government to enable the rebels to win. The Syrian rebels are not the good guys and Bashir Al-Assad is not the bad guy. This is a struggle for power and each side has those who support it in Syria, a defeat will spell death for them. Therefore, war cannot be the right solution to the Syrian crisis.

Watching Barrack Obama make the case for military intervention in Syria sent chills down my spine. It is like experiencing a flash back of a traumatic experience. It would seem to me that what has become a cycle of the dance of death is being repeated in Syria. In the last 12 years it has been one catastrophic mistake after another. From the Iraq war after the September 11 terrorist attack in new York, there has been a gradual acceptance of deception, subterfuge, force, and out right dishonesty as legitimate instrument of diplomacy and the world must pause to think.

We watched spell bound as Tony Blair and George Bust convinced the world that Saddam Hussein had none-existent weapons of mass destruction. They then set out to look for a man who was hiding in Tora Bora in Iraq. Next came the vandalisation of Libya and truth died. Today, it is the tragedy of Syria and the world squabbles. When opportunity was presented during the recent G8 meeting in Moscow for Barrack Obama to speak face to face with President Putin of Russia and agree a solution to the Syrian crisis, he found a convenient excuse in the case of an American whistle-blower seeking asylum in Russia and did not provide the needed leadership. All they needed was to agree to force the parties to a peace conference and demand immediate cease fire. If America tells the rebels to stop fighting and Russia tells Bashir to stop fighting, Syria will experience a moment of calm and the negotiation can begin. Where is leadership and wisdom in this world when they are needed to stop men from continuing in the path of destruction?

Barak Obama should pause and consider what would be the fate of the Alawites, Shias, Christians and other minorities in Syria; should the rebels with extreme religious world views gain power. Obama only needs to look at what has happened and continue to happen to Christians, and other religious and ethnic minority groups in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to imagine what could happen to those who do not share the same ethnicity and, or religious world view with the victorious side in this civil war. The only right path in this conflict is for those who have the power and means to intervene, to walk the path of peace by bringing the warring factions to a peace table, where they can discuss their differences and agree the way forward, which would guarantee the liberty of all Syrians, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.

It would be a monumental mistake akin to the invasion of Iraq on a lie, to arm a group, led by people who find justification to eat raw, the human hearts of their victims. I see very little difference between a person who will eat his enemies raw and one who kills them with a gas. Both are men with great capacity to do evil and they should be prevailed upon to see the evil of their ways. How can the world choose between a monster and a savage? When two evil men fight, a good man must support the path of peace and justice with the hope to nudging them towards good. The rebels are not less evil than Bashir Al- Assad. The reasonable person to support in the Syrian Civil war is Bashir Al-Assad. Not to defeat the rebels, but to work for peace by addressing their concerns and reasons for oppossing him in the first instance. Not because he is without faults, but because he gives Syria the best option of returning to civilisation. The west should sue for peace. America should consider carefully the wisdom of the British parliament vote opposing military intervention with the view to charting a path to peaceful solution. War is always a bad solution to human problem and remains a failure of humanity. Failure in Syria will be catastrophic.

For once, the west should listen to Russia on Syria. President Putin is honest in his conviction and his solution can be improved to deliver peace in Syria. A simple formula for peace in Syria would involve the west disarming the rebels, Russia guaranteeing the exit of Assad and the United Nations, Arab league and European Union organising a free and fair election in Syria. A cease fire should be called and the rebels should be advised to lay down their arms on the condition that Bashir Al-Assad leaves with his family to exile and a national unity government formed which will administer Syria while elections are conducted. This will deliver relative peace and certainly better than the current Obama plan. America cannot always approach every problem by bombing first and asking questions later. Maybe, they should try asking the questions first and reserve bombing after the get answers to their questions.

The alternative could be to persuade the rebels to agree to a cease fire, while holding on to their arms and territory under their control, while Assad remains in power until a new government is elected. Once a new president is elected, Assad will leave office with full honour and will choose where he wants to live. He should not be forced into exile. This arrangement may deliver peace and save Syria form suicide.

Syria is now a tes tes fly on the scrotum of the world and it would be wrong to attempt to kill it by smashing it against the scrotum. The question is, if a rebe group l takes up arms against a western government because it has mismanaged the economy or operating a monarchy, will America think it is a good thing to support the rebels, when they know that they are led by men who would eat the hearts of their victims. Is it farfetched that such a people would use chemical weapon on their own people, if it will enable them achieve the victory they seek. In wars, nothing is really what it seems. As they say, truth is the first casualty of war and that includes the Syrian civil war. The world is waiting. Obama, please rise to the occasion, the British parliament has shown the way.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.