Syria Wastes Away


Saadallah_after_the_explosionEgyptians can count their blessings on nights cut short by martial law. While their national identity has shifted into a schism, they don’t have to live in Syria.

The United Nations has reported that one million children have fled Syria’s borders. Those frightened boys and girls now live as refugees, always at the mercy of strangers, vulnerable to a harsh and unwelcome future. But if divine providence appears in this civil war, it has come to remove them from the horrors of chemical weapons. As analysts and investigators seek answers in a war zone, we can only imagine the brutal nature of those who control an arsenal of sarin gas. Someone who does not restrict such weaponry to military targets and allows the gas to touch his own people has fallen into the ranks of demons.

Neighboring countries are now shelter states. Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have shuddered from a huge shift in displacement from the dispossessed. Local government relief is reinforced by UNICEF, the Red Cross, Caritas, and scores of other agencies. But relief really means logistics. To attend to the needs of millions, you need a variety of currency, tents, field hospitals, doctors, nurses, vaccinations, helicopters and cargo planes, water supplies, schools, interpreters, psychologists, diplomats, prefab buildings, carpenters, engineers, truck drivers, security, and anything else that comes to mind. The Syrians deserve protection, comfort and dignity. And in the greatest exodus of recent history, they continue to appear.

At the moment, non-violent intervention is the only option for foreign governments. Destroying the Syrian Army’s chemical stockpiles and weapon systems is the first step in taking responsibility for a broken nation. There is no hand-picked, Western-educated politician to place at President Bashar al-Assad’s desk in Damascus. The Free Syrian Army does not behave like an army. The exiled leaders that speak for the Syrian people are politically and culturally divided. Citizens are as fearful of rebels as they are of the Syrian government. When you throw in a regular stream of arms dealers and Islamic jihadis, the Syrian picture is horribly complicated.

The worst wars are fought for many different reasons. The Syrian Civil War is fueled on religious zealotry, petty crime, old rivalries, and the need for political justice. The state may be destined to exist partly in exile, partly in besieged cities, and partly in the refugees that assimilate into other lands.

Politics and prayers are all that remain for outsiders to help this ancient nation and its people. Despite their own troubles, Egyptians have much to be thankful for. . . for they too fear the day when Cairo becomes Damascus, and a civil war brings all to ruin.


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