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Syria’s humanitarian crisis

Dr Muhammad Khan
Entitled as, “The Emerging Trump Doctrine: Don’t Follow Doctrine” Peter Baker wrote in The New York Times on April 8, 2017 that, prior to his election as US President, Trump was against American involvement in Syria conflict. Trump was more inclined towards Moscow with friendly gestures for a future partnership. Nevertheless, he was against the China, thus signalled many a time against this Asian rise power, which poses a very clear threat to US global hegemony. Peter writes, “Mr. Trump spent years arguing that Syria’s civil war was not America’s problem, that Russia should be a friend, and that China was an “enemy” whose leaders should not be invited to dinner.” Contrary to his earlier claims and promises, Mr Trump, as an unpredictable US President is doing exactly the opposite. On the executive orders of President Trump, US forces launched Missile attack on Syrian with sixty Tomahawk missiles. This attack was launched from US warships in the Mediterranean Sea and targeted Syrian Airbase, which US official believe was used as a launching pad for the chemical weapons attack by Syrian Government. This US attack and the statement of President Trump that, it was in best American national security interest, speaks of continuation of Pentagon’s policy, which Trump could not dare to change. The US attack however has angered Moscow, which has moved its ships in the Mediterranean, at least to deter any future US offensive against Asad regime. Putin’s Russia has taken this US attack as a big blow to its pro Asad policies, rather fighting jointly against the Syrian rebels and particularly the ISIS, which was earlier indicated by either side. The new and direct US attack I Syria has invited a new acrimonious riftwith Russia, which is part of US national security policy and in fact a defeat of Trump’s policies. The Russian response to this US attack is a direct warning, predicting a serious consequence. According to Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, “We strongly condemn the illegitimate actions by the US. The consequences of this for regional and international stability could be extremely serious.” Russian Premier, Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement that, US strikes on Syria ‘were one step away from clashing with Russia’s military.’ At the same time, Trump has to welcome President Xi Jinping of China on dinner at his Florida State with lot of sanguinity, at least apparently. Engaging China at the diplomatic front is again continuation of Obama’s policy, thus, Trump could do nothing to reverse, despite his earlier hateful speeches against china. On the issue of US attack on Syria, Chinese media criticised the Trump administration. The state run Chinese Xinhua, “called the strike the act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles.” This news agency criticised the US after Chinese President Xi Jinping left the US. In the opinion of Chinese media and officials, Trump’s attack against Syria is aimed at dispelling the impression that, he (Trump) has an inclination towards Russia. It is worth mentioning that, the current state of affairs in Syria is result of the Syrian uprisings, started in 2011. Unfortunately, the domestic rift invited regional countries to exploit the worsening situation to their respective advantages on ideological and ethnic basis. The diverging regional interests not only further complicated the nature of conflict but also provided a battleground for the major powers for their power play against each other, away from their national boundaries, both claiming that their involvement in Syria is in their national interests. The regional rivalries provided an excuse to the major powers; some already had their bases in the Middle East. These powers are now fully exploiting the rift among the regional countries to their respective strategic and economic advantages. The overt involvement of the cold war rivals; Russia and United States in the regional conflict has left less manoeuvring space for the Bashar al Asad as well as the regional actors like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Turkey, a member of NATO, seems more inclined towards Russia, rather US and Europe. Turkey strongly realises that, United States and European powers are behind the Kurds, fighting for their separate homeland. The element of Daesh (ISIS) is very critical in the regional politics. On one hand, US is fighting against ISIS and Al-Qaeda, but on the other hand these groups are fighting against Asad Regime alongside other rebels supported by Trans-Atlantic Alliance. This is a very tricky scenario of having double standards. Then, ISIS has killed only Muslims; no Israeli or American has been killed by this mysterious group, taking cover of Islam but acting in contradiction to this Great religion (Islam), which preaches peace and love for entire humanity. Indeed, the current sceario in Syria is a true reflection of global power struggle with Syria emerged a real battle ground. With this new US direct attack, the power play is expected to be more vicious in nature and prolong in duration. Whereas, for the old rivals (US and Russia), it would be a conflict for defeating each other’s influence in the region, the sufferers are the Syrians, the larger masses of entire Middle East. Amid rising global power struggle and a conflicting situation in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, it is difficult to achieve peace in the region. Although the regional conflicts need a regional solution, however for the peace in this volatile region, the major powers need reconciliation and reorientation in advancing their agendas for international peace.
The most significant part of the Syrian conflict is the human sufferings in the form of casualties, loss of property, migrations and displacements. US has put a ban on the Syrian and Muslim immigrants and so did most of EU countries. Whether it is Russian assault on rebels or US attack on Asad forces, it is the Syrian and the Muslims which are suffering. The death toll since 2011 is over 1.2 million. The latest chemical attack cause over 77 deaths, mostly civilians. According to Prof Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research Network, The US ‘Pentagon has been training the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.’ There are reports of “US-backed plan to launch a chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime”. The objectives are clear; to create an excuse for attacking the Syria as and when desire.
There is a need that, Syrian conflict should be declared as humanitarian crisis. UN forces of neutral Muslim countries be deployed in Syria. Russia and US should be asked to stop their military intervention and military actions in Syria and gradually all external players should be ousted from this war-torn country. Pakistan being a neutral Muslim country along with China must lobby for such a breakthrough. This would avoid further human sufferings in a brotherly Muslim country.

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