Kenitra - In Aleppo, a world-class historical city 60 miles south of Turkey, everyone is searching for a perverted truth, a blatant fallacy and a false victory over an alleged enemy.
Kenitra – In Aleppo, a world-class historical city 60 miles south of Turkey, everyone is searching for a perverted truth, a blatant fallacy and a false victory over an alleged enemy.
In this now-isolated and under siege town, chaos reins over order while hatred and sectarian violence prevail over love and unity. With a population of more than two millions, Aleppo, the biggest city in Syria and one of the most populated towns in the Levant, is already on its way toward becoming the new Stalingrad, Kosovo, or Trail of Tears in Syria. With an alarming tale of endless murder, bombing, and dislocation, Aleppo, now marks a new episode in the history of bloodshed and loss; A new chapter in the story of shame.
Historically, Aleppo has always been a strategic locale; the historical population density, the richness of culture and ethnicity, the significance of commercial and military proficiency, and the authenticity of traditional markets make this “midway-between-the Mediterranean-Sea-and-Mesopotamia”, a unique place. Unfortunately, all of this glory, fame, and magic is now collapsing. The leaves of Oak and Cedar trees are falling apart, the smell of gun powder is coming out much stronger than the spices of its bazaars, and the Andalusian-style-wooded windows are being shattered all over the place.
In fact, Aleppo is just an example; just one manifestation of a multiple-manifestation reality as Syria itself is. The whole Middle East now is under an unprecedented pressure and an emotional siege. Be it in Yemen, Iraq or in Libya, the contradictions abound in the region, there is no normalcy to hold onto. There is no truth to believe in except for the horrific numbers of casualties. In Syria, so far, over 200,000 are dead, more than 2 million are seriously injured, and almost 4.5 million have already been displaced or dislocated to refugee camps throughout the Levant and Europe. Do we have to attend this performance of drama? Do we have to keep silent?
Obviously, it doesn’t matter either to America or Europe how many orphaned children there are. They don’t know the horrific echo of bombs thrown on the roofs of innocent people, the smell of death, smoke or hear the cries of moms. It doesn’t matter how many people terrorized. What matters most, at this exact moment, is the prevalence of politics. Profit is the dirty and only real face. What should we do then? Do we have to stay calm, indifferent, or careless? Or, should we voice our anger as loudly as possible and say enough. Enough to killing. Enough to despair. Enough to shame!
What can explain this horrible dispassionate reaction of Europe towards the endless waves of Syrian people flooding into their territories? Isn’t the situation serious enough to raise concern and demand immediate action? Everyday, thousands of people try to cross Turkish, Greek, Hungarian, and Serbian borders into Germany seeking refuge and safe shelters in the land of the great Europe. Some make it safely, yet unfortunately, many thousands of them fall prey to death in the middle of nowhere. From the barbarian acts of heartless human trafficking dealers to the shameful silence of world leaders, it is in the destiny of the peoples of Syria to live in this horrifying bell jar and submit unwillingly to death, to loss, and to pain. Europe is losing its moral battleground; its moral obligation towards the ideas of human dignity, justice, and democracy, and is opening a new chapter of a long and dark history of depicting hypocrisy.
Five years have passed and the situation is still unpromising. Assad is still killing his people and all the talk on punitive actions remains delusional talk. The International coalitions of air forces have thrown thousands of all sorts of bombs on possible terrorist targets so far. Yet, no significant change has been made. No to mention the latest Russian intervention and the thousands of Assad regime forces along with Iranian, Iraqi, Pakistani and Hezbollah gorilla militants on the ground. Recently, The Turkish jets have marked their presence in the wide-open skies of Syria. With the possibility of a military action by the joint forces of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, we may say that by the end of this year all the troops of the world would be there. Of course, the justifications, explanations and the objectives behind the mission differ. However, the target is one. One and only. It is ISIS. Yes, ISIS!
The question raises: is ISIS this strong? Obviously, the conditions are still stagnant in the region. The imaginary state is still resilient and its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, still dreams of a Caliph crown. What explains this failure then? Is it the Islamic State’s power? Or is it the failing strategy of The United States and its allies? In fact, both explanations are somehow true. On ISIS’s power for example, General Dempsey stated: “the Islamic State is a learning enemy and they know how to maneuver and how to use populations and concealment.” Meanwhile, John McCain declared that “no one outside the Joint Chiefs of Staff believes we have a strategy.” A strategy to defeat and degrade ISIS, of course. Actually, what General Dempsey and the Senator John McCain assume about what we can call “Obama’s micromanagement of military policy” held true in the beliefs of so many other politicians, officials and also journalists.
In his article America’s Syrian Shame, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen writes: “Obama’s decision in 2013, at a time when ISIS scarcely existed, not to uphold the American ‘red line’ on Assad’s use of chemical weapons was a pivotal moment in which he undermined America’s word […] and opened the way for Putin to determine Syria’s fate.” Apparently, Syria is not a core national interest to the president Obama and his administration. We may have to recall the president’s doubt about the possible outcomes and downsides of military intervention. We have also to recall the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is clear that Obama’s first choice so far is to avoid another war in the Middle East, regardless of what Roger Cohen calls “the evisceration of American credibility.”
What about Turkey? According to the Financial Times, the Turkish government thinks that “the Iraqi Kurds are the godfathers of this scheme and ISIS is only a part of it; a dangerous one to change the current reality in this part of the Middle East; a scheme that Assad’s Syria knows very well and is wringing its hands in joy. Syria strongly believes that both Arabs and Americans’ predicament is deepening and its enemies are fighting.”
Turks hesitate because they do not want to do the West’s “dirty work.” Turkey doesn’t want to fight ISIS until it knows what will happen next. Turkey has its own concerns. A stronger Kurdish front across its borders may be a threat to its own interests and national security, and weakening ISIS by fighting it the way America and its allies have been fighting it may strengthen Bashar al-Assad Syria’s regime; something that Turkey doesn’t want at all. We have to be clear about this. It is not in the interest of Turkey, now, to crush ISIS. Turkey’s main headache is the increasing threat of the Kurds and it is clear enough that this is what determines its policies in the region.
The pre-assumption of yesterday is now a reality. Just few days ago, following the gains on the ground of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the military arm of the Kurdish Democratic Union near Turkish boarders, Turkey’s president himself voiced his anger at the current American policy. Shortly before the latest Ankara terrorist attack, the Turkish battler declared: “At the moment, I have difficulty in understanding America, which still hasn’t called or still cannot call the PYD and the YPG terrorists.” For him, “the various Kurdish groups were all connected in one way or another and, in Turkey’s way of thinking, all terrorist organizations, and that Washington was wrong to try to distinguish among them.” This is why the Turks urge for a ground intervention to end this Kurdish advance; something the United States doesn’t favor.
Obama doesn’t want to be involved directly or deeply in the Syrian civil war, leaving the door open for others to retain the initiative and engage not only militarily, but also politically. Today, the encirclement of Syrian rebel-held Aleppo progresses, the Syrian army’s re-control of lands continues to expand, and the Kurds advance more north. This means the strengthening of Assad’s regime and the weakening of the rebel front, be it moderate or radical. The US, EU, and Gulf Arab countries along with Turkey somehow agree that Assad is part of the problem. Sure, his political elimination is inevitable though America particularly confirms that he may be a part of transition period. But these are words; merely words. In fact, “it is President Vladimir Putin and Russia who are “making the weather” in Syria absent any corresponding commitment or articulable policy from President Obama,” Roger Cohen says. It is Putin who gets in through these doors the United States leaves open.
It is Putin now who determines every one’s fate in the area including the United States. It is he who decides who is to stay and who is to go. Within such a political climate, Syria should expect no significant change. In the best-case scenario, we may see an increase in the number of refugees the United States and European Union countries welcome. Numbers! Nothing more. Any other expectations would remain a pure illusion.
Until we can have absolute answers to the many challenging and disturbing questions in mind, we may just say, in full confidence: morality is collapsing and is bringing about shame to the world. Of course, Syrians will have to suffer.
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