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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Clash of civilization goes to Syria



Yuba Nath Lamsal
In a classic essay written and published more than twenty years ago, American political scientist Samuel Huntington argued that with the end of the ugly Cold War the fundamental source of international conflict has shifted from ideological, political, economic and social issue to religious and cultural issues. Huntington is of the view that the ideological conflict that was the major phenomenon of the international conflict during the Cold War came to an end as the Western capitalist ideology triumphed over the communism that saw its last blow in the collapse of Soviet Union.
Contrary to the widely perceived view, the international conflict did not come to an end after the end of the Cold War. Instead the international conflict took a new form and shape. According to the American political scientist, religion and culture would play a dominant role in the international conflict and the conflict would be between the Western value system and oriental beliefs namely the Islamic faith and Confucian value system. By culture, Huntington meant, apart from others, religion. In other words, the new round of conflict in the world would be between the Christianity and Islam, which is becoming more visible in the present day world.
In his analysis, Huntington has said that the United States will have to adopt a strategy to either weaken or destroy the enemies. In the new world order, the America-led Western world no longer considers communist ideology as their prime threat. Now they have taken and Islam as the fundamental threat followed by Confucianism of China. It is, therefore, obvious that the targets of American and Western attack in the post-Cold War period are Islamic nations and Confucian China. Huntington calls it’s a clash of civilization.  In the book, author argues that the United States and its allies have devised a strategy to weaken the prospective enemies and destroy them one after another through various means and tactics that included creating division in the enemy camp, disintegration, economic sanctions and military intervention. Exactly in a way Huntington has stated in his essay, which was later developed into a book, Washington and the Western world have moved with the strategy of weakening and destroying the Islamic world one after another. There are a number of events to substantiate this.
Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and several other countries have already faced the heat of this grand strategy of world’s only super power. Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunisia and Libya have already been destroyed. The process is underway in Yemen and Pakistan. Egypt is another case study in which the Western powers are experimenting dual strategy to dominate Cairo. Now American plans are afoot for military intervention Syria. Once Syria mission is over, the next move of the Western strategy would be Iran.  
As a prelude to the final military onslaught, the Western world has raised with loud voice in every international forum and media the issue concerning the use of Chemical weapons by Baser al Assad regime against the West-backed Syrian rebels. The United States claims that it has adequate evidences of the use of Chemical weapons in Syria and Washington is seeking military intervention under this pretext, for which President Obama has asked the Congress to endorse the White House plans.
In order to drum up support for intervention in Syria, Washington has used different forums and media including traditional news channels and social media with a flood of images, footage and reports claiming that the Syrian regime has perpetrated crime against humanity by using Chemical weapons to its own citizens. Washington claims that it will have to intervene in Syria to protect the ordinary Syrians, for which plans and preparation are almost in a ready state. Given the fast developments of the events, the West might start its action by the time this piece gets published. If anything that would prevent the US and Western military intervention in Syria is Russia’s stance which has challenged the United States to prove its claim concerning the use of chemical weapons. Russia has also demanded that Washington submit its proof in the United Nations, as well.
Although Assad’s regime has claimed that it would defend by all means against the US attack, if the US and the West launch military intervention, the present Syria may not have capability to resist US military onslaught for a long time and Assad’s regime may fall. But it is not certain that Syria will have peace and democracy even after the ouster of Assad. It is now becoming clear that Washington is interested in regime change instead of peace and democracy Syria. The developments in Tunisia and Libya are its best example.
One thing is true that Syria is in deep trouble and general people are suffering and are deprived of their basic rights and freedom. Right after revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, a popular uprising has taken place against Assad’s regime. But, the popular revolution in Syria seems to have been hijacked by mullahs, feudal and fundamentalist elements generally backed by feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and imperialist forces in the hope of derailing that movement.
The uprising against Assad’s regime has been converted into a sectarian conflict. As a result, the movement is slowly being turned into a dangerous communal battle between the two dominant Islamic sects—the Sunnis and the Shias. In it has worked the strategy of the West in dividing the Syrian people on religious line so that the genuine movement against dictatorship could be hijacked and manipulated in the interest of external and extra-continental powers.
Over the last few months US President Obama has warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would force the international community to respond on humanitarian ground to protect the common people from state atrocities. According to reports, the United States has already moved forces closer to Syria and kept its troops in high alert. There are already three US warships in the Mediterranean and another one is soon joining them. This leads to general perception in the world that the West may soon start intense aerial bombing accompanied by ground assault from the rebels backed by the Western powers. Already suffered from strict economic sanction, Syrian people will have to suffer more in case war broke out.
The western countries especially the United States and Britain are now busy in liaising with some countries in the region including Saudi Arabia and Qatar to muster their support in case of possible assault in Syria. This comes especially in the wake of opposition from Russia and China—both are permanent member of UN Security Council. If the chemical weapon was used, it is a serious matter. But it has to be proved with concrete evidence. Once the use of chemical weapons was proved with evidence, only then the United Nations Security Council may decide necessary multi-lateral action against the regime that uses chemical weapons. But the US claims have not been proved. The UN Security Council is divided on this issue and there is a slim chance that the UN may approve any kind of action against Syrian regime. In such an eventuality, the US and the Western allies may decide unilateral action against Syria that would create a grave situation in the Middle East. Perhaps, it may also lead to escalation of greater war, which also could be turned into a Third World War.
To sum up, Syria is a dictatorship under Assad’s dynastic rule in which people of Syria are deprived of their basic civil and political rights. The world definitely has moral support and solidarity with the people of Syria in their struggle for freedom and democracy. It is the right of the Syrian people to decide their own destiny. External power has no right to intervene in other’s internal affairs. But the international community also needs to take one thing into serious consideration that the use of chemical weapons and fatal arms by any one is objectionable. The international community needs to take firm action with approval from the United Nations against the use of chemical and nuclear weapons. But it has to be proved with evidence. In the case of Syria, the Western allegation of use of Chemical weapons is being investigated by a competent team of international experts. And if these allegations are proved to be correct, the case should be moved to the UN for necessary action. But no individual country or a group of countries have rights to attack on other countries at their own whim, which would violate the basic norms of international laws and diplomacy.