Saturday, March 16, 2013

War by Proxy

It is now 2 years since Syrians began to demand change and foreign governments are exploiting the chaos of Syria’s populist uprising to gain influence in the region. And Syrians—70,000 of whom have been killed in the conflict and almost a million have been displaced —are paying the price. Save the Children says more than two million children are facing disease, malnutrition and severe trauma.

Both Britain and France are providing military aid to the Free Syrian Army and are pressing for the EU to permit them to supply weapons. Saudi Arabia support efforts to turn the Syrian conflict into a Shia-Sunni confrontation. Saudi Arabia has already sent troops to repress the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain. The Saudi sheiks also divert domestic discontent by telling people, "Well, don’t fight here; go to Syria. That’s where you can really carry out jihad." And some people go for it.

Rim Turkmani, a member of the Syrian Civil Democratic Alliance, explained :
“Nowadays, people don’t talk about democracy anymore.You don’t talk about the original rights and freedoms, which the people two years ago went to the street to protest for. We’re talking more about ending a war.” A peaceful resolution to the conflict is not something international actors with regional ambitions, such as Saudi Arabia, are interested in, Turkmani says. “It’s more of a geopolitical struggle, really, over Syria than responding to the needs of the people. I am a member of the opposition, as well. All my group, very active inside Syria, is in opposition, but it’s a nonviolent opposition. That is very clear in its aim to reach democracy. However, we don’t get any support. There’s systematic efforts to marginalize people like us inside Syria and focus only on the armed rebels. And they are the ones now who are stealing all the headlines. Now, why? Because, yes, there are certain actors, regional and international, who see this as proxy wars, and it’s an opportunity to fight their international opponents. It’s a struggle over Syria, over power, and the Syrians are falling victims to that.”

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