The Syrian Revolution and the Arming of the Rebels – Research Paper Example
The Syrian Revolution and the Arming of the Rebels Majed AlotaibI Dr. Robert Goldbort English 305T, 9:30 a.m. June 18, Introduction When people talk about Syria today, they talk about children getting killed, girls are getting raped, and people are in jail and getting tortured, they talk about destruction. These appear because of the dictatorial regime in Syria who did not give the Syrian people the right to express themselves. The regime is trying to suppress the people from their simplest rights.
Background of the Syrian Revolution and the Arming of the Rebels
The Syrian revolution began on March 15, 2011 with demand for freedom and political reforms (Shehabat, 1). Most of people from the Middle East and human rights activists support the Syrian people. United States is trying to play an active role in supporting the freedom and human rights in Syria. On the other hand, there are supporters of the dictatorial regime in Syria such as Iran, Hezbollah Party in Lebanon, China and Russia. Many people wonder how did this regime come into power? How did this revolution start? Why did the Syrian people start protesting against their president? And how come none of the powerful countries got involved to help the Syrian people? In other words, the U.S has an advantage along with other countries to put an end to the terror of the Assad regime.
Recent historical and political point of view of Syria
From a historical point of view, Syria is one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East and it is surrounded by Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, and Turkey (see figure 1). It has nice mountains and extraordinary weather. It is one of best destinations for tourists during the summer season. Syria is one of the many countries in the Middle East have suffered from bad leaderships.
Figure 1: The Map of Syria. This map shows Syria location in the Middle East and the surrounding countries. Boxx, S. Edward. "Observations On The Air War In Syria." Air & Space Power Journal 27.2 (2013): 147-168. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 June 2014.
The Ottoman controlled Syria for hundreds of years until 1916 when the French came in power in Syria. The French were forced to evacuate Syria during the mandate period (Ziter, 124). The Syrian people suffered all that period of time from marginalization. Today Syria’s leadership is struggling to keep their regime in place. They have fought many different groups and keep fighting for the life of their dictatorial regime. The regime of Assad is a branch of the Baath Party which is a nationalistic Arab party that is politically influential in many Arab countries such as Iraq. The most recent governments of Syria have been some of the worst dictators in the world. Those governments have been very close to the Iranian regime and other groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. The so-called Arab spring has brought the revolution has brought war to Syria with almost the end of Bashar and his regime. (Ziter, 118)
Hafiz Alassad “The Father of the Current President of Syria”
The regime started a few decades ago since 1970 (Totten, 19). Hafez al-Assad, the father of Bashar al-Assad, proved himself through his early years by coming a part of the Syrian military, and earning every rank with hard work, discipline, and a lot of dedication. Finally, as a result of his abundant efforts, Hafez al-Assad rose to be part of the government by becoming Minister of Defense. Hafez al-Assad became more ambitious towards power and pressured the Ba’ath Party in persuasion of the presidency; the Ba’ath Party felt forced by Hafez al-Assad and eventually felt through and became in favor of al-Assad. The Ba’ath Party consists of a set of rules such as brutally exploited and under-mind the nation. The Syrian nation found hope for change in Islam. Hafez al-Assad had other plans for the nation such as earning his bad reputation after losing Israeli-Syrian war. (Seymour, 26)
How the Current President Came in Power in Syria?
Hafez al-Assad became the sole master of Syria and ruled with an iron of fist until his death in 2000. However, before he died al-Assad, was preparing to give his son Basil the power and made surely Syria will still be ruled by another dictator. But anyhow, his son, Basil was killed by a car accident. Hafez al-Assad had his back up plan which giving the power to his other son Bashar which who was appropriate to the position as well as Basil. (Seymour, 27)
Bashar Alassad period “The current President”
The new president Bashar al-Assad has followed his father’s tendencies to rule with an iron of fist by ruling the nation in every possible aspect from piercing through people’s mind and soul, forcing the nation to believe , and does everything that is displayed by the president. Bashar al-Assad came from the same belonging and ideology of his father which is Ba’ath Party school. The Ba’ath Party consists of a set of rules such as brutally exploited and under-mind the nation. “There is one other important consideration. Assad and his father routinely butchered their Sunni political opponents to protect their political base in the Alawi sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam” (Bolton, 30). In 1982, Ba’ath Party brutally massacred ten thousand Syrian people to assert its power by doing, so they put fear into the heart of their opponents (Ziter, 120). Syria is suffering from one of the worst dictatorships that Syria has ever been encountered by the name of Bashar al-Assad.
Figure 2 : The Syrian refugees camp in Lebanon. Loveless, Jeremy. "Crisis In Lebanon: Camps For Syrian Refugees?." Forced Migration Review 43 (2013): 66-68. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 June 2014.
The Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Regime
Bashar has something under his sleeve which is the support of other countries such as Russia, China, Hezbollah Party in Lebanon, and Iran. On the other hand, other countries are in favor of the Syrian nation, such as Turkey, the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, among other gulf countries. Several Countries, such as Russia who is in favor of the Bashar government is because of the weaponry and the technology “in January 2012, the Syrian air force attempted to buy 40 Yak-130 trainers from Russia” (Boxx, 156). Iran, just like Russia, is also supporting the Syrian government by providing them with technical support, weaponry. Unlike Russia, Iran has sent troops to physically mobilized the civilians, and it is been said that another reason why of such support is because Iran is far from being an ally from the United States. Hezbollah is a Shia Islamic militant group and political Party based in Lebanon and is supported by Iran, therefore, the support is mutual towards Iran (Bolton, 30). On the other hand, the countries that support the Syrian nation do it solely because they support the Sunni people and they feel the need of making the country better, the need for peace, and peace on the Middle East.
Why did the Syrian people start protesting against their President?
Something was coming, something was about to erupt, something was so big that it will change the course of the Syrian nature; a war was about to burst. The population came to realization and became well-aware of their rights which followed a revolution, and started to rise up against their dictator by doing so they followed the examples of other Arab countries that have rose up to their oppressor such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. However, the President of Syria was not going to tolerate this behavior, on March 6, 2011, the Arab Spring came to Syria. In the town of Deraa, police arrested and tortured fifteen teenage boys aged between ten to fifteen years old, who had written anti-government slogans on their school walls. Because of this, Assad ordered massive imprisonment which later triggered massive protest across Syria (Diehl, 7). Later on he also ordered a series of attacks aiming the population which has resulted in numerous casualties and a lot of refugees (see figure 2). The Syrian regime keeps killing children, women and old people mercilessly. This regime does not believe in human rights at all. This government has used all types of weapons to suppress the Syrian people even the chemical weapons. They killed more than sixty thousands of innocent civilian people by using these chemical weapons (Boxx, 163). The majority of the international community deplored about what happened in Syria by using these types of weapons against unarmed people.
The news: How the news covered the event during the Syrian revolution
From the formative days of the Syrian revolution, Assad’s regime has prevented independent news agencies from covering the events taking place in Syria. This is more so, for the international news agencies who have been denied entry into Syria to cover the events taking place as a result of the revolution. The restriction of media agencies to cover events in Syria arise because, the regime is not ready to expose the atrocities taking place in Syria to the World. This ensures that the regime is able to continue oppressing its citizens and commit other atrocities such as detention or killing of protestors without the outside world knowing. Despite gagging the media, there were other avenues where news from Syria could be disseminated. This includes the reliance on social networks to report the happenings in Syria. Protestors recorded videos that showed what was happened in Syria. They uploaded these videos to internet or sent them to other international news agencies such as the CNN or Al Jazeera. However, as a counter to the news sent out by the protestors, the Assad regime also engaged in fabricating news where, they distorted the truth so as to favor Al-Assad and the regime (Leenders, 237).
For instance, the county’s National TV channel avoided showing any news associated with protests targeting Al-Assad’s regime. Instead, the National TV focused on showing how life was normal in Syria and denying any existence of an uprise in Syria. This type of coverage by state owned news agency was meant to assert Al-Assad’s hold on power as the people’s choice which, was not the reality on the ground where other news agencies both local and international were restricted from reporting events following the uprise. To support Al-Assad hold on power, the creation of the Free Syrian Army only worsened the situation whereby, state owned media outlets claimed the revolution is an activity of terrorist groups that are being funded by other countries in the Gulf region including, Israel (Leenders, 237).
On another note, news channels endeared to report the happenings in disparate ways. This depended mainly on the country or party affiliation supporting such news. In this regard, the words used in the media were carefully selected as a way of influencing the audience to view the situation in a particular way. For instance, the news reported by the channels supporting the regime mainly used words such as “terrorist groups”. Conversely, international news agencies such as Al Jazeera used the words such as “revolutionaries” in support of the FSA (Free Syrian Army). This is an example of how different media channels represented extremes depending on the side that they supported. However, there were other news agencies that were subtle in the words they used in reporting the Syrian story. For example, the New York Times used words such as “Syrian rebels” ( Leenders 238).
The BBC on its part, took a neutral stand by reporting the Syrian story from both ends. This involved hearing the views of both pro regime and the revolution supporters. Further, most media channels that supported the revolution did reported conflicting stories from Syria. They intended to be selective regarding the news to relay to the world. This situation in some cases, was influenced by other countries that provide funding to news agency, to push a particular agenda. For instance, the Al-Arabiya channel that is anti-Al-Assad regime gets its funding from Saudi Arabia. On a similar note, the western media were also selective in the news that they reported. For instance, much emphasis has been given to the increase of Jihadist fighters other than focusing on the plight of innocent citizens affected by the Syrian conflict (Leenders, 238).
Social media: how the media and the news influenced the Syrian revolution
The killing of a 13 year old in Dara in the year 2011 resulted in an outrage across the country and outside. This outrage was instigated by a video of the young lad’s battered body uploaded on You Tube. This video marked the first emergence of an uprise on the social media platforms within Syria. In essence, it allowed Syrian activists to extend their dissenting voices on Facebook, and other social media platforms such as Twitter and Skype (Shehabat, 2). However, the regime responded by switching off any network connections in Dara. This was meant to prevent communication and the spread of news regarding the revolution.
Social media platforms were significant in the initial stages of the revolution. This was the only means for the revolutionaries to avoid the bullets coming from the pro-regime army. YouTube in particular, was significant for the revolution in the sense that, it aided the revolutionaries in numerous ways. This is because, YouTube enabled the revolutionaries to show the world the atrocities being committed by the regime. As a result, YouTube played a role in expanding the geographical proximity with regard to the uprising in Syria. For instance, the videos posted on YouTube created awareness among the Sunni sect outside the Syrian territory and provided an alternative platform of reporting news from Syria (Shehabat, 4).
The supporters of the Syrian regime
A deep feeling was within in each of the countries hearts as in why the support towards the Syrian government, expressing a hidden hatred, more like a problem with people trying to break free, trying to move forward, and bettering themselves. Iran’s case for support towards the Syrian government goes a little further back in history, they have always been allies (Diehl, 10); the ambition for conquering the Middle East, the passion for been followed by the countries around have grown bigger and bigger with time. A stronger ally has fallen for Iran, Hezbollah; this Party has the military power to conquer countries, such as Lebanon. Russia became a different and at the same time a very similar case, former Soviet Union supports the Syrian government not only because of the finances, but also it is because of a non-spoken hatred towards the United States (Diehl, 9).
The supporters of the Syrian protestors
Saudi Arabia support for the Syrian people is motivated by a decades-long desire to break the alliance between Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran; Saudi Arabia is competing for dominance in the Persian Gulf and the wider Middle East. Qatar mainly support towards Syrian people is because they feel the need for getting rid of the government and free the people who have suffered enough. Turkey understands the magnitude of its own country and like the rest of the gulf countries feel that they should do something for the people, Turkey feel the same way as the majority of the Arab countries who are with the Syrian people, which overthrow the Syrian government and give the Syrian people what they truly deserve, Turkey is prepared to welcome the people of Syria and it has one of the biggest refugee camp. The relationship between Syria and the United states has never been that closed. In fact, they do not get along, but a sense of humanity warms the hearts of America, and also, the United States want to break the bonds between Iran and Syria (Diehl, 11).
How come none of the powerful countries got involved to help the Syrian People?
Most of the powerful countries that support the helpless Syrian people like United States do not have serious attempt to get involved for many reasons. The first reason is that the Syrian rebels might become a terrorist organization. Secondly, after Bashar is overthrown, the rebels might see themselves as heroes and do not want to go back to the civilian life and that might cause some problems in the future. Thirdly, the weapons might fall into the hands of the terrorist organization “al-Qaeda.” (Diehl, 14).The United States has a different perspective. First of all, the money spent in Syria might increase U.S. deficit. Also, they do not want to face the little support to Syria cause within the U.S. government. However, regardless of the previous reasons, many people think it is a human right that powerful countries should be involved to help the innocent Syrian people. Bashar is a threat to the world. If the United States takes action and gets involved with a democratic Syria, Arabs and Muslims will highly respect U.S because of its fairness (Diehl, 14).
Syria has been in a civil war for years now and many powerful countries such as the U.S could have went in to stop the dictatorship of Assad. Instead, many talks have been made and many promises have been made but the Syrian people are still suffering. Other countries should get involve and help the Syrian people. People from all over the world, political science experts and human rights activists should support the Syrian people, by pressing their governments or at least write about this revolution. As human beings, there must be a care for one another, God created us all to take care for one another, and to veil for one another. Intervention would be important for the people to raise up against evil, to rise up against what is truly righteous, people’s rights to express their desires. American action could end a terrible human rights disaster within Syria and stop the building of refugees.
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