Well-respected United States senator, Jim Inhofe, once said “It is vital we avoid shortsighted military action that would have little impact on the long-term trajectory of the Syrian conflict”. There is a modern day humanitarian crisis currently occurring in Syria that has caused eleven million Syrians, half of the pre-war population, to be displaced or killed. Women, men, and children are being taken from their homes and slaughtered in overwhelming masses. Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria, has committed mass murder and numerous human rights violations among his people including widespread torture, inhumane prison conditions, and has committed alleged international war crimes by using chemical weapons on his own people. Although Bashar Al-Assad’s cruelty seems to call for military intervention from the United States, it is important to understand that an invasion by the United States would result in more agony than justice which is the reason why the United States should not intervene in the Syrian conflict.
An invasion by the United States could escalate Syria’s Civil War into a larger-scale conflict, causing even more casualties than Bashar Al-Assad's murderous regime. According to a Mercy Corps statistical report on the current circumstances in Syria, “the situation went from bad to worse when outside parties began launching air strikes in 2015” (Mercy Corps 2). It is easy to convince oneself that United States arbitration would lead to a complete stop in Syrian violence and that ousting Al-Assad would stop human rights abuses, but there is no guarantee such results would occur. Despite good intentions, any outside occupation or airstrike of Syria would result in an immediate escalation of civilian casualties and refugees fleeing their homes in search of safety. The United States, if it chooses to intervene, risks the outbreak of major war and killing more Syrian civilians (Stevenson 1). Not only that, but thousands of U.S. soldiers could be assassinated and government funds expended for a conflict that does not directly impact Americans. Becoming the world’s “policemen” has countless faults and fails to accomplish the U.S. primary goal of saving the optimal number of Syrian lives.
Not only would an invasion cause more bloodshed, but powerful countries such as Russia and Iran as well as Syria’s military are allied with Bashar Al-Assad. An intervention in Syria would not just cause tensions between the United States and Syria, it would be interfering with larger, more significant countries as well (Strauss 2). American intercession could cause increased agitation of Russia and Iran which the U.S. cannot afford as relations between the United States and those countries are already substandard (Chance 3). Russia supplies Bashar Al-Assad with his weapons and military support and American interposition would trigger a power struggle, causing Russia to send even more military aid. Increased conflict with larger countries would drain American resources and further risk American lives. Russia and the United States are unlikely to come into alliance due to their extreme differences in position on the situation, but that does not mean the United States should escalate rivalry. By invading, we also risk alienating Iran who is proven to have nuclear ambitions and to be an adversary of the west.
Bashar Al-Assad’s future successors could cause even more damage and chaos than his existing humanitarian violations. In 2003, the United States made the decision to invade Iraq and take out president Suddam Hussein during the Iraq War. Despite the belief that removing Hussein would cease human rights violation and conflict in Iraq, his death resulted in much worse. The country was left with little government, giving rise to radicals who led the country into complete and utter chaos. The country erupted into a civil war and numerous terrorists groups such as ISIS were founded in this period of disorder. Iraq remains in turmoil because of power struggles between homicidal extremists. If the United States invaded Syria and successfully took out Al-Assad, the country would most likely suffer a similar fate (Strauss 2). Syria, being overrun with terrorists and radicals, stands at high risk of being thrown into even more chaos if the United States overthrows Bashar Al-Assad’s vicious regime.
It is essential that the United States understands the repercussions that Syria’s innocent civilians and Americans would face in the event of a U.S. invasion. Al-Asaad has unflinching support from Russia so logically, preserving American resources rather than getting involved in a power struggle is ideal. Wading deeper into the Syrian conflicts means risking major war that will essentially offer no justice, deplete resources and exhaust lives. Rather than armed intervention, other methods such as cease-fire talks and coercive diplomacy would be dramatically more effective. The United States needs to make themselves aware of any short-sighted military action that would cause long term conflict and avoid an invasion of Syria. Although removing Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal regime might halt his torturous acts, the agony of losing more lives and the eruption of Syria into chaos warrants the absence of any U.S. intervention.
Chance, Matthew, and Angela Dewan. "What's Your Policy? Russia Asks Trump after Syria Gas
Attack." CNN. Cable News Network, 06 Apr. 2017. Web. 08 May 2017.
"Quick Facts: What You Need to Know about the Syria Crisis." Mercy Corps. Mercy Corps, 07
Apr. 2017. Web. 08 May 2017.
Stevenson, Steven Simon and Jonathan. "Don't Intervene in Syria." The New York Times. The
New York Times, 06 Oct. 2016. Web. 08 May 2017.
Strauss, Steven. "9 Reasons Why Military Intervention In Syria Is A Bad Idea." Business Insider.
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