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International Intervention in Syria Can Be Delayed No Longer
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With US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week revealing the intention to use military action against Syria, attention is focusing on whether we can find the beginning of a solution to bloodshed in the country, which has lasted over a year.

At a Senate hearing, Panetta said the United States was considering all additional measures to protect the Syrian people, end the violence and bring stability to the area and stressed that this included military options if need be.

At the same hearing, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey hinted that concrete attack scenarios were already being prepared, stressing that the United States had solid military relations with the surrounding Middle Eastern nations.

If military intervention takes place, it will become another example of the international community, including the United States, punishing a regime that has violated the “responsibility to protect” (R2P).

There is much debate, however, about whether military intervention is realistically possible. Military intervention in Syria, which has regular forces of 400,000 and considerable air defenses, would not be an easy matter.

Not only is the situation different from Libya, where the rebels had secured several strongholds; the Syrian opposition is also splintered into about 200 factions, so it will be difficult to form unified ranks.

What impact drastic changes in Syria, which borders on Israel, will have on the long-term future of Middle Eastern peace requires meticulous consideration, too.

The foreign ministers of the European Union on Friday warned that military intervention in Syria could aggravate the situation.

There’s still room to differ about the justification for intervention under international law, too. During the Libya situation, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which established a no-fly zone and permitted the mobilization of all means to protect Libyan civilians.

There has yet to be a narrowing of the divergence in views, however, between the West on one side and China and Russia on the other over whether this resolution could be justification for regime change.

This is also why China and Russia have vetoed a recent UN Security Council resolution placing sanctions on Syria and why they oppose active intervention by the international community.

Despite this, it appears there’s no other way to stop the Al-Assad regime, which is indulging in a massacre that brings to mind the Middle Ages, save for active intervention by the international community.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights provisionally found that 8,458 people have died up till now due to the Al-Assad regime’s bloody crackdown that began after anti-government protests and combat with rebel forces.

As 6,195 of the deaths have been civilians, many of them young children, the situation has been earning righteous indignation. About 80,000 locals are now wandering refugee camps in surrounding nations.

It is time we need a firm resolution and action from the international community to end the horrible disaster in Syria, even if it’s not necessarily a military attack.

(Editorial, The Kyunghyang Daily News. March 12, 2012)

Copyright The Kyunghyang Shinmun. All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution without permission absolutely prohibited.

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