Syria: what’s going on? | Planet Ryan - Republic-Times | News

Syria: what’s going on? | Planet Ryan

By on September 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

PlanetRyan copySyria. It’s the smoking hot topic around the world. Thousands of analysts all have varying takes on the situation. I love the extended coverage, personally, but the problem is that for most people, this information overload leads to confusion.

Since I tend to post more than my fair share of Syrian news updates on Facebook, I’ve had several people ask me about what I think will happen in the long run. I’m flattered by this, but I’m no military strategist or foreign policy expert. I’m just a guy who likes to keep on the latest goings-on.

That being said, I can give you a quick primer on what’s led us up to this point. No conspiracy theories, I promise.

Long story short, not all that long ago, perhaps a little more than two years, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad decided to silence a bunch of activists who were protesting economic and political conditions inside Syria. By “silence,” I mean he had the military fire on them, killing and injuring many. Because of that not-so-smart move, practically the entire nation went into an uprising, which sparked a widespread civil war. Armed rebel groups quickly formed and fighting ensued with Assad’s military.

Over the course of the last two years, the death toll has risen to staggering numbers. Many groups estimate it at more than 100,000. That’s huge.

In August, news broke and pictures surfaced of an apparent chemical attack that allegedly killed hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Syrian innocents, including women and children.

The next question was: Who did it? Was it the Assad/Syrian government? Or was it the Syrian rebel forces, in a ploy to get the West (U.S. and U.K.) involved in the fighting to change the tide of the rebel struggle?

Another long story short, Western intelligence didn’t take long to conclude that President Assad was, in fact, responsible for the deadly attacks. And since the U.S. acts as a global enforcer of anti-chemical weapons treaties, President Obama firmly stated we should take action and teach Assad a lesson.

But then our Commander in Chief wasn’t quite sure exactly what should be done about it, and when. America, and the world, was expecting swift military action after a few strongly worded and aggressive speeches by key White House officials last week. Obama then stated he would seek Congressional approval before moving forward with a “limited” strike.

That’s where we are now. By the time you read this, our President will have addressed the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night. It’ll be very interesting to see what he says.

Will he get Congress (specifically, the House) to approve a strike? Most are saying, with confidence, no. If he does greenlight a strike without approval, does that lead to possible impeachment proceedings? Also, do we really want to topple a government and then let rebel forces, who are associated with Al-Queda, lead the new Syrian government? What about the “human shields” that Syrian civilians are deploying around probable targets? How do we hit targets with civilians around them without casualties? Why even hit targets that Assad has had time to move valuable assets out of? What about Russia and their feelings about us striking their best Middle-Eastern friends?

More than likely, no matter what happens, it’s going to be messy. Pay attention to this one, folks.



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Ryan Ledendecker

Ryan is a biweekly columnist for the Republic-Times newspaper. When he's not working, he enjoys a good movie, bass fishing, and CrossFit.