Friday, 4 December 2015

Is The Military Invasion Of Syria A Viable Option?


Following the British Government's announcement that it will be launching air strikes against Daesh in Syria, is the path being laid for a future military invasion? What could this path lead to? James Rosanwo analyses the situation and gives his view.


On Friday 13th of November 2015, a series of terrorist attacks in Paris led to the deaths of approximately 128 innocent civilians. This, and various other terror-striking attacks have elevated Daesh or the so-called “Islamic state Of Iraq and al-Sham" onto the global stage as a serious global threat.

A cult of blood thirsty individuals who use a peaceful religion as a basis for the inhumane and callous slaughter of fellow human beings, Daesh claimed responsibility for this onslaught in Paris and boldly reinforced their intention of striking fear and terror into the hearts of the Western citizens. France’s Prime Minister Francois Hollande responded by reiterating France will remain strong, and he recently urged Russia and America to “unite forces” in a coalition to destroy Daesh. Following the downing of a Russian airliner, the Paris attacks and bombing in Turkey; there is a heightened determination to defeat them. France, the USA and Russia have a common interest in the destruction of the militant group; however tension remains between Russia and the West, as the Russian invasion in Ukraine looms in the background and considering Russia’s vested interest in Syria. Therefore, the prospect of any significant joint attack and alliance against them seems unlikely, despite the bold display of solidarity by the involving nations.

However, at the moment Russia, France nor the USA are willing to launch a full scale ground attack in Syria, amid fears of political and economical backlash. Many believe that a full scale military response would do nothing but aid the militant group, as they would simply publicise and broadcast images of Westerners invading and annexing Arab lands, bolstering their recruitment campaign and luring more vulnerable and angry individuals to join the radical group.

Thankfully, a military invasion is not the only solution. Many strategists say that in order to gain victory , the coalition must halt the militant group’s financing, counter its propaganda and find a diplomatic solution among world powers on Syrian rule, as the Assad regime has proved incompetent time and time again. In terms of counteracting their propaganda, the mirage that Daesh are the saviour against the West is deteriorating, as more and more Syrian refugees flee towards western countries. This highlights that they are not the saviours but the captors, laying waste to Syria.  Although, the longer and more severe the air strikes become the more radicalisation occurs and the worse the situation gets.

Furthermore, stopping the financing of the extremist group could prove fundamental to their capitulation. The extremist group receive the majority of their income from selling oil from the Syrian and Iraqi oil fields they seized. It is estimated that overall, they earn about $1.53 million a day, by selling oil directly to independent traders or into the black market. The U.S have attempted to disrupt and limit oil production by striking several oil production facilities, however it has been to no avail as the militants have been able to repair the sites easily. An alternative would be to directly bomb oil refineries and fields but that would significantly reduce any chance of economic recovery for Syria and Iraq, hence why this issue cannot be easily resolved.

The predicament of replacing the Assad regime is also a prominent issue. In order to restore Syria to full economic and social stability, a reliable and competent government is needed. Initially the idea was to replace the Assad regime with a secular, western style democratic government, however many predicted that Assad would eventually be replaced by a similar minded or worse ruler. Therefore, as presumed, the only feasible solution could be to reach an agreement with Russia and Iran, as they both are heavily vested in the country and finding a suitable replacement will almost be as difficult as defeating Daesh.

Further military intervention in Syria, however justified, will only lead to more difficulties- not solutions. The recent decision by Parliament to conduct air strikes in Syria will simply highlight that fact. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron claims that these supposed targeted strikes in Raqqa (Daesh’s presumed stronghold) will make Britain safer- a flawed claim indeed. Mr Cameron and the remaining 397 MPs have done the exact opposite of what they intended to do, and simply made a threat to Britain as imminent as ever. Bombing their home will enrage the already distraught Syrians, making them ever more susceptible to propaganda, radicalising them in the process. And this is before we even get to talking about the inevitably high number of civilian deaths and casualties that will ensue.

The question still remains, if successful, what would happen after the West invades Syria? The United States are still recovering from the war they waged in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks. I believe that this vengeful path of which France and Russia are on will most likely produce the same outcome- further tarnishing the crumbling relations between the West and the Middle East. 

Defeating Daesh is an ordeal which will require the very brilliance that makes the West the global force that it is now. However, it is certain that a military invasion will have catastrophic effects on Syria and the rest of the world, a necessary evil one might argue which is needed for the greater good.


Mohammad Lone Editor