Frank J Underwood, the fictional President of the United States of America who’s seemed to garner more influence than the real president, on his show, House of Cards, A Netflix original series was once heard saying, “Proximity to Power deludes some into believing that they wield it”.
Power, the fight for oil and natural resources along with many other factors have been the real cause for conflict in hegemony amongst many countries since the beginning of time even before countries as a concept existed.
Syria itself has been subject to such hegemony leading to the condition it stands in today. The Syrian Crisis though, is far complex from how the media generally reports it to be. The crisis was born in history almost a century ago.
It was during the first world war back in the 1920’s that Syria’s borders were determined to a greatest extent by French Colonialists. Though political acumen is what the French probably had in mind during the invention of the borders, it also unknowingly acted as a process by which a number of disparate groups and culturally different tribes were forced into staying with one another. A situation the French men thought they could easily handle. But time had other things in store. The first world war also witnessed the doom of the Ottoman empire which once ruined witnessed France taking over a stretch of the Ottoman territory around the Mediterranean region, countries which go by the name of Syria and Lebanon today which remain culturally and religiously diverse causing the major conflicts within the nation.
A number of religious minorities looked at the French take over as an opportunity to expand their wings in order to pick up from where they stood then. However, the process being as long as it was, saw the French finally leave their territory in the year 1963, handing over the Government authority with complete power to that of the Syrian Military. However, after the Syrian Military claimed the throne, most of the power and political influence was then enjoyed by the Alawites, a set of religiously active Muslims who are centred in Syria and follow a very highly contested a controversial branch of Shia Islam with Syncretistic elements. However, it was only 7 years later in the 1970’s when a bloodless military coup handed over the authority and Government of Syria to a certain Hafez Al-Assad, father of the current Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. Assad, took over from the Military which had implemented the Emergency state situation in 1962 and carried on from there without lifting the status. Being the President, this was constitutionally a power that Assad could execute but seemed unnecessary at that point of time as the citizens of Syria had already given up on their Fundamental rights over the past seven years, now with more to come. It was for a long time after Assad came into power that he could prevent any sort of mass uprisings against the government. He used all sorts of influence and power in order to keep his hegemony going until in 1976, things began to take a turn.
When Assad had come into power in 1970, most people controlling the power within the state were the Alawites. This was a situation as hot as melting lava. The Alawites continued to hope for a sectarian government as their last resort to protect themselves as a minority and even a possible massacre. However, the Sunni majority was blocked from the political power, which they claimed was rightfully theirs and were extremely furious about it. This marked the beginning of the first protests which took its most violent forms in the recent times originated by the Sunni Fundamentalists.
The year 1982, witnessed the maximum uprisings in the city of Hama. It is at that point of time that Asad seniors nervousness got the best of him which lead to the Syrian Military carrying out an open raid with ammunition killing over 10,000 innocent Syrians within the city of Hama. This attack set an example for many of the extent of ruthlessness Al-Asad was ready to go to in order to have things his way. This continued for 30 years where Assad was involved in the brutal killings of his own countrymen. Once Assad died, the authorities felt that a younger President could do justice and hence the minimum age was revised from 40 to 34 which promptly opened path Asad’s son Bashar Al Assad to become the new president. However, as much as people expected change, that was far from coming.
To shift focus on to more recent times, Islamic extremist organisations had covered up different parts of the world already by then. The Taliban in Afghanistan, their allys, the Osama Bin Laden lead Al-Qaeda, the Lashkar e Taiba etc. Taliban ruled Afghanistan for years and the 9/11 is something the world is still trying to forget followed by the 26/11 in Mumbai a few years later. Such significant attacks killing people in large proportions is what the US government states was the primary reason for their troops invading Iraq in their own territory.
In the year 2011, by the time the US troops had left Iraq, their mission on destroying the Al-Qaeda was more than successful. However, as the troops moved forward with absolute satisfaction, they failed to look at those who were better at surviving the full fledged war. Most of those survivors form the ISIS today. It is said that the ISIS was born in 2014 once again based out of the original sunni fears and insecurity of insurgent countries coming and taking over their land which has lead to the debacle and series of killings and mass destruction which has been conducted by the ISIS through recruits from over 80 countries which began in Iraq and moved to Syria in the last couple of years.
The US and Barrack Obama have been vocal about their stand on the whole situation. The President has been heard talking to the media about their stand stating that they will not repeat a similar debacle that they had in Iraq and his intentions are not to fight with the Islamic activists as that only scatters the problem more than solving it. Obama though does plan to deploy a set of troops to Syria and Iraq in order to fight the ISIS in times of need extending his support to the people of the country.
The approach though as most put it is the ideal definition of diplomacy. Russian President Vladamir Putin on the other hand has had a no nonsense attitude towards the ISIS stating that they as an organisation only need to Perish and he as a stronger President claims responsibility in doing so.
Putin spoke to the media stating that the Russian armed forces is going to deploy a team of 1,50,000 soldiers to fight the 5,000 Syrian jihadis patrolling the city. Putin has in the past already deployed his air power by surprise attacking major ISIS hideouts in Syria breaking their spinal chord reducing them in majority throughout the country.
However, an aircraft carrying Russian citizens suffered a crash recently and there have been significant evidences to conclude that it was a possible payback from the ISIS which Putin isn’t quite pleased with. However, the aggressor that Putin has proved to be in the past reflects on the fact that he will definitely stand by his words of eradicating the filth.
However, the motion for the debate still remains being, ‘Aggression or Diplomacy, what do you think will see the end of this crisis’.