Inside Syria: The Longest War

March 19, 2018 Middle East , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Zeeshan A. Shah



True Warfare is based on DeceptionSun Tzu – The Art of War



The war on terror has changed the landscape of the Middle East. It has brought in a new world order and created divide between the East and the West. In this context, the UN Security Council set a line of control gathering all adversaries, and voted against Syria with the biggest stockpile of sanctions the world had ever seen. They were branded as the “Axis of Evil” – and for the next ten years, cut off globally without any economic, social or financial ties with the diplomatic world at large.


Today, we see Syria under fire engulfed in the longest war that has raged throughout the country giving new meaning to the word “destruction”. This saga has been ongoing for over a decade now since the proxy war started there against the government of President Bashar-al-Assad. I guess lessons were not learnt in the Iraq war and the western powers turned against the rules of the UNSC council by themselves failing to protect a sovereign state from illegal occupation of outside forces. Saudi Arabia has taken a U-turn on seeking friendship ties with the Al–Assad regime, making it one of the biggest diplomatic failures in the world. It has once again decided to hit at Syria, contemplating opportunity and crucifying all possibilities of future peace between the two Muslim countries.


Syria was one of the first nations to say no to the Israeli policy of violence and mayhem in the Middle East. It was not Syria, but Israel that went to many wars with its neighbors in the Middle East– being the true axis of evil within the Middle East. The US has always supported Israel, vetoing any move towards putting sanctions on them. Despite the proof that Israel used banned weapons on civilian populations in Syria, the silence from the United Nations has been nothing short of being “criminally insane”. Sadly, the Arab world also does not seem to be pushing harder on this issue.


This is the time for Muslim leaders to support Syria with their reforms implementation. This should not be taken as an opportunity to carve out a strategic plan to invade the country. That the Syrians will support anti-Muslim policies is a misconception. That capsizing Assad’s regime will help end this war was a myth that led to more bloodshed and loss of lives. Invaders must understand the nature of war here. Syria has always been supported by Iran and the sanctions only made them more decisive and rebellious against powers that be- America and its allies in this war. Question: Why was Israel allowed to create chaos in the region and acquire nuclear weapons? Why was the Palestine invasion by Israel allowed to happen? The answer was Hezbollah.


Hezbollah was formed to protect the people against Israel’s aggression. It is not a terrorist organization. They are fighting for their country from evil ambitions of outsiders. Creating terror was not the forte of Syria, Iran, Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, but resisting terror and responding to it has been their aim and mission. People conveniently turn a blind eye to Israel – a country that has created terror in the region since 1948 and is the branded enemy of the Muslim. The Jerusalem crisis created by the Trump administration has further fuelled hatred for the West. If the Americans are openly backing Israel, arming them to the core, why can’t Syria side with Hezbollah to help better protect and serve its people against anti-Muslim ambitions? Saudi Arabia has been accusing Iran and Syria for decades without realizing they are siding with the US policy on Israel – something that is sacrilege in the Muslim world.


Syria is a unique country of over 21 million people with over 75 percent Sunni majority and significant minorities of Christians and Shias, and is largely known as a country of secular identities and a diverse community of people having lived through years of sanctions. The man behind this ideology is the man being asked to step down. Syria is never going to support Israel and will continue to denounce American policy towards Israel, or at least that’s what appears to be the case. Just because they have a clear policy against another country that has occupied its legal territory, the world at large does not have the right to wipe out their human settlements, whether it is Israel, America or Russia. In the case of the latter, the show of strength shown by the Russians has backfired as right now we do not know who the real enemy is- the protectors or the perpetrators- which can be anyone for that matter.


The biggest humanitarian crisis of the recent century has sparked world-wide protests across the globe, igniting wild fire as over 3 million Syrian refugees have been displaced by war and over hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are crossing the border on a daily basis.


This is clearly not a sign for war but a clear indicator for humanitarian assistance where we need peace forces inside Syria to help facilitate the government there and not rebels with a cause trying to re-capture Damascus and other cities.


This is the worst case war scenario after Vietnam, Myanmar and Kashmir.


The military crisis in Syria over the use of chemical weapons will worsen the conflict but mere acceptance of this fact is not good enough where a policy action to be taken by the UNSC or United Nations has not taken place. Security agencies are losing mandate here and a diplomatic crisis has gone from bad to worse where food supplies and water have been blocked from entering Syrian borders to assist the helpless people and children who are torn apart as refugees inside their own country.


The European Union has also become the war child of the west seeking political concessions from the USA instead of standing up to use veto power against America. France, UK and Germany to be precise, have been part of this proxy war and have failed to assist in this humanitarian crisis as they should have done ideally. As for the Muslims, the politics of greed know no boundaries as shameless leaders are busy protecting illegal wealth rather than take a political stand against the evil warmongers killing innocents inside Syria.


How many more lives will be eaten up by the Syrian War? It has further been stated that if any country deviates from the United Nations Charter, their actions will be considered a “War Crime”. Now the question that arises is who is drafting the UN Charter and is it equally adopted by all big nations or just a few countries? What is the ICC doing here? Why is this International Court of Justice in The Hague, as quiet as they are?


Let us review the costs of war. For example, training and assisting Syrian opposition forces has cost $500 million annually and “limited” standoff missile and air strikes have cost in the “billions.” Operating a no-fly zone has cost about $1 billion per month, and the cost of using special operations forces to control chemical weapons has exceeded over $1 billion monthly. This raises the question: Can America afford this war? After almost a decade of war and over 500,000 killings, there is carnage inside the country and the war is not about to stop.


Over 40 percent of the Syrian population have moved out of the country, still over 4 million people are estimated to be still inside Syria, their own country. America has created a proxy war, with the funding coming through Israel and feet on ground being supplied through the rebels being supported by countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the EU.




Who has benefited from this war?



So far – both Israel and America stand to lose from the war as countless strikes within Tel Aviv will destroy Israel and create an absolute war zone within the region with Hezbollah already armed with over 100,000 missiles pointed in that direction and Iran’s open threat to wipe out the Zionist regime.


A strike inside Syria has triggered counter attacks in Yemen and has stated another humanitarian crisis there leading to civilian deaths which are grossly unreported even today. The only possible way to stop this bloodshed is to stop arming the rebel armies inside Syria and to bring Assad to the table talks with the only mediating body – the UN. So far, this option has not been tackled seriously.


Dictatorship is Fascism. No difference. Fascism is a radical authoritarian political ideology, governed by a leader who exercises dictatorship over the government and all state institutions. A fascist regime is a vanguard party, rejecting the conventional democratic system by force and frenzy. In more ways than one, most of the radicals are also fascists, but there are severe implications on being a fascist entity, individual, government or Military. So which member of the UNSC is a dictator? Is it China or US? Or Russia or the UK?


Last year, US President Donald Trump ordered direct attacks against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the wake of a suspected chemical attack in the rebel held town that killed over 80 people and shook the entire world. The direct intervention has put the US at odds with Russia, the main backer of Assad’s regime. And let us not forget that Pakistan has somewhat stayed neutral on this issue of Syria, whereas what has happened there in Syria has direct implications on Pakistan. Pakistan indirectly gets impacted by this situation as crises in the Middle East will certainly make it a foreign policy challenge for Pakistan, for failure to stand with Syria in this raging war and its silence on this matter will not be forgotten, at a time when its recent move to allow a former army chief to lead a Saudi-led alliance is being questioned.


The longest war which began simply with pro-democracy protests back in 2011 has divided the key regional and international players with the US, UK, Saudi Arabia and Turkey supporting Syrian opposition groups to overthrow the current regime with Russia, China and Iran backing up the Assad Government. Pakistan needs to take charge here and play the real diplomat while protecting its crucial interests being an Islamic State.


The failed leadership of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan has not been instrumental with corruption continuing to eat way any signs of a diplomatic breakthrough effort by this government. Pakistan has long been against the regime change through foreign intervention and to an extent has sided with the pro-Assad policy of reconciliation.


The latest bombing in Eastern Ghouta in Syria has been a bloody example of an unending war bringing it close to being the worst humanitarian crisis in history. Pakistan will impeach its representative in the UN Human Rights Committee for not casting a vote against the killing of civilians and severe violations of human rights in Syria. Now the entire Pakistani nation should protest against the cruelties in Syria and a resolution must also be passed by the house in this context. Syrian people are calling for support of the Pakistan Army in the prevailing crisis in the country and it is time to really show that Pakistan is standing alongside Syria- the first country who stood up to recognize Pakistan before 1947- something remembered and cherished always as that is the bond of friendship and courage that was shown by the Syrian leadership before the independent resolution for the creation of Pakistan.


The UN needs to attain a state of grace. With the failure of the G-20 in the past and the UNSC at present, the real powers in the region including Turkey, Iran, Russia and Pakistan need to combine support towards putting this civilian crisis to an end by provision of food, water and other resources for Syrian people  and help build consensus at the ICC and United Nations. Ignoring the Syrian war for too long will result in potential isolation for either or all of the Muslim Nations against any aggression on their soil in future terms.


The nature of war has to be understood in its true context and a long term plan to help battle warfare in the region has to be adopted by Pakistan, taking the lead not just as a regional power but also as the true Islamic State positioned to safeguard Muslim interests around the globe. This is the real test for peace and politics to work together, to ensure that humanity survives and this war is over.





Zeeshan A. Shah

The writer is a Director at CNNA Pakistan – a leading advocacy institute and is an expert on International Relations and Education Policy.

With over 150 publications in major local and global social media & newspapers, he has been instrumental in producing over 5000 radio broadcasts aired globally.

A thought leader, environmental journalist, media broadcaster and a change maker with an acute focus on development affairs & education for Pakistan.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.