Debate Paper

2617 Words Feb 19th, 2014 11 Pages
Should the U.S. take Military Action in Syria?
Syria, a country in the Middle East bordering Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon has experienced growing civil unrest since 2011. The current government, led by Bashar al-Assad, has responded with violence and human rights abuses. In September 2013 the United Nations (UN) (United Nations, 2013) confirmed chemical weapons were used against civilians in Damascus on August 21st. These actions have generated an outcry for intervention.
Some believe taking action is the only way to stop the killing of civilians and end human rights abuses perpetrated by the military. These pro-interventionists conclude Assad continues his oppressive actions because he doesn’t believe anyone
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On December 2, 2012 President Obama delivered the following warning to the Assad regime.
“Today, I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command [that] the world is watching," he said. "The use of chemical weapons is, and would be, totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there where be consequences, and you will be held accountable.” (Marshall, 2012
Three months later, in March 2013 (Fielding-Smith, 2013) and again in August 2013, chemical weapons were used against civilians. If Assad has any intention of stepping down it is not represented by these actions which suggest the threat of international response is not a deterrent.
It is unrealistic to argue for military intervention as a means to stop oppressive practices by a ruling force. Like pushing a dog in a corner, aggression fuels aggression. If the regime condones brutal practices to intimidate and gain information from civilians, it follows their response to threats to their existence will require more restrictions and oppression to maintain control.
Lack of cohesion between rebel opposition factions is a concern of those arguing against intervention. United loosely with the objective of overthrowing Assad’s military forces they have different ideals and perspectives on long term goals for Syria. Given access to weapons and training, rebel groups may turn against each other creating another protracted engagement.

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