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22 February 2012 @ 12:41 pm
A Modest Proposal that Might Work but Will Never Happen  
Less than 12 hours her final interviews on Anderson Cooper 360 and with the BBC, Marie Colvin of the UK Sunday Times was killed by government shelling in Homs, Syria. She was on the show to raise awareness of the continued violence and counter Syrian officials statements that they were only attacking legitimate military and terrorist targets. The specific subject of the interview was the death of a young child after getting hit from shrapnel from a shell (I think he was two; I was not very awake when I saw the interview). The boy was just one of over 100 deaths in Homs during that day.

Along with Marie Colvin, French photojournalist Remi Ochlik and over a dozen others died in the same shelling of a make-shift medical facility. Rami al-Sayed, a local resident turned international journalist who had been endeavoring to continue to report from Homs after the withdrawal of almost every foreign journalist, was also killed in Homs. The dead in Homs totaled over 60 yesterday.



I'm all for International Consensus and the United Nations, but the violence in Syria is past that point. The Syrian regime has lost all pretense of trying to portray themselves as the legitimate government of Syria; they are targeting civilians, regardless of their political affiliation, in an effort to terrorize the populace into surrendering. If Russia and China are unwilling to allow a Security Council resolution, maybe it is time to consider removing their veto authority -- I'd be fine with removing the veto authority of all five permanent members, for that matter.

Regardless, this is my proposal.

Send in peacekeepers and humanitarian relief forces. Radical, I know. Follow Nike's example, and Just Do It.

Specifically, send it peace keeping troops and logistical support from Jordan, Greece, and Azebajan or Georgia. The king of Jordan has a vested interest in stopping any violence in Syria and being seen to be responsive to the needs of the civilian population. He often seems (and may legitimately be) the best of the reigning Monarchs in the area. Greece is relatively close, but also desperately could use the UN Funding for maintaining peacekeepers. Georgia and Azerbajan are also close geographically to Syria. These four nations are unlikely to be seen as puppets of the US or major European powers, and being regional, have a vested interest in stopping the violence which could poor over. They are not so close as to have a large historical bias in Syria, and would be able to represent the vestiges of the 1980s 3-world view (1st World, Western; 2nd World, Communist; 3rd World, Muslim).

That, however, isn't it. The crux of the plan is to send in medical and relief support from joint mission between the Magen David Adom (Israel's member body of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent) and Palestine Red Crescent Society. No armed personnel from Israel or Palastine, just doctors, nurses, cooks, and other volunteers. The PRCS has experience with these sorts of trauma cases, the MDA is well equipped and ready for a fast response, and the two governments need to get used to working together, and both governments need to improve their reputations with the international community.

It will never happen; I know that. It is too radical, and involves too many independent groups with their own motivations. It, however, would go a long way to end not only this violence, but help provide stability in that part of the world.
 
 
 
The Darkermindways on February 22nd, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
I understand the urge, but...

Send in peacekeepers and humanitarian relief forces. Radical, I know. Follow Nike's example, and Just Do It.

Specifically, send it peace keeping troops and logistical support from Jordan, Greece, and Azebajan or Georgia.


What would the objective of these forces be? Military forces are generally terrible at stopping violence in any way other than removing the opponent's capability to wage war - ie, fighting a war and winning. Police forces are better at keeping multiple sides from beating each other up, but, but not generally up to the task of keeping a government-backed army from fighting.

The Powell Doctrine may not be perfect, but that whole "have a clear and attainable objective" thing has been borne out many, many times in modern history.
Galen Brownsmithmarphod on February 22nd, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
With respect to clear goals:

1) Establish non-governmental medical and surgical facilities within all major cities.
2) Establish international news and communication posts within the country.
3) Provide an escorted tour of the country for news personnel and international dignitaries on a regular but not predictable nor announced schedule.
4) Restore power, sewage, and basic utilities.
5) Aggressively defend all of the above against any source of violence.
6) Aggressively suppress any attacks on non-military targets.

Exit Strategy:

Once the current government has stepped aside, and replaced with a new civilian government, leaving should be trivial.
ξενική μὲν, χρησίμη δὲtla on February 24th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
Once you're talking about aggressive defense, though, is it really a peacekeeping force anymore? I think the "terrible at stopping violence in any way other than removing the opponent's capability to wage war - ie, fighting a war and winning." from the previous comment applies in spades here. So really you seem to be talking about sending an invasion force.
Galen Brownsmithmarphod on February 24th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
The goal isn't an invasion or offensive force, but a police action.

But if it turns to be more violent, which seems likely, I'm also fine with that. Thousands of civilian murders per month by a despotic government is a problem.
Kirinkirinn on February 27th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
The Economist last week proposed a course of action with some similarities to yours, though not quite the same. They propose trying to set up an autonomous "safe zone" in northern Syria similar to the Kurdish area in northern Iraq. The force to do this would be led by Turkey, along their border, with help from other interested regional powers. It would give the resistance a place to collect and organize, as well as allow centralized establishment of the support facilities you mention, without having to defend them throughout the country. The Syrian army would only be engaged so far as they try to breach the designated zone (and apparently it's an area where they don't currently have a heavy presence).

Is does still sound more or less like it would amount to an invasion, but one of strictly limited scope.