If you’re a Canadian, you’re probably familiar with Heritage Minutes (all of which are orders of magnitude more entertaining than any high school lecture on the fur trade I remember enduring), but you might not be aware of a few new ones that were released in the mid-2ooos, mostly having to do with foreign affairs. Check this one out. That Dextraze guy is a boss. He could give us all some tips on dealing with Syria.
In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to have forgotten that he was scheduled to withdraw his troops and stop using heavy artillery this Tuesday, according to a peace agreement negotiated with former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, now an envoy to Syria with the UN and the Arab League. President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have conferred about it; both say more aggressive action from the UN Security Council is needed.
As much as I have little faith in the Security Council these days, considering the presence of member nations who are less than pro-peace, pro-pluralism or pro-democracy, there is something they could do: send in the peacekeepers. The UN Peacekeeping Force was specifically designed to oversee peace processes between and within states. Assad can’t argue that the agreement doesn’t exist; perhaps he would move more quickly with some “help” from this force.
Once that gets done, I’d like to look into bringing up Assad on charges of crimes against humanity. If using that phrase seems pre-emptive to you, consider the criteria for such a charge as outlined in this paper:
- There have been attacks on populations of people who had not been engaged in hostilities.
- There is a definite link between the acts (of killing unarmed rebels) themselves and the underlying “attack” on these populations.
- These populations are connected by their political opposition to Assad, and to a lesser extent ethnicity (he is an Alawite, a branch of Shia Islam, while most Syrians are Sunnis).
- The attacks are systematic, having come from the Syrian government over a sustained period of time with a great cumulative effect on human life.
- We can presume mens rea because the attacks are being carried out by the Syrian military, of which Assad is commander-in-chief.
It’s safe to say the international community has exhausted its diplomatic options. Much like Muammar Gaddafi (may he roast in peace), Assad must fall for this situation to be resolved. Let’s give him a little push.