Solve the crisis on the ground, not in Europe
E DII TO RII A L
Last week’s double attacks in Beirut and Paris were, perhaps, the wake-up call needed to get the West truly interested in the turbulent Middle East. On the one hand, the French President declared an allout war on ISIS, on the other hand, large-scale bombardments will simply exacerbate the refugee crisis, straining the European Union’s tolerance even further.
In September, Noble laureate Jeffrey Sachs wrote that the ongoing bloodletting in Syria is not only the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster by far, but also one of its gravest geopolitical risks. “And the United States’ current approach has failed miserably. The solution to the Syrian crisis, including the growing refugee crisis in Europe, must run through the United Nations Security Council.”
Having numbered the US security establishment’s international failures in meddling in affairs to topple regimes deemed to be harmful to American interests, Sachs said that this model does not work. “What appears to be a ‘quick fix’ to protect local populations and US interests often devolves into chaos, anarchy, civil war, and burgeoning humanitarian crises, as has happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. The risks of failure multiply whenever the UN Security Council as a whole does not back the military part of the intervention,” driven by rivalries that date back to the Cold War and Soviet (Russian) rivalries.
In the past month, however, Russia has shown greater resolve to combat ISIS and keep its ally Assad in power, while America’s regional allies (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey) leaned on President Obama to move on Assad, each with their own national interest and covert operations, and not the greater good of the region in mind.
Now that Francois Hollande seems to have taken the lead where no other European leader has so far, there could be a consensus for a quicker solution to the problem in Syria and, by extent, Iraq, before the refugee crisis erupts to a volcano-level with vast repercussions on continental Europe.
This is where the European Commission Vice President for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini has a chance to show her unifying skills, where her predecessor failed miserably by delaying any action or involvement when the Arab Spring started across northern Africa and the Middle East.
In hindsight, these problems should have been resolved by ensuring stability and security on the ground, through humanitarian aid, investment, health and education, thus preventing the problem of migrants growing to the uncontrolled scale it is today.
With Russian President Vladimir stating over the weekend that at least 40 states support ISIS or their actions, directly or indirectly, with some even members of the G20, it is time for the West to realise who is truly on their side and who has been conning them all this time. Only then will there be a genuine interest and effort to restore calm and a “Middle Eastern-type of democracy” in Syria and Iraq, which is far from the principles we believe in, but nevertheless the only solution possible.