Only a Muslim Peace Force Can Resolve the Syrian Problem
With the 55,000 photographs that emerged prior to the Geneva talks , photos which clearly showed that the Assad regime tortured people to death in its prisons, the idea that the regime and its human rights violations have to be stopped has again become a matter of public discussion.
Of course these photographs are important evidence in proving the atrocities committed by the regime. However, we must not forget that the same regime oppressed the Syrian people long before there was a civil war in Syria and even before Bashar Assad himself came to power; it is not the first time that the Ba'athist ideology unleashed a bloodbath. According to the latest data from the International Rescue Committee, nine million people in Syria have had to abandon their homes since 2011: Six million of these are living as refugees inside and outside the country. Among the female refugees, 41,000 of the women who left Syria were pregnant. 30,000 doctors were forced to leave the country and approximately 500 healthcare professionals are in jail. The fact that Assad’s forces are constantly besieging villages and districts, using crude barrel bombs and engaging in a policy of mass slaughter making no allowances for women, children and the elderly has been demonstrated time and time again. Most recently, epidemics have begun appearing among innocent people deprived of medical aid.
Even though there is still a geographic location referred to as Syria, it is no longer possible to speak of a Syrian state; the Syria with thousands of years of history that once stood on trade routes no longer exists. It is impossible to speak of any healthy industry in a Syria in which its best known historical artifacts have been destroyed, buildings have been ruined wholesale and the vast majority of the infrastructure and transport system has disappeared. An 80% decline in all industrial production across the state has been reported since 2011, but the true figure is said to be 90%. Assad, who is still trying to cling to his throne under pressure from the Ba’ath regime, or perhaps from fear for his own life, is simply trying to keep breathing inside a single house on a steep hill. The people known as the Syrian people have become little more than a group of refugees trying to survive under terribly harsh conditions in tent cities in surrounding countries.
The idea of a “Western intervention against Syria,’’ which entered the agenda after Assad’s use of sarin gas, is clearly never going to achieve the desired result. The crude nature of the methods being proposed by the USA and other Western states, which generally harbor good intentions such as getting aid to the people in the region or finding a swift solution to the crisis, may lead to even greater losses among people already weakened and trapped in a tiny corner of Syria and inflict even worse conditions on them.
However, the human drama in Syria obviously needs a solution. That solution is for Muslim states to unite, irrespective of sect, and enter Syria from every point possible. If all the Muslim states, whether close to the region or not, establish a peace force by sending just one battalion each, that Muslim peace force will create a psychological climate in which Assad’s already demoralized units will be unable to resist. Peace- keeping forces armed for security reasons can enter Syria from 70 different points, take control of the state of emergency and bring stability to Syria, after which they can leave Syria again without having given anyone so much as a nosebleed. This force, the result of many states coming together, will not create any considerable economic problem for the countries involved. Supervision of the Muslim peace-keeoing force by the U.S. and EU forces will also have a calming effect on world public opinion.
Examples of this have been seen in the past. Following Milosevic’s attempted ethnic cleansing and massacre of the Muslim population of Kosovo in 1998, NATO units entered Kosovo on June 12, 1999, in the largest ground operation undertaken in Europe since the Second World War; the U.N. placed the region under its control until Kosovo became independent. Milosevic knew he could not withstand all those NATO units and immediately withdrew from Kosovo without the loss of a single life in the ground operation.
Is this the only such instance in history? Of course not. God speaks of the armies of Solomon in the Koran. Solomon had the largest military force of the time, and since they knew they would be unable to defeat it, no other state went to war with it. Solomon’s possession of this military strength stemmed from his being on the side, not of war, but of peace; that army was a deterrent force founded, not to wage war or shed blood, but to build peace. Solomon knew that no wicked community could withstand that force and that there would be no need to fight, given that he was in possession of it. He was also a prophet who would, quite literally, not hurt an ant. God reveals this superior moral virtue by describing in the Koran how Solomon told his armies to step off the road in order to avoid crushing a female ant.It is essential for Muslim states to come together and discharge the duty of establishing peace so the Syrian people do not suffer any further, and so this crisis that is troubling the conscience of the world can be resolved. Any other course of action may give rise to undesirable consequences, both for those states wishing to intervene and for the people of Syria. In order to put a swift end to the suffering of innocent people, Muslims must set aside their differences of opinion and prove themselves capable of acting together.