Syrian Conflict-Biases and Errors in Perception Lead to Errors in Analysis
Syrian conflict has been in the limelight of international concern following the long period of unresolved fights between the government and rebels. There is a possibility that the conflict would have been resolved long ago through policy process and interventions from the international community. However, there have been lots of errors and wrong perceptions concerning the causes and outcomes of the Syrian conflict. The analysis of the Syrian conflict has been negatively affected by biases, which suggest that the nation has weapons of mass destruction. Further, the biases have misled the US policy makers to incline towards arming the rebels to overthrow President Assad`s government. However, such a policy action is most likely to raise security issues as the weapons meant for the rebels might fall into the hands of Al Qaeda operatives. Rebels fight the government supporters and the government army with sophisticated weapons, which cause massive blood shed to the civilians. Rebels rise against a ruling regime with the hope of toppling and overthrowing the government, although the plans of overthrowing a government do not always succeed.
The world has witnessed a series of unrest in various Islam nations, which resulted to killing of government officials and coups. Although such conflicts did not last for long periods, the destructive capacity of civil unrest was evidenced, and nations that encountered the same took the time to recover. This has been the same case with Syria as the conflict in the nation has been escalating with time. The Syrian rebels strive to overthrow the administration and government of President Assad for long, but the government has miraculously survived the trauma. The result has been years of continuous civil unrest in the nation, which have claimed more than a million lives, as well as forcing several million people to join refugee camps. Syrian conflict begun with civil strife between rebels and the government army and the conflict grew to national levels as the rebels conquered government controlled territories. The blood trail that has been left by the Syrian conflict has attracted the attention of the international community, prompting the US to intervene in various ways in an attempt to fix the situation. It is apparent that the conflict in Syria has spilled, over the national boundaries of the nation to affect other regions and nations that surround the country.
Further, the conflict continues to cause loss of lives of civilians and innocent people who are caught in the line of fire between the rebels and the government armies, as well as supporters. Such violations of human rights compel the world super powers to exercise their duty of protecting the interests of the public through appropriate intervention. It is essential to note that, the US seeks to fix the Syrian situation by bringing the civil unrest to an end. For the US to get involved in any way, the nation must consider the most appropriate action to take, which should be consistent with the US foreign policies. The policies guide the process of the US intervening in the affairs of another nation as the US should seek to protect her interests in the international sphere. Any action that is not consistent with the US foreign policies will be deemed inappropriate and illegal, and such might attract attention and reaction from other nations that have interests in the Syrian conflict.
The US policy makers are responsible for drafting and designing foreign policies, which define the relationships and involvement of the US with other nations, in the continent. Although the foreign policies may apply to all nations in equal measure, there are times when the policies are amended to suit the situations of some nations. Further, policies makers depend, on their knowledge and information of a nation or situation to come up with the most suitable policies. The knowledge and information are obtained from the critical assessment of the events and situations that characterize the nation that is being affected, by the policy.
However, it is apparent that the assessment and analysis that are done in the case of Syrian conflict are laden with errors in perception, as well as biases. The implication of errors and biases are that the decisions that are made on Syria by the policy makers are not accurate at all. Syrian conflict has been characterized by lots of ugly features, as well as dynamic outcomes, which confuse predictions of how the conflict will be resolved, in the future. At some point, the rebels seem powerful and ready to overthrow President Assad`s administration and most people are inclined to believe that is exactly what will happen. However, the situation seems to change as Assad has managed to gain support from nations as Russia and has reclaimed some territories. Therefore, it becomes difficult to predict the side that will win the battle and restore sanity in Syria.
The US assessment seems inclined towards believing that the Assad`s government will lose the battle to the rebels. The same assessment and predictions tend to show that the rebels are on the right thus supporting them with weapons and intelligence would be in order to ensure that the war torn nation can have peace. The prediction behind the biased assessment is that US arms have the capacity to fix a troubled nation that has not known sanity and peace for decades. It is essential that such predictions be altered to ensure that an objective report is compiled with regard to Syria, without biases that hinder the establishment of a lasting solution to the problems that hinder progress, in the nation. The errors and biases in the analysis of the Syrian situation of civil unrest should be eliminated through arming the rebels to fight the government. The argument is that, in the event that the conflict is not stopped on time, the problem will continue to escalate and cause massive deaths to the civilians. Further, the conflict is likely to hinder trade and other security activities in the region as other rebel groups might be motivated to follow suit and bring unrest, in other regions of the planet. It is vital to note that, the arguments leads to serious cases of assumptions that increase the risk of aggravating the Syrian situation instead of fixing the situation.
The assumption that the arming the rebels is the best way to go about fixing the Syrian situation seems as a huge blunder for the US to consider. It is apparent that the US believes that they will protect the arms and ensure that they go to the safe hands of the rebels. However, there is a gap that the US is ignoring, and the same seems to escalate the Syrian situation. In most cases, weapons are associated with money and nations, groups and individuals that sell arms make a lucrative income from the trade. Therefore, US arms that will be meant for the rebels are most likely to be sold to militia groups in Syria, which are directly associated with Al Qaeda. The implication of this assumption and gap in information is that the US will indeed be arming Al Qaeda with her weapons, which will be used against the US. Such an event will increase the risk of insecurity for both the Syrian people, as well as Americans.
The second assumption is that Syria has weapons of mass destruction, and that president Assad had used biological weapons on the rebels. Such allegations raise the alert level for the Syrian situation that is likely to compromise the global security. The US has an obligation to intervene and stop the building of weapons of mass destruction and use of the same. Therefore, such an allegation that Syria has such weapons has sparked activities in Syria and her allies as the US is likely to invade interfere with the Syrian conflict. There are nations that have sent their troops to support President Assad, especially following the previous involvement of the US in cases of nuclear weapons as in Afghanistan. The outcomes of the intervention were not convincing as it turned out that nuclear weapons allegations were fault. Therefore, this situation contributes to the escalation of uncertainties about safety in Syria and the world, by extension.
Furthermore, the assumption that the US has the right to act with regard to US policy, as well as the policy of the US allies continue to illuminate the risk and the cost of the choices of the policy. Apparently, it is clear that the US feels and obligation to respond to her role in the Syrian conflict thus should intervene, through military action to resolve the problem. Should the American government take such a step, the cost of resolving the problem will shoot to unimaginable levels. Getting involved in the Syrian conflict means that the US will send troops in the nation to restore peace in the country. The cost of going to war with either the Syrian government and her supporters or the Syrian rebels will require lots of military resources, soldiers, intelligence and weapons. The policy makers should consider the prohibitive cost of involving America in the Syrian conflict thus come up with other priorities of utilizing the American military resources.
It is imperative to note that, the paper is not suggesting that policy action should not be considered at all, in the Syrian conflict. Policy action should be considered should the Syrian conflict escalate to prohibitive levels, which might endanger the American foreign interests. As the paper had mentioned in the introduction, American policies seek to represent and assert the American interests, in all situations. In the event that such interests are jeopardized, America is obligated to act to protect such interests. This should one alternative that should be exploited for policy action.
Further, safety and security for the Americans are given the first priority and safety should not be compromised. The government guards the right of the citizens to be safe. For instance, should the outcomes of the analysis show that indeed Syria is dealing with weapons of mass destruction policy action against Syria would be necessary and vital for the safety of all people. Among other things, Syria would suffer from sanctions as trade sanctions and travel bans, as well US military invasion to disarm the dirty weapons.
However, policy makers should proceed, with caution to ensure that their decisions are objective and based on reliable intelligence. In this case, the process of collecting intelligence should be promoted to ensure that information that is gathered from the Syrian conflict is true and accurate. The entire errors should be sieved and eliminated from the information and analysis of the same should adhere to the acceptable standards. There should be no cases of generalizing situations and judge nations based on the past encounters. Every case should be handled separately and evaluated according to the current conditions and circumstances. In the event that these procedures are followed to the letter, policy action and policy making in the US will note receive harsh objection and criticism from other nations as every person will see the truth and justification in the policy actions.
Cashman, Greg. What Causes War?: An Introduction to Theories of International Conflict. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2000. 92-223.
Cobban, Helena. The Superpowers and the Syrian-Israeli Conflict. New York u.a: Praeger, 1991.
Dukata, David J. Flames of War. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2006. 112-445.
El-Nawawy, Mohammed. The Israeli Egyptian Peace Process in the Reporting of Western Journalists. Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Ablex, 2002. 322-874.
Farer, Tom J. Confronting Global Terrorism and American Neo-Conservatism: The Framework of a Liberal Grand Strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. 66-349.
Leverett, Flynt. Inheriting Syria Bashar`s Trial by Fire. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2005. 336-724.
Power, Samantha. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. 223-609.
Rabil, Robert G., and Walid Phares. Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East. Westport (Conn.): Praeger security international, 2006. 132-389.
Starr, Stephen. Revolt: Eye-Witness to the Syrian Uprising. London: Hurst, 2012. 437-512.