Here is war. With the dark and grim future that it brings with it. War has probably been the most consistent effort that mankind has continually contributed to since time immemorial. In war the lines are always blurred. There is no good team and very often there is no moral standpoint that remains unvarying with time. It is quite difficult to choose one side over another.
Like the Vietnam War in the sixties and the invasion of Kuwait in the 90s, the war we see today in Syria has taken centre stage for our generation. Some might blame the western world for the events that led to this. Some might say that the tyranny of the middle-east dictatorships had this coming. There is a fair share of blame to go around. But right now it’s far too early for that. We need to sit tight and wait till the dust settles and the blood dries before the blame game makes any sense. At this point, it is all meaningless babble that no one pays heed to. The most heart-rending part is that the people dying in this war are not dying because of their religion or political inclination but because they happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
On one hand, we have a set of impassioned fanatics who have annexed large parts of the middle-east and claim for world domination under the banner of a religion. Opposing its claim stand multiple entities with low regard for human life that are trying against each other to bring a final solution to this stand-off. The United States of America entered this conflict with an intention to contain and disintegrate ISIS, it started off by supplying ammunition to the Kurdish rebel groups and the Iraqi Kurdish government. The Kurdish who are well versed in war have survived through troubling times and amidst unfriendly states with warmongering dictators, they proved to be a good opposition. But ISIS held its helm with a strong resistance to their advances.
The ideology that ISIS promotes is rather attractive to many individuals and people have rallied to the middle-east from all corners. Similar to how the Spanish civil war appealed to socialists and communists and how they flocked to serve for its cause, the Islamic Caliphate seems to have a magnetic pull over radicalised Islamists the world over. People have gathered there in large numbers and continue to pour in.
With the Russian involvement things have taken an ugly turn. Upon a formal request by Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, the Russian involvement stepped up from just arms supply to active participation in the war. The Russian government seems to be against any group that opposes Assad’s regime. Amidst all this aggression, Russia has nothing much to lose. It has minimal troops on the ground, it hasn’t been targeted by Islamist insurgents acting under ISIS, and most of all it doesn’t take a moral high ground with regard to providing freedom and democracy to an oppressed people and indulge in the jargon often heard from the USA backed lobby. It is acting solely to further its bilateral relationship with the only nation that provides it with a naval base in the entire middle-east apart from continuous politico-economic cooperation. The careless offensive undertaken by the Russia- Syrian team has only intensified in the past few weeks.
The city of Aleppo which is presently facing merciless devastation is probably the worst hit city in Syria. This city is said to have been continuously inhabited for the last five or more millennia. A city that once opened its gates to refugees from Armenia and of Assyrian origin, is now facing torturous persecution. A city that could boast of being very cosmopolitan, where Christians and Jews contributed up to 20 percent of the population making it the liveliest of interreligious communities in the middle-east is now in grave turmoil.
The fortunate ones who have managed to escape this horrid situation are struggling to find a home. They are forced to make the troublesome journey to even distant nations like Denmark and Sweden while nearby Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait still shamelessly deny access to asylum seekers. But also in the conflict zone working tirelessly are the humanitarian agencies like Médecins Sans Frontières and Syrian Civil Defence. Braving the bombings and gunfire, they prove to be fanatics of another kind. The kind that believes the value of life and freedom to be the greatest of all.
As long as this ordeal lasts many more will die a blameless death. Cities will be turned to ruins. And once in a while, we will have to take in the news with silent sadness and anger of a lifeless baby being washed ashore, of innocent men suffocating under avoidable debris and people in cafes being gunned down. All of this will keep happening while bureaucrats talk with much hypocrisy and throw around words like collateral damage with impunity.
[BROWN] Major wars, 10,000+ deaths in current or past calendar year [RED] Wars, 1,000–9,999 deaths in current or past calendar year [ORANGE] Minor conflicts, 100-999 deaths in current or past calendar year [YELLOW] Skirmishes and clashes, fewer than 100 deaths in current or past calendar year
Major parts of Afghanistan have remained in a constant state of conflict for a greater part of the past four decades. Radical Islamism has been the reason for serious human rights violations in multiple parts of Asia and Africa. The Americas have seen another kind of war brewing for the past decade, the Drug Cartels and Mafia clans against the governments of Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and USA. The fatalities only seem to rise.
Si vis pacem, para bellum Perhaps we do need to prepare for war if we want peace.