Syria Turmoil Exposes Rifts Among Arab Intellectuals – NYTimes.com

Syria is divided–even among Arab intellectuals, some of whom continue to throw support for the Assad regime:

Mr. Mahadin is just one of a number of leftist, anti-imperialist intellectuals who believe that the Syrian rebellion is being led by Islamists aligned with the West, manipulated by Gulf states including Qatar and Saudi Arabia on the behalf of the United States and Israel, in order to gain dominance in the region.

A group of 230 influential figures have signed an open letter in the press demanding that Jordan stand with Syria in the face of a global conspiracy.

via Syria Turmoil Exposes Rifts Among Arab Intellectuals – NYTimes.com.

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5 thoughts on “Syria Turmoil Exposes Rifts Among Arab Intellectuals – NYTimes.com

  1. Emily Heath says:

    This conflict in the Middle East is not only tearing Syria apart. The Syrian rebels are enlisting aid from many parts of the globe, and the Assad regime has its supporters as well. As the USA and the UN decide where they stand in regards to how much to get involved in the conflict, a rift is forming among those who believe that intervention is necessary and those who think we should keep to ourselves. The question extends further to other states that choose to fuel the fight in Syria. What is our place in regards to, say, Iraq: how much do we meddle with their decision to let Iran use their airspace to give aid to Assad? Is the USA still the world’s peace keeper?

    This article from the NYT highlights the Iraq/Iran/USA diplomatic battle:
    http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/as-iran-assists-syria-iraqi-airspace-becomes-a-diplomatic-battleground/

    • draper15 says:

      I feel that the burden of being the hegemon in a unipolar system entails such a responsibility, although within certain bounds. Although I feel as if the U.S. overstretches itself in an attempt to bear such a burden in many situations, I believe this situation permits the U.S. to the right to involve itself in Iraq’s decision whether or not to allow Iran to use its airspace. The U.S. is already involved in the issue and should be allowed to utilize its regional influence, especially when it comes to Iraq, a country with which the U.S. has had a lot of dealings with in the past decade.
      Furthermore, the U.S. has a right to act out of self-interest in a region within which it has vested so much of its time and resources. In a globalized world, regional disputes have global repercussions. In order to avoid a collapse of national interests in such a volatile region, the U.S. must be able to use its influence.

      • troytessem says:

        The international community is hung by the security council. The U.S. is not going to unilaterally help the Syrian rebellion past the point of humanitarian aid or technological help. Weapons are out of the question, at least directly providing weapons to the opposition. Who actually knows how the U.S. is wheeling and dealing behind the scenes. However, when it comes to Iraqi airspace and Iran using Iraqi airspace to deliver weapons to the regime, the U.S. does have the opportunity to influence Iraq to disallow these flights. At the same time the U.S. needs to be careful about overreaching its pressure to influence such flights. That being said, the U.S. should be applying diplomatic pressure to encourage Iraqi leaders to act. This is definitely, not even remotely at the point of sanctions, embargoes, etc. We should just use soft diplomatic power, leaning more towards incentives for Iraqi leaders that help in this regard. Here is a link detailing current discussions between Iraq and the U.S. over the issue. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/06/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html

  2. We will not see any real progress until “our side” determines some clear objectives and decides to pursue them without remorse. In other words, we must draw a hard line for Assad and his supporters. True, this is easier said than done, but the opposition has already drawn their line, they want Assad to stay in power at the expense of the Syrian people. It amuses me to think that Arab intellectuals would think that there is a “Western conspiracy” in play here; indeed, our side is far too fractured to even agree on what to do.

    My take, we (the “West”) must unite to help the rebels, do everything we can to cut off Assad, and help end the civil war as quickly as possible. True, the Syrian people must ultimately decide what happens after Assad, and will face enormous challenges, but we cannot even contemplate those challenges until Assad is somehow removed from power.

    • zoyakrup says:

      Progress will not be made if “we, the West” just go in and takes charge.This would would not solve the civil war going on, but create further problems for the United States and also in the Middle East. I agree that Assad needs to step down and the killings need to be put to an end, but the US cannot go in “without remorse”. The United States is already helping by aiding some of the rebel groups in Syria, but if we go into the country like we did, say with Afghanistan, than more tension between Middle Eastern countries and the United States will only increase. The Arab culture is very different from our culture here in America. Business deals, problems, and everyday life is approached differently. The United States has done things that has made the view of the west not so positive, just like places in the Middle East have done things that have made the US look at the Middle east negatively. Their culture is not fully understood by most of the people and media in America so judgement can be a little bit a skewed.
      Quick note about the letter of Jordan taking sides: Jordan has never really had major problems within their country nor with their surrounding countries. King Abdullah has managed to keep Jordan a neutral, peaceful place. How? By not taking sides. The demand to make Jordan choose a side is not a very smart decision because that could result in some kind of wars to start in Jordan. Jordan is in a delicate state as it is with so many Syrian refugees; can their economy support more?

      Jordan needs help?: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/middleeast/2012/08/20128271148856401.html

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