The United States and France are currently debating the possibility of a Franco-American intervention in the Syrian civil war, after the alleged use of internationally banned chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. I say alleged, but I think it’s clear to everyone that chemical weapons were used, killing thousands of people. What isn’t clear, however, is wether or not it was the Syrian government that used them.
Both the US and France insist that it was the Syrian government that was behind these attacks, and they certainly seem the most likely perpetrators, but there are still doubts, and the fact remains that no one is certain. The sort of action that is by the West is very limited action, designed to weaken the Syrian government, without sending in ground troops. This sort of action will only make the situation worse.
Although some of the opposition fighters in Syria champion freedom, tolerance, and secularism, and although these groups do seem to be dominant among the rebels, there is no telling what could happen and what groups could gain the upper hand once the Assad regime begin’s to lost control. The Assad regime has tried to gain Western support by claiming that the collapse of the Syrian government would be the death of secularism in Syria, and they could have a point. Once the regime collapses, sectarian and ethnic violence could ensue, with different rebel groups fighting each other once they lose a common enemy. Don’t forget that the Kurds control northern Syria and are fighting both the government and the rebels. There have also been fears that the retaliation against Alawites (the sect that dominate the Assad government) could ensue once the government collapses. Also at risk are other Syrian minorities, such as Christians or Druze.
Therefore, I believe that American and French strikes against the Assad regime will only make the situation worse. Here is my solution.
First of all, all countries must wait until the UN has released its report on chemical weapons usage in Syria. Waiting for a security council resolution is not necessary, however, because Russia will block any resolution for the time being, while the situation in Syria grows worse and worse. France, Turkey, and anyone else willing must form a coalition to invade Syria. Israel, however should not join such a coalition, because Syrian animosity towards Israel, who have occupied the Syrian Golan Heights since 1967, will destroy any support for such a coalition within Syria. I suppose the US will have to join, being the military power they are, but I really think that in the future they should be banned from this sort of thing. They’ve got a history of messing interventions up very badly (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent examples), and their soldiers tend to be anti-Islam, and are therefore unable to be accepted by the local civilians. However, in this case the US’s military force will probably be needed.
This coalition should try to seize Damascus and army headquarters as swiftly as possible, whereupon they should form a deal with the rebels to bring Assad and his cronies to The Hague to be tried as war criminals. They should then negotiate a peace treaty between the rebels, the Kurds, and the Alawites, with the possible outcome of independent Kurdish and Alawite states. Hatay province, Turkey, could join a possible Alawite state, as it has a large Alawite population and used to be part of Syria. The next thing to do is to get a provisional government in place, supported by this coalition, and to negotiate fair elections as soon as possible. The foreign troops should then get themselves out of the country within a few months after taking it. Sticking around of a decade, as happened in Iraq, should be avoided at all costs.
Hopefully, this sort of intervention would be the most affective in ending the massive death tolls and atrocities that both the Syrian government and other groups have committed throughout the conflict.