In the history of mankind, rarely have there been periods without a war. The Bible shows that there was peace in Israel after the death of David during the reign of his son, King Salomon. Certainly, such peace has been achieved in history of each country, peace that had, unfortunately, been preceded by numerous wars with all of the unkind neighbors – like during the time of David. Almost always some wars were being waged and people were dying so that some matters important for rulers could be settled.
The European Union boasts that thanks to its existence, Europe has been living in peace for over fifty years after WWII. However, the claim is true only in part. It is true because there has been no war in or among the EU member states; on the other hand, it is untrue as some European countries that do not belong to the EU have experienced various, often bloody conflicts, like the Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956 and the invasion of the Warsaw Pact countries in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Probably the most dramatic was the situation in former Yugoslavia in the Balkans in the 1990s. One should remember that the fact that there was no war in the EU countries does not mean that they were at peace as their armed forces, under the liabilities as members of NATO, participated in the biggest conflicts in the Middle East, Iraq and Asia, Afghanistan, and those are only the most significant examples of such participation. Citizens of the European Union died in those wars; therefore, how could we say that EU member states were free from war? Does it matter that a soldier dies in a war waged in his own country or while fighting for the freedom of another country? War victims do not pose such questions but their deaths are always tragedies, regardless of where they die.
It seemed that if we kept in mind the cruelty of the two world wars in the 20th century, we would not let the third one break out. Nevertheless, there have recently been some signals that the attempts of certain countries that want to gain access to nuclear weapons, North Korea and Iran, pose a threat that may very well cause the outbreak of another world war. Lately, another threat has appeared in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea as a result of the coups staged in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt and eventually in Syria, which is a kind of a key to the solution or a final complication of the political situation in the Middle East.
The civil war between the armed forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamist rebels that arrived in Syria from all Muslim countries and represent the extremist, militant faction of Islam linked to Al-Qaeda, is an attempt to abolish the government of Syria which, so far, has successfully resisted the extremists. In its internal policy, it has created religious tolerance that is rare in Muslim countries. That allows Christians, present in those areas almost from the beginning of Christianity - that is from the fourth century - to survive. It is a serious dilemma whether to support Assad’s rule that ensures freedom of religion or give up to the Islamic extremists who will make the rich and traditional mosaic of Syrian religions a land usurped by the intolerant faction of Islam. It is also obvious that the superpowers have their own interests in Syria, including Russia with its military naval base in the port of Tartus - the only Russian strategic foothold in the Mediterranean Sea.
Russia, China and Iran are the allies in the war against Syria. For various reasons, the rest of the world is against it. The turning point in the war was the use – according to the claims of the Americans - of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces against the rebels on the 21st August 2013, which caused the death of almost 1400 people in Mudamia, mostly civilians, including children. The news shocked the public opinion and US President Barack Obama announced a military intervention in Syria in order to punish it for violating the international ban on the use of chemical substances during war. First the United States, then Russia sent their fleets to the areas of the conflict and a missile attack on Syria could occur at any time.
The US efforts to create a coalition against Syria failed and President Obama stated that any military actions depend on the consent of the US Congress. The diplomatic steps that have been taken have led to the attempt to solve the issue by punishing Syria. It would be forced to relinquish all of the chemical weapons it possesses to an international commission where they would subsequently be neutralized. The proposal was initially accepted by Russia and Syria, while President Obama has recognized it as ‘potentially positive’ and postponed voting in the Senate to be able to participate in the negotiations planned in Geneva at that time.
Global public opinion and the American society do not want a military intervention in Syria because it may cause the outbreak of a new world war. Pope Francis has asked for a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Let us hope that an agreement will be reached and the dispatched soldiers will quickly return to their homes.
Author: Bp Tadeusz Pieronek / pr-controlled.com ©
Illustrations: Painting by Raphael, Picasso's Guernica,
The Battle of Aboukir by Antoine-Jean Gros / Wikipedia