140 Die In Syrian Civil War On Friday: It's Time For the Arab Community to Step In


At least 140 people were killed in Syria on Friday as the Syrian army attacked fighters seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad with rocket and artillery fire in rebel-held areas.

According to the United Nations, refugees streaming into neighboring Jordan have already doubled that nation's population, with approximately 6,000 people arriving in Zaatari within the past two days.

The newcomers, fleeing from southern Syria are mostly comprised of families — women, children and the elderly — spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told the Associated Press. The UNHCR is working with Jordan's government to open a second camp by the end of this month, she added.

Earlier in January, the UN announced that the overall death toll in Syria had far surpassed the estimated 60,000 with the numbers likely to edge higher and higher as the civil war persists.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, blames the international community for inaction.

"Collectively we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns," she said. "While many details remain unclear, there can be no justification for the massive scale of the killing highlighted by this analysis," Pillay said according to CNN.

I agree.

Although the New York Times made a great case for why the U.S. should intervene in Syria, including the fact that it would help diminish Iran's influence in the Middle East, I don't think that intervention in the deeply volatile nation is a step America should take on it is own. Or even at all.

The Obama doctrine of involving the U.S. in a conflict and getting out almost immediately without any extended military occupations or ground wars, as seen in Libya, would simply not work in Syria. In fact, with Russia still backing Assad along with a number of Arab countries aligned with either the Sunni-Syrian majority or the Shi'a-Syrian minority, an intervention of any sort is likely to escalate into a regional war.

Instead, I think it's time that the Arab nations – nations that are regionally vested in concocting a sustaining stability in Syria – should intervene, though certainly not militarily.

Qatari emir, Sheikh Hamad, who has vehemently denied that Qatar has been arming the rebels, also believes it's time for the Arab nations to come to a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

"We had a similar precedent when Arab forces intervened in Lebanon in the mid-'70s ... to stop internal fighting there in a step that proved to be effective and useful," said Sheikh Hamad, according to Al Jazeera.

He too believes that providing anything but logistic, humanitarian and diplomatic aid would result in a Sunni-Shi'a confrontation that could potentially be catastrophic.

Instead, what is needed in Syria are diplomatic talks led by neighboring Arab nations in which the security for the Alawite-Shi'as is solidified. Otherwise, the Alawites will continue to support Assad, assuming that their survival is dependent on his. Once you give the Alawite's that security, you essentially strip Assad of most of his coalition and fighters, paving the way for an end to this baseless killing.

If not, the killing continues and if Assad is toppled sans the Alawite-security, it could possibly mean genocide for 16% of the country’s population.