- Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 01:30
- Written by Dashalia Singaram
As Syria continues to face political upheaval, nations around the world are beginning to feel pressure to intervene.
In March 2011, unrest broke out in Syria. Twelve months on, more than 8 000 people have lost their lives. The uprising began when civilians began to protest, calling for reforms in President Bashar al-Assad’s policies. The situation escalated as government forces attempted to nullify opposition.
However, it is only now that the international community is facing real pressure to intervene. Leaders around the globe are being urged by civil rights groups to take action. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon released a formal statement on March 22nd, 2012 saying, “Civil strife of the sort we are seeing in Syria can destroy whole societies.”
This was coupled with a plan by U.N.-Arab league envoy Kofi Annan to slowly ease the situation. The talk among the Western countries of the world is facing opposition from China and, long-time ally of Damascus, Russia.
Russia and China have said that they do not support resolutions which will encourage military intervention in Syria. Kofi Annan will visit Moscow this week in an attempt to gain Russia’s support. The current view of the United States and Europe is that they will attempt to ease the situation through political avenues and peaceful resolution, but will not send military troops into Syria at this stage.
It has taken one full year for the rest of the world to formally acknowledge that the situation in Syria has reached boiling point. It was only on Friday, 23 March, that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the Obama Administration would grant Syrians currently staying in the U.S. protected status. This allows Syrians visiting the United States to remain in the country while the situation in Syria remains unresolved. They are also permitted to work in the country while they are there.
This status is usually reserved for people whose countries have been devastated by natural disasters, but the government faced pressure from lawmakers in the U.S. and extended the protection to Syrians, a courtesy not awarded to Libyans last year.
Syria is currently under a partial media blackout as the government has banned most media from working in the country. Reports of deaths and activist activities are therefore not detailed. However, The Guardian recently released a series of emails, both personal and political from within Syrian government offices. This has exposed the government to worldwide criticism with statements such as “The Assads are eating Fondue and watching Harry Potter” coming to light.
The release of these emails did very little to assist a government dealing with severe civil unrest, international pressure and a wavering economy.