December 03

The Man Who Started a War: Bashar al-Assad

To many Americans, the name Bashar al-Assad is unknown. The reason for Syrian refugees, and the refugee crisis that countries are presented with is also unknown. The rally of numerous countries together against ISIL in Syria, and the potential unity with Russia, is also unknown. While France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all joined together, they are looking towards Russia for the final push in the war against ISIL. There is one final factor, however, and that is the President of Russia: Basha al-Assad.

During the Arab Spring, Syrian rebels decided to go against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and demanded his resignation. Bashar al-Assad would not tolerate this outbreak, and he responded with a huge force. America decided to take notice, in the summer of 2013, when there was evidence Assad used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. President Obama said this was a red line, and once crossed, the United States would take action. However, President Obama then decided to ask Congress what the next step should be. There was a huge debate in Congress, as both parties equally agreed or disagreed that there needed to be boots on the ground or just aid to the rebel group. The problem was, however, that the “rebel” groups are unknown. It is more of a gureilla type warfare, so although the US has already given hundreds of millions of dollars to the Syrian rebels, it is almost impossible to know how much has been effective. It does not help that there have been videos of ISIS taking different aid packages and using it for themselves.

After the Paris shootings and the Russian plane shot down form Egypt, the scenario has changed, and other countries now want to get involved in the fight against ISIL. ISIL gained a lot of traction in Syria because of the Civil War, and because Assad has been more focused on defeating rebel groups than ISIL. The United States started with airstrikes on Syria last fall, and after Paris, the French have followed suit. Putin has also declared war against ISIL, but there is one final factor in his decision to work with the US, and that is Assad.

Putin told the US that he would not support taking out Assad from his office. As the United States wants Assad to step down due to him breaking International Law with chemical weapon use on civilians, this puts the two superpowers at a cross roads.

While many people have said this is the start to World War III, I disagree. This is a chance for countries to come together against a common enemy, and against terrorism. The United Kingdom pledged yesterday to help with airstrikes, aiding France and the United States. And now, Russia, who has had tense relations with the United States for years, also has a common enemy. The only factor standing in the way, now, is the man who started the war itself, and that is Bashar al-Assad.