The U.S.'s bombing of Iraq on the pretext of introducing democracy to the country is one of the first acts, or rather war crimes, that spring to minds when former U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign policies are mentioned. Apparently, President Barack Obama's foreign policies will encapsulate the bombing of Syria, or allowing an open pass for this bombing, under the color of bringing secularism to the country.
Syria was a Muslim-majority country that had a Sunni majority and was ruled by an elite Alawite minority. Syrian leader Bashar Assad's massacres that started with scud missiles and continued with chemical attacks was overlooked because Assad was "secular" and those who he killed were Muslims. The introduction of democracy to Syria could have led to damaging consequences just as in Egypt. A country that Assad rules through mass murders was preferred to a democracy run by Muslims, and this paved the way for the current situation.
Contrary to what some claim, I am of the opinion that the U.S. did not pursue an irresolute policy in this process. This is because the Obama administration, knowingly and willfully, did not make any move, even though it saw that Syria was heading toward chaos in every step with foreign fighters flowing onto the field from all sides and al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) achieving domination in one battle after another. That was why no action was taken against the Assad regime, which committed 96 percent of civilian massacres, but against ISIS instead, which committed 3 percent of massacres reminiscent of the worst examples of violence pornography.
Meanwhile, opposition forces, which emerged from among Syrian people themselves, were left alone on all occasions and compelled to fight against the Assad regime's forces and mercenaries, Iranian soldiers, Shiite and Hezbollah militia, ISIS and now Russian warplanes. The air support as well as intensive arms and intelligence aid provided to the secular Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed People's Protection Units (YPG) was withheld from the opposition forces.
Clinking glasses with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the United Nations General Assembly, Obama gave Russia approval to bomb Syria as it wanted on the pretext of fighting ISIS. Both decided over Syria's future and announced that this should be done in a secular way. Certainly, theocratic Iran's positioning of Syria as a matter of existence and "secular" Russia's Orthodox Church leader's overt description of Syria as a "crusade" would be addressed as details that do not harm the ideal of a secular Syria.
Opponents interpreted the statement of a secular Syria as an indicator that shows that they would be bombed by Russia as well, and they turned out to be right in this. Russia launched its first airstrike in Syria with the objective of shelling ISIS positions. In Hama and Homs, however, it bombed anti-regime forces and civilians who had nothing to do with ISIS. A total of 33 civilians, including six children and six combatants were killed. These include the fighters of U.S.-backed moderate opposition groups.
As long as the fact that Assad gave birth to ISIS, which U.S. Senator John McCain echoed in his speech on Russia's air operations, is ignored, it is possible to struggle with neither the Assad regime nor ISIS. Sooner or later, things will reach a point of neither Assad nor ISIS, as
Ankara has argued since the very beginning. But who knows how many hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and how many millions of refugees will we be talking about then? There will be hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians whom Obama will have disregarded in order to establish Iranian peace for his legacy in foreign politics alone. We will see whether that peace will be as long-running as the democracy project that Bush undertook in Iraq.
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