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US and Saudi need to stop arming Syrian rebels
Turkey figures in the top 15 countries with highest military budget; its air force is one of the biggest in NATO countries; the size of its active military is second only to the US among NATO members. So, why NATO needs to protect and defend Turkey?

NORTH ATLANTIC Treaty Organisation (NATO) has said that it is ready to defend its alliance member, Turkey and have necessary plans in place. The US recently revealed that it has a military task force in Jordan. The US is also monitoring the security of Syria’s chemical and biological weapons. It had also previously warned Syria regarding its stockpile of 'chemical and biological weapons'.

Meanwhile, Turkish armed forces returned fire for the sixth consecutive day after mortar shells from Syria landed in Turkish territory.

Rebels fighting the government forces in Syria have previously acknowledged that they are being provided training in Turkey. The rebel headquarters were previously based in Turkey but Free Syrian Army (FSA) in September 2012 announced that it is moving its headquarters to Syria. The FSA had also announced that it is vital for their campaign to control border crossings with Turkey as they are the main supply lines for them.

It is no secret that arms and ammunition are being provided to Syrian rebels, the money of which is paid for by Gulf countries supporting the rebels with the US coordinating the efforts.

In July, International Committee of the Red Cross declared Syrian conflict a 'civil war'. What is puzzling is the fact that the world community keeps on forgetting this fact. There is a loss of life which is felt worldwide but this is an internal conflict. Countries cannot arm the people to fight and then say they regret the loss of human lives and ask the legitimate government to relinquish power. They government forces are not the only party in this conflict.

Turkey has said that it does not want to go to war with Syria but recent actions speak otherwise. Turkey has moved some of it fighter jets close to the Syrian border. It has reinforced its armed forces in the border areas with tanks and artillery. NATO is saying that it is prepared to defend Turkey. Now, what exactly is defence in this case? Turkey’s military budget is in the world top 15 list; its air force is one of the biggest in NATO countries; the size of its active military is second only to the US among NATO members. So, why NATO needs to protect and defend Turkey?

There is a country that is providing for training of rebels on its soil, providing them with arms, helping them with supplies and coordination and then criticising another country for fighting anti-social elements whose main aim is to bring down a legitimate government.

Persian Gulf nations are also calling for FSA to be recognised as the sole representative of the Syrian people. Is it wise to recognise FSA as the sole legitimate representative given the fact that it is an armed group with a lot of disagreements with other factions who are also fighting against Assad regime for control of Syria?

A BBC investigation found out that crates filled with arms destined for Saudi Arabia were in the hands of Syrian rebels. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon is asking the Syrian government to declare and abide by a unilateral ceasefire. How can it do so when the other parties and groups are attacking the government buildings and targeting the government officials?

What exactly are the intentions of NATO remains to be seen but if Turkey and NATO do get involved in Syria overtly, the ramifications could plunge the whole region into a massive conflict. Syria has already warned that it can use its stockpile of 'chemical and biological weapons' when faced with the threat of external aggression. It is also likely that Syria’s allies will get involved in the conflict on its behalf. To preserve peace in such a volatile area, the world needs to understand that it is an internal conflict and any attempt to make it an international issue would result in widespread and unnecessary bloodshed and destruction in the region.

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