Five questions on possible intervention in Syria

29 August 2013

Five questions on possible intervention in Syria

A number of different countries are threatening a military attack on Syria. The SP does not support these plans. Below, we explain why.

Why doesn’t the SP support military action against Syria?

The SP’s fear is that a military intervention by the United States and Great Britain in Syria would not bring a diplomatic solution to this long, drawn-out conflict any closer, but would in fact hinder such a solution. In addition, the lack of a legal basis for military actions is of great importance. It is also the case that it remains to be seen what the current UN inspections in Syria will produce.

What are the possible consequences of an attack on Syria?

Already the war in Syria is to a great extent fuelled from outside the country. The Gulf states are sending a great deal of weaponry to the rebels and Iran and Russia are supporting the Assad regime. In Syria a civil war is in process, but also being fought is a struggle between regional powers. A military intervention would very probably mean that the war in Syria would further escalate to become still more of an international conflict. It’s also important to understand that a political solution to the conflict would become even more remote as a consequence of intervention.

Shouldn’t the use of poison gas be punished?

It is unacceptable that chemical weapons are used by no matter whom. This must not remain unpunished. The Security Council should take measures, for example imposing more exacting sanctions against the perpetrators and an international arms embargo. It would also be useful if UN inspectors could remain in Syria in order to prevent any repeat of the use of poison gas. This should be being done now.

How, in the SP’s view, should the crisis in Syria be addressed?

Only a political solution can offer a way out of the situation of continuing war crimes which are being committed in the country. It is for that reason of the utmost importance that every support is offered to the work of the UN special emissary to Syria, Mr Brahimi. There exists a clear plan for a peace conference. All countries with influence in Syria, above all Russia and the United States, should embrace Brahimi’s peace initiative and as an initial step put pressure on their allies for a ceasefire.

Is the SP against Dutch foreign military intervention in principle?

The SP is not in principle against military intervention, but its view is that such must in every case be legitimate, effective and proportionate. Given that the American and British plans for a military intervention do not fulfil these conditions, they cannot be supported. Moreover, the lesson from the military interventions in Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) are that such interventions rarely lead to stable and peaceful states.

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