The Syrian Revolution is the first major popular revolution of the 21st Century. Like most popular revolutions, the erstwhile ideals of its early leaders, a group of secular nonviolence activists, were soon set aside as the violent crackdown unleashed by the Assad regime, with the support of its regional and international backers, most notably Iran and Russia, produced a similar violent backlash among its opponents. Consequently, the country was plunged into a civil war in which various regional and international players cultivated their proxies along sectarian and ideological lines. The indifference of the international community and the unwillingness of major powers to push for a quick political solution, or to at least back moderate rebels at a time when they formed the majority of rebel fighters, have called into question the very legal and intellectual foundations of the new global order that seemed to be emerging following the end of the Cold War and the formulation of such legal doctrine as the Responsibility to Protect. The Syrian Civil War has so far claimed close to 250,000 deaths by conservative estimates, dislocated more than half the country’s population of 23 million, with an estimated 5 million becoming refugees in neighboring countries and the European Union, and destroyed the majority of the country’s infrastructure. The result is the worst humanitarian disaster of the 21st Century, so far.
Interview on BrianLehrer.TV
As 2012 draws to a close, we re-assess the Arab Spring and discuss U.S. intervention in Syria and relations with Iran. Joining us are: Leslie Gelb, former New York Times columnist and assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration, and now, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; Ervand Abrahamian, distinguished professor of Iranian and Middle Eastern history and politics at Baruch College; and Syrian human rights activist, Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and founder of the Tharwa Foundation.
© 2012, Ammar Abdulhamid. All rights reserved.