Essay on ISIS From the Point of View of Syria

Published: 2021-08-03
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Sewanee University of the South
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Syria has been in civil war for around six years now. Different groups are involved in the struggle for power and governance in this oil-rich Mediterranean country. These include the Syrian soldiers allied to President Bashar al-Assad, rebel fighters who are countrymen opposing Bashar's power, and the Islamic state, a terrorist group that took advantage of the civil rife to spread their tentacles from neighboring Iraq. At first, the governments biggest headache was their opposition rebel group; however, with ISIS coming into the picture and taking over most of the countrys eastern cities, use of force has seen more than 150,000 civilians die.

How It All Started: ISIS Establishment in Syria

In 2011, a group of local people from the city of Deraa in Syria started a protest against the government for arresting and torturing 15 school children who had been accused of conspiring against the state. The claim was that they had written anti-government writings and graffiti on a wall. These peaceful protests called for democracy, freedom of the people, and release of the children. Cynthia P. Schneider, an American diplomat, once said that "the power of protest depends not on how many turn up, but also on what legislative, judicial, and civil society institutions exist enact the will of those marching in the streets," but this was not the case in Syria.

In March 2011, government troops opened fire on peaceful protesters killing at least four people and injuring scores others. Later, on the same day, they shot and killed another person at a funeral of one of their victims. The people had had enough, and so unrest broke out in almost all the cities in the country. People demanded the stepping down of the president which he refused to do. As such, fighting broke out between the supporters of Bashar al-Assad and those against the government. By July 2012, what started as peaceful demonstrations became civil war according to a report by the International Red Cross. There was one leading group fighting for the president to resign calling itself the opposition.

It was this unrest in Syria that attracted the group Islamic State, a hate child of the US and Al Qaeda war in Iraq (Lister and Charles 119). They crossed the borders and joined the struggle in 2011 to fight against the government troops. They took advantage of the chaos to gain power and land mostly in the Eastern regions of Syria. Soon, they had major cities under their clutches pushing both the opposition rebels and Assads forces away. Those who feel the pinch the most are the innocent civilians who either get killed or become refugees in Europe and other states.

Use of Chemical Weapons

Someone got desperate, and in August 2013, chemical weapons were used in Syria. According to the international law, countries are banned from using chemical weapons in war. Both the rebels and the Syrian government denied using these weapons of mass destruction.

Responsibility of a State for Internationally Wrongful Acts

Basically, the question as to whether humanitarian intervention concerning non-international armed conflicts could be used in the case of Syria was raised in the Chatham House meeting. According to the UK government, humanitarian intervention is legally justifiable if: theres extreme humanitarian distress and evidence of it thus necessitating immediate and urgent relief, there's apparently no practicable alternative but the use of force to save lives and when one uses force, it must be proportionate to the aim of relief that's the need for humanitarian acts and strictly limited in scope and time. This is to help get people back to their lives in the shortest time possible (Chesterman and Simon 13)

In Syrias case, these conditions were met with the use of chemical weapons on 21st August 2013 in eastern Damascus. The US with support from the UK, therefore, carried out missile attacks on Syria even though Russia that supports the Syrian government is against.

Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Its the responsibility of every state to protect their people. Where this is not taking place, the international community has the mandate to step in and take collective measures per chapter VII of the UN Charter.

What Happens when UN Peacekeepers Commit Wrongful Acts

There has been a significant increase in the number of claims for compensation because of damages inflicted on nations by contingents employed to provide multinational peace. Many are left to wonder what next and what to do when UN peacekeeping commits wrongful acts. Should it be blamed on the troop-contributing nation or both the UN and the said state? We take a look back at history in Srebrenica where a massacre took place under the watchful eyes of Dutch peacekeeping troops. In 1995, 300 Muslim men were expelled from a Dutch U.N. base and were all killed by Bosnian Serb forces who had overrun the area (Nizich and Ivana 84). Over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered during this period in July 1995 which accounts for the worst mass killing since world war two on European soil.

The context of attribution is a complex one. When some state that blame should be on UN for the whole operation is under their jurisdiction, others argue that there is attribution of conduct and that of responsibility. Basically, the UN agrees that forces placed under them to form a peacekeeping force automatically become subsidiary organs of UN. They enjoy all immunity of the UN. However, these national contingents dont cease to be or act as organs of their respective states. As such, these units will have to answer for their actions even though the attribution question concerning agents placed at UN disposal cannot be ruled out.

UN can prevent such a calamity as the one that took place in Srebrenica by improving their control and accountability of all its peacekeeping operations (United Nations website). This can best be achieved by strengthening their internal controls and oversight, using their ethics office to increase transparency and integrity by implementing financial disclosure programs, guidelines for the corporation, and a framework to address conduct issues and accountability being taken entirely by all top secretariat, member states, and all other relevant bodies.

Trying to Overcome the Challenges in Syria

The government is currently doing all it can to bring everything under control. Now, most of the cities under the rule of IS have been taken back by government troops such as Deir alZour, which is the largest eastern city in Syria. This was a significant stronghold of IS which means the government has dealt a vital blow to the enemy. We welcome any and all countries with a similar dream of eradicating terrorism in this fight. Also, Syria accepted UN envoys to try and negotiate a peace deal between Bashar led government and the rebel opposition. No agreement has been struck as of yet. The state is ready for a truce if the rebels will surrender their arms to our troops. Finally, we have taken measures to destroy all chemical weapons in our facilities and ask that UN help control any and all presence of such weapons in the rebel camps.

Works Cited

Chesterman, Simon. Just War or Just Peace?: Humanitarian Intervention and International Law. Oxford monographs in international law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.

Lister, Charles R. The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency. , 2016. Print.

Nizich, Ivana. War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1992. Print.

Strengthening The UN." N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Nov. 2017.

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