This article was originally published on April 17, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
If only it were so easy. The leader of a war-torn Middle Eastern country commits an atrocity; the West removes him; problem solved. At least, that’s the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to see the future in Syria. Last week, Trudeau asserted that Syrian president Bachar al-Assad must be excluded from any final peace agreement for that worn torn country. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland put it more bluntly, “Assad must go.”
The only problem is, in addition to the support that al-Assad enjoys among certain groups within Syria, Trudeau has also forgotten about Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and the many other players who have a stake in what happens in Syria. What began with a boy writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa in 2011 is a full blown global crisis today.
This article was originally published on April 10, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
Nobody would argue that the gas attack last week on the Syrian town of Khan Sheykhoun was anything but horrific and inhumane. But it’s hard to see how Trump’s recent missile strikes on an airfield of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad will do anything but aggravate an already intractable situation. Worse, the Trudeau government’s acquiescence to Trump’s belligerence weakens our own position as a country, and the checks and balances of the UN system. Some proponents of Trump’s strike argue that it will handicap al-Assad’s ability to carry out more strikes. Others argue that the strike has symbolic value, demonstrating to al-Assad and his opponents that the international community is watching, and has the will to act. But far more sustained intervention will be required before there will be any real dent in al-Assad’s military capability, as evidenced by yet another strike on Khan Sheykhun on Saturday.Read more