Radwan Ziadeh: Have We Learned Nothing From the Nineties? Syria is the Balkans All Over Again





Radwan Ziadeh is a spokesperson for the Syrian National Council and executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington.

As the international community continues to debate high-minded principles of national sovereignty, Syria continues its downward spiral into unmitigated chaos. The bitter truth is that the longer this situation continues, the deeper the scars will be once the nation has been freed of Bashar Al-Assad. Increasingly, crimes against humanity are being committed by both sides, as the Free Syria Army struggles to incorporate and maintain control over its armed rebel brigades.

But as harrowing as the details of the current situation are, the basic principles at stake are very clear. Indeed, the United States, and other countries in the West, ought to reflect on the Syrian conflict’s strong resemblance to the situation in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. That would clarify, if the events on the ground have not already, that the international community has a responsibility to intervene. More than that, it would underscore that the main source of regret, years from now, will be that it delayed so long in doing so.

The most obvious, and sobering, comparison that presents itself is between Bashar Al Assad and former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Both are guilty, of course, of wide-scale crimes against humanity. Indeed, the military strategies of these two dictators also bear strong resemblances to one another. Assad’s siege of Homs clearly recalls Milosevic’s bombardment of Sarajevo.

But these two men also shared a similarly cynical political sensibility...



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