Syria: No quick solution in sight

Amber Porter

Unsurprisingly, the situation in Syria has only gotten worse since last week. Here’s a little refresher on the situation before this week: a civil uprising began in 2011 to overthrow the government, President Bashar al-Assad branded them terrorists and they have since been at war, the United Nations estimates there are over 100,000 causalities, and now there are reports of chemical gas attacks. The United States has avoided the situation and until now made no decision on whether we would intervene.

On Friday, President Obama made an almost concrete decision. He drafted and presented a resolution to Congress that would authorize military intervention in Syria. First, this is the only time Obama has come to Congress for military authorization, even though our resources were used in Libya and Yemen during their uprisings. Second, pushing the authorization onto Congress gives Obama a scapegoat if they vote it down and no action takes place, or if military action doesn’t work out. Third, President Assad now has time to prepare for oncoming action because a congressional vote cannot occur for another week due to Congress’s month-long recess.

The proposed plan is that no boots would be on the ground, we would only use air strikes, and there would be a defined period to accomplish the goal. If Congress approves this plan, a lot could go wrong. The worst possible outcome is that Russia, China and Syria could form an alliance against U.S. intervention into a sovereign state, thereby initiating World War III. Conversely, Congress could deny intervention and President Obama would abide and let Syria work it out. However, President Obama needs to realize there is no such thing as a fast military operation. If we utilize some of our resources, we will want to invest more until the fight is finished.

Personally, I believe that by the time the vote takes place a lot more information will be available. The U.N. fact-finding mission for chemical weapon use recently returned and we should have the results soon. If we wait for those results and the U.S. presents its intelligence to the United Nations Security Council, it is more likely U.S. forces could collaborate with U.N. forces. As an U.N. force, Russia and China could not attack us under the premise that we are violating international law, thus preventing the worst scenario. Either way, there is no quick solution in sight.