Pratte: How should Canada respond to the rising violence in Syria?
Help the Syrian people
External Affairs minister John Baird is right to put the emphasis on preventing a humanitarian crisis in Syria and to reject the possibility of a military intervention. We have learned – or should have – that even in cases where a regime seems on the verge of collapsing, armed intervention is a costly and risky adventure. President Bashar al-Assad’s government seems much stronger than Gaddafi’s. The Syrian opposition is even less coherent than the movement that toppled the colonel’s dictatorship. The human costs of an armed intervention, even if only an air campaign, would probably be huge. And the impacts on the region’s geopolitics are both unpredictable and worrisome.
Therefore, all Canada can do is denounce the regime’s attacks against civilians, impose economic and political sanctions along with the international community and support the UN and the Arab League’s diplomatic efforts. These efforts should, as a priority, aim to open humanitarian corridors so that the suffering people in bombarded cities can be fed and receive medical attention.