(…is becoming another Humpty Dumpty case never to be put back together again)

Civil wars are anything but…civil…these have instead always been the bloodiest and most destructive of all forms of conflict throughout human history. Syria is no exception. Yet, after five years of destruction and mayhem between what can only be considered a thuggish ruling regime and a rag tag collective of forces opposed against it, the world community has yet to make any serious efforts to bring it all to a halt by intervening in any kind of meaningful ways.

What we have instead are makeshift proxy ventures by the US and Russia, and other regional power interests, each providing covert (and not so covert) support to whatever combatant elements these deem worthy of support because doing so, either coincides with their own respective agendas and motives for that region, or else, blocks the competing agendas of those supporting the other side of this conflict. It is as blatantly cynical an example of real-politic by members of the international community as it can be. In the meantime, an organized criminal enterprise calling itself ISIS has taken advantage of the resulting whirlpool of chaos to carve out a territorial niche for itself.

The resulting tsunami flood of refugees seeking any kind of safe haven from all that bloodshed and destruction means that Syria no longer exists as a viable nation-state and probably never will again…at least in its previous form. We say this because the residues of this conflict will make it almost impossible to restore it to some semblance of what it was before this conflict began. The Syrian civil war is thus becoming another Humpty Dumpty case never to be put back together again. There are several contributing reasons involved with that.

The first of these is the historical context relating to how the Syrian nation-state was established in the first place. As with a number of other countries in the region that is the genesis for many of the conflicts which eventually erupted across North Africa and the Middle East, the impetus for that going back to the end of WWI, when Britain and France, the two leading colonial powers at the time, controlled most of that part of the world. While both retained colonial controls over much of that region, it was from the rubble of the Ottoman Empire that they then cobbled together a number of so-called national entities as “protectorates”, or proxy-colonialism. Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq were all part of that quasi-colonialist structure, with its order maintained through co-opted local power elites which were one way or the other used to manage their governance, all under the over-lordship of these two colonial powers; and, in the process, submerging native culture and custom under a veneer of Western societal concepts, concepts largely at odds with the theocratic foundations of those cultures.

The problem with this structure was that it also sowed the seeds for later conflict because it forcefully melded disparate and conflicting elements together, while allowing co-opted power elites to become family controlled hierarchies over them, all competing among themselves for dominance, thereby creating inherently unstable matrices for the future. As long as the colonial overlord power remained, however, those potentials for conflict and instability were firmly kept in check. That overlord control lasted until the end of WWII after which most of it then progressively collapsed and dissipated. While some countries were able to maintain some semblance of stability and social order, successfully transitioning into viable nation-states, many did not. Among these were places such as Iraq and Syria, where competing family hierarchies ultimately came under warlord rule, such as the Husseins in Iraq, and the Assads in Syria, with both evolving into absolute and ruthless tyrannical rule, further compounding the stresses and strains of those inherent instabilities.

Those instabilities finally erupted due to the disruptive impacts of the Gulf War and the sop-called Arab Spring. This is the background of the historical context as the first factor behind what has happened in Syria.

The second factor behind what has happened in Syria has come from the Assad regime’s calculated decision to apply indiscriminate slaughter of civilian non-combatants to retain its erstwhile hold on power, and using extremely barbarous means such as gas attacks and barrel bombs to do so (which raises this question for the international community…at what point do such acts qualify as…war crimes…and… crimes against humanity?). In any event such actions by the Assad regime in this conflict have destroyed any basis for motivating its opponents to ever consider negotiating a peaceful resolution of their conflict with it. So for both it must now become a fight to the death with only one of them to be left standing amidst the wasteland of what had once been…their nation…when it eventually ends. The sad thing of course is that there is no end in sight to all that chaos and misery there, and the ripple effects of that have now spread way beyond Syria itself.

The international community should consider this a cautionary tale about how geo-political self-interest as a reason for non-intervention does not resolve conflict…and simply increases the odds of insecurity for everyone.