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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

ANSWER Coalition lacks awareness on Syria

We are republishing this from the Daily Orange as a letter to the editor. Originally published September 4, 2013 at 1:30 am :

To my dismay, I came across the post by Derek Ford, representing the ANSWER Coalition, in which he made an unlettered argument against the United States involvement in Syria.

It misleadingly began with the claim that the U.S. had been “openly seeking to overthrow” the despotic regime in Syria. Anyone with even a mild understanding of the developments in Syria knows that the U.S. government has consistently delayed arming the rebels in any serious manner, only recently determining to offer some military aid.

Of course, the already prevalent Russian and Iranian intervention for Assad, both militarily and diplomatically, goes unmentioned. As does the Hezbollah militia, which openly admit they are fighting on the ground with Assad’s forces.

Derek goes on to discuss a chemical attack in May, again neglecting the more recent one in which 1,400 people were killed by Assad, saying the United Nations found evidence of rebels using chemical weapons. False. Carla Del Ponte, a lady who, coincidentally, has been investigated for tampering with evidence and bribing witnesses, made the claim. The U.N. immediately issued a statement following Del Ponte’s remarks to clarify that they had no conclusive evidence as to who was at fault.

I don’t know how many members of the ANSWER Coalition speak Arabic, have been to the Middle East, or know of its vastly intricate political landscape. But it would appear from their vulgar posturing that, at the least, they are deeply uninformed. I recently returned from Beirut, where I spent time with Syrian refugees. Some indicated they wanted the U.S. to get involved and some indicated that they didn’t. What was clear, however, was that most of them had faced profound suffering, either directly or indirectly, at the hands of Assad’s brutal campaign.

It should be noted how disrespectful it is when ANWER drapes a banner on the Syracuse campus in “solidarity with the Syrian Arab Republic,” in essence asking that Syracuse students defend a tyrant in his battle to remain in power. For these groups, the struggle of a people for freedom is reduced to nothing more than a “U.S. conspiracy” as I’ve recently written about.

I only urge that when you come across these groups on campus, with their impassioned choruses and catchy slogans, that you take a leaflet from them, return home and research their flimsy claims. The flimsiest of which being that they “stand with the Syrian people.”

Talal Alyan,
Alumnus Class of 2013

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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