Syrien: Acht Jahre, die die Welt veränderten
Acht Jahre dauert der Bürgerkrieg in Syrien inzwischen und in diesen acht Jahren hat sich, schreibt Kareem Shaheen, nicht nur Syrien, sondern auch der Westen sehr und zwar nicht zum Bessseren verändert:
The tragedies are too numerous to count and, outside Syria, this war has undermined the international system in a way that will likely be felt for decades.
The savagery of the conflict was on full display before the world, dutifully recorded by rescue workers, citizen journalists and those who braved the danger to report from the frontlines.
The international community’s failures on Syria are clear for all to see. The UN Security Council has remained deadlocked throughout the conflict, prevented from acting despite the clear threat to international peace and security. It has faced repeated vetoes from Russia and, to a lesser extent, China, even on such basic issues as assigning blame for chemical weapons attacks or guaranteeing the delivery of humanitarian aid.
The war has eroded many of the norms previously held sacrosanct by the global community. Despite an international effort to remove the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal, toxic sarin gas and chlorine were repeatedly used against innocent civilians. The regime got away with nothing but a slap on the wrist after violating Barack Obama’s "red line".
The savagery of the conflict was on full display before the world, dutifully recorded by rescue workers, citizen journalists and those who braved the danger to report from the frontlines. The bombing of hospitals became routine, as well as so-called “double-tap” strikes, in which the regime and its Russian ally would bomb a site and then do so again when paramedics arrived. Siege warfare that led to malnutrition and starvation was repeatedly deployed by the regime. Increasingly, it seemed that laws of war that had been established for a century and a half were nothing more than dust in the wind.
Bombing hospitals, dumping toxic gas on civilians and starving people to death were no longer out of the ordinary.
Optimists could make the point that this new normal was attributable to the erosion of morality that takes hold in a prolonged civil war. But it was exemplified beyond the borders of Syria, particularly in the collapse of decency that went hand in hand with the wave of refugees fleeing the region.
The rise of anti-immigrant parties throughout Europe was just one component of that collapse. To protect their borders from people fleeing both the Assad regime and ISIS, European powers negotiated a deal that essentially made Turkey its border police force, despite their own widespread criticisms of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s human rights record.
In lawless Libya and a Sudan governed by an indicted war criminal, the EU has continued to fund local authorities, empowering them to halt the flow of migrants, as well as turning back ships bound for the Italian coast – a process that has led to human rights abuses including slavery and human trafficking. In 2018 alone, more than 2,100 people died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
Eight years after students scrawled “It’s your turn, doctor” – a subversive reference to Mr Al Assad's previous career as an ophthalmologist – on the walls of a school in Daraa, the peaceful uprising in Syria has morphed into something unrecognisable.
It seems that the rest of the world has, too.