Sunday, May 12, 2013 | Categories: Episodes
Syrian fighter (AP)
Kelowna, British Columbia
First, Canada can teach itself about "the principles of democracy" - 99.99% of Canadians do not know even one principle of democracy.Second, the Canadian government can help others to learn "the principles of demcracy
Let's talk about chemical weapons for a moment. Assad has the fourth largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world. Assad has been using these weapons slowly, in small amounts, desensitizing the world to this criminal and internationally prohibited act. The potential catastrophe is terrifying. When Assad nears his end, which is arguably soon, he will have nothing to lose and will likely use the rest of these chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. The world will be put to shame and history will not speak well of those who stood by and allowed this happen
I think Canada can get involved with humanitarian assistance to both Lebanon and Turkey. Military intervention is much more complicated but it is clear Assad must be displaced. As you current caller of Syrian descent states, Assad, by proxy has been involved in most of the terrorist episodes by way of Iran, and Hezbollah.
However, unless Turkey, Europe, and the Middle Eastern countries are prepared to offer up their air forces and ships for a blockade and no fly zone, Canada cannot get involved without an international effort. Add to this that Russia and China will complicate things for any combined effort.
A no fly zone would be different than Libya, as the Libyan mission was essentially a regime change mission. I know this as I was involved and have also been deployed previously in the Middle East while in the CF.
he young man who you were able to re-connect with is quite correct, any extremist Islamist element would not be tolerated by the vast majority of Syrians. If fact some of the rebel leaders have indicated they are aware they will likely have to fight forieign Islamist groups now in Syria.
Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba
This is a war between men on one side and men on the other side. Would it be time to reach out to the women of Syria ? Drop food parcels, drop messages of women to women, drop balls for children to play, drop balloons, drop pictures and books, drop whatever but no weapons. It is worth a try; it would do no harm.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada has no business, militarly, in Syria. Humanitarian aid is the only action we should be contemplating. This is a civil war and we have no right or responsibility to interfere.
If the Americans want to make the same mistakes they made in Iraq, Egypt and Libya I will be disappointed, but that's on them. Canada should not be compounding the error by getting involved militarily.
Canada and the US routinely prop up murderous dictators when it suits them It was only a few short years ago that Canada collaborated with the US to have Maher Arar sent to Syria to be tortured. We obviously knew then that the Syrian government was corrupt. That would and should have the opportunity for Canada to condemn the corruption. To condemn the Syrian government at this late date is too little too late. It would rightly be seen as hypocritical. We no longer have the moral authority to do so
Canada -and all western powers - face the challenge of meeting a moral imperative. To fail to provide effective humanitarian relief is unacceptable. The greatest mistake now would be to let the voice of the common man be silenced. Is military intervention unavoidable at the red line? Is now that time? Perhaps - but the people must come first. Gain their trust and there will be no radical regime when the dust settles.
I don't think we should ignore this conflict. We should help. But is it only the old people who have noticed that going into another country with tanks and bombs does not get the long term peace we want. We should quickly hire a task force of people knowledgeable in peace studies. Royal Roads college for instance has an entire faculty in peace studies. Get the task force to study the situation and come up with some actions that Canada can take that will really work. These would include appropriate humanitarian foreign aid, non violent conflict resolution processes, adherence to international law and international co-operation and collaboration. Let's help, but not do something that will wast lives and resources and not give any permanent peace.
Victoria, British Columbia
his is clearly a propaganda war. We don't know who is using the "chemical weapons", and could easily end up arming a mujahedeen-type outfit that will haunt us for decades.I am also getting increasingly puzzled by even some of the "established facts". For example, I do not understand why a "pressured" Syrian regime (needing all the arms that they can get) would be sending arms to Hezbollah in another country - I really hope that one of the experts on the program can ratioinalise this.
I'm a Syrian Canadian based in toronto. Watching his country being burned down and people torn apart remotely. Deceived by the expected west's reaction. After turning a blind eye on the countless massacres committed by the ruthless regime. Few demands, ask Canada to facilitate family re-unification and acceleration of processing of immigration cases for Syrians. Provide more medical and humanitarian support via well-known NGO's who are doing a great role in saving human lives. Exercise extra political pressure to put an end of the regime and work on promoting the national coalition of the Syrian Opposition Forces. Support the Syrian people in liberated areas which constitutes over 60% of the country by providing education, civil support, health-care, rebuilding, and economic aid. There are over a tens of Syrian organizations which were founded in North America just for the Syrian cause working directly with people on the ground.
Canada should absolutely not "intervene" in Syria, nor should it provide arms or intelligence to rebel forces. The rebels have been committing many acts of brutality themselves, and several of these groups are very hostile to the West. Many people in Syria still strongly support Assad. War or military aid will not bring peace to the country, it will merely allow more violence to take place and will further threaten a much wider, regional war.
I am currently listening to your episode on Syria, and am having a lot of difficulty with the cynicism with which most callers are treating this question. Two years of abject violence seems to be of no consequence to people. I am also disappointed in the lack of creativity people are bringing to the table.
The current regime is a murderous one. And it would not survive without the support of Russia. Why is this not being discussed? A completely non-violent form of intervention might be for Canada to refuse to participate in the Socchi Olympic Games next winter. Russia no longer deserves the honour to host the world. It is enabling the Assad regime, and Russia should pay a price for that.
There are non-military ways to bring an end to Assad's ruthless dictatorship We should be concentrating on alienating his international supporters, namely Iran and Russia. A threat to boycott the Socchi Games could possibly put and end to this insanity. Putin would not want that kind of embarrassment, and might be convinced to stop supporting Syria's current regime.
Are there any other non-violent ideas out there? Doing nothing to help out should not be an option.
First of all, Canada needs to pay for the refugees we have helped to create! Syria is only the latest Arab/North African country that the West is out to destroy -- and Canada is helping in spades, with all the political parties contributing to this illegal and immoral war against the whole Syrian nation. The next country awaiting this "treatment" is Iran, with Iraq and Libya (a country that had the highest living standard in all of Africa!) having been effectively destroyed and dismantled, and their leaders assassinated by the West.
Secondly, we need to focus on the outrageously biased Western media coverage -- our own included -- from the region, which consists mainly of interviewing "rebels," whoever they are, and broadcasting their stories and images, with tiny cautions affixed that they are "unconfirmed." Some of these images are so "unconfirmed" that they turn out to be photographs of battles elsewhere, such as the famous instance of a photograph on BBC of a small boy walking by white clad bodies, this supposedly after a "massacre" in Syria, but which turned out to be a photo from a different time and a different place, Iraq! (It took the photographer to recognize this recycling of his picture, to expose this "story," forcing BBC to apologize.) As it stands, anybody can say anything about the Syrian government without it being challenged, and in that way Canadians are being totally misled, as they have been about other wars of aggression we participated in, such as the bombing of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and most recently Libya.
The Syrians are in the midst of a civil war; it's a typical scenario of tin-pot dictator oppressing people, killing their citizens, in an attempt to cling to power. A people who have never known democracy and mix politics with religion fighting to win their freedom (to who or what no one knows). The loss of life is a tragedy. As usual the big international players (US, China Russia) are in there like stink - at least with their opinions as to what to do and who should do it/not do it?And the UN, talking as usual. Otherwise the day-to-day, blow-by-blow news coverage by our national if-it-bleeds-it-leads network comes across as if they have X number of minutes to fill and have nothing else to talk about. News junkies or whatever, nobody can be that interested in Syria. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about the whole mess. It will eventually resolve itself, until then, play some music, find something Canadian to yak about and report on the outcome when it happens.
Sackville, Nova Scotia
Prevent the USA from getting involved. The USA debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya speak for themselves. 150,000 died in Iraq, 3000 died in 9/11. Bush and Blair should be shackled in Guantanamo. Canada has Syrians here but that does not mean we are responsible for a terrible Middle Eastern dictatorship. When we are neglecting our own citizens in Canada?
Canada should shout out injustices. We could help make the abuses of dictatorships known. We have ignored them in the past to protect our business and diplomatic interests. Earlier, we could have helped more vigorously to expose the abuses of the Syrian dictatorship. We could have shouted louder about the killing in Tibet, the millions killed in Africa, the sexual abuse of children in India, the murder of aboriginals in South America, the suffering of the poor in the USA, the background of the drug killings in Mexico, but we didn't bother to take the trouble. Let us deal with serious matters earlier...we could have clamped down on Germany in the 30's and saved tens of millions, we slept then had to suffer our inertia later.
If Canada has energy to spare let us forget about intervention in Syria! Let us spend upon our own seriously neglected children, especially our aboriginals. With tens of thousands needing soup kitchens why would we go to war in a distant land that has nothing to do with us? Compassion at home before war in a distant land where intuitions and assumptions and beliefs about what makes a community are basically different , we cannot change another culture. Who do we think we are anyway?
Victoria, British Columbia
There will be no negotiated settlement. And despite the Syrian people majority desire for peace and democracy, the armed radical and other sectarian groups have no such beliefs and will attempt to impose their will. These are the realities of the region and we should not kid ourselves.
We should continue humanitarian aid. Optionally, we should impose and/or support a no fly zone. If we are to arm the rebels - assuming we know who the good ones are - it should be limited up to anti-tank weapons. As learned painfully in the last decade, we must not provide anti-aircraft or powerful artillery that will then disappear only to reappear in use against us.
I think it is naive to imagine that killing more people will save lives in Syria.If there is intervention it has to be something to starve the materials of war.
Keep out of it, foreign intervention always has later negative impacts -- whether against the intervenors or the aided 'winners' Concerning the actual situation in Syrian cities, it is the 'rebels' that choose to fight in the populated areas, so any govt response has to be where they are. One thing, curiously, that i continue to find uninvestigated (or commented upon) is WHO, no doubt outside Syria, grossly miscalculated the 'Arab spring' wave and gave the go-ahead for the uprising in Syria. They are as much responsible for the deaths on both sides as is the very repressive Syrian government dictatorship.