It's been two years since the start of the Syrian uprising. Fearing a long, drawn-out war, European nations are debating whether to lift an EU arms embargo for the Syrian opposition. Opinion is split on whether arming the opposition will help stop the violence or further aggravate the conflict.
It is worth reflecting that we are two years into this dreadful conflict and I think that we have to be frank that what the international community has done so far, of course, it has helped in terms of humanitarian assistance but it hasn't overall worked in terms of stopping this conflict and achieving transition in Syria.
British Prime Minister David Cameron suggests something new needs to be done to solve the Syrian conflict. Britain and France advocate arming the opposition movement -- an idea the European Union has so far rejected. But debate continues, and later this week EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss lifting the arms embargo.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is modifying its approach to Syria by announcing on Friday that Americans can now send money to groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad. However, Washington continues to provide only non-lethal support -- such as training -- to the Free Syrian Army.
Still, some say arming the rebels is the only way to bring peace to Syria, where 70,000 people have died since fighting broke out two years ago. We spoke to two people with opposite opinions on the issue.
Bessma Momani - Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation
In Bessma Momani
's view, arming the Syrian opposition is essential to preventing further deaths and destabilization in the region. Momani, who also teaches at the University of Waterloo
, argued that such a move would level the playing field with the Assad regime.Paul Londrigan - Adjuct Professor of Political Science, Pace University
Paul Londrigan feels differently. The Pace University
professor spoke to us about how the West should be weary of arming the Syrian opposition. He pointed to instances in history where similar moves have made conflicts worse.
This segment was produced by The Current's
Jessica deMello, Lara O'Brien and Hassan Santur.
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always write to us at PO Box 500, Station A, Toronto, M5W 1E6.Other segments on today's show:
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