Yes, US should bomb the Syrian regime

Yes, US should bomb the Syrian regime

Every single day, the Syrian tyranny is slaughtering dozens of innocent citizens. In the city of Homs, which was bombed and occupied by the soldiers and gangs of the regime, a total massacre was committed against men, including young boys.

According to eyewitnesses, soldiers even slit the throats of 12-year-olds. Add this to the thousands of other horrific episodes, which include not just slaughter but torture of the most evil kind, such as raping boys in front of their fathers. 

If nothing is done to stop the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his fellow thugs, this slaughter, which has already claimed 7,500 lives, will go on an on. For these monsters have enough friends outside – such as Iran, Russia and China – to keep on killing.

But what should be done? Countries like Turkey have tried and exhausted all diplomatic efforts to persuade the regime to stop killing its own people. Condemnations and sanctions have proven ineffective. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition, including the heroic Free Syrian Army, has proven brave enough to keep on resisting.

So, if the military situation does not change, the slaughter will go on. As Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu put it well, Syria will be like the former Yugoslavia, in which a state army (then the Serbian one) will butcher whole populations (then Bosnians and Kosovars.)

So, something certainly should be done to change the military situation. And there are two ways of doing it.

The first is to arm the opposition. My take on this is: yes, by all means. The opposition has already been supplied some light weapons by various countries, but they certainly should be given more, such as anti-tank arms.

But this is not going to solve the problem. It will probably turn the state massacre into civil war, with more and more people dying, this time on both sides.

That is why we need the second way as well: Air strikes against the regime, and especially its military installments, including the units that besiege cities like Homs – just like the air strikes against the forces of Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia or the forces on Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.

I know that Syria is more complicated than Libya, as the country is not divided clearly between “government” and “rebels.” Yet still, pinpoint bombings against the military and intelligence backbone of the regime should be possible.

As a Turk, I would love Turkey to play a role here, and take military action against the Syrian regime in order to save the Syrian people. But that is not a realistic option. The very fact that we are neighbors forces Turkey to be cautious: We have to avoid a conflict that will hurt us.

But there is another country, which is far enough away to be safe, and powerful enough to act: the United States.

Unfortunately, so far, the United States has shied away from this option. However, Senator John McCain took the bold step the other day, saying, explicitly, “The United States should bomb Syria.” The only realistic way to stop al-Assad’s forces, he said, was with foreign airpower, and the U.S. was the only county who could do that. The American air force should “suppress enemy air defenses in at least part of the country,” he added, with the aim of creating “safe havens” where “opposition forces can organize and plan their political and military activities against al-Assad.”

Senator McCain is right, and I support him on this issue. Those who would tell us why he is wrong should do something other than ranting about “American imperialism,” for we are not speaking about an occupation here. And they should tell us whether they have any better idea about how to end the slaughter in Syria. 

For all of Mustafa Akyol’s works, including his recent book, ‘Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty,’ visit his blog, On Twitter, follow him at @AkyolinEnglish.