Will Shira | Horrifyingly Hilarious
Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 01:12
Animals move, spread or flee when times get tough. Exodus is a part of every human history or any animal migration pattern. In Syria, times are tough. Approximately 40,000 people are reported dead. Hundreds of thousands have fled across borders to neighboring countries. Two and a half million people are internally displaced within the borders of Syria. Intelligence has been very muddled and filled with uncertainty. I’m doubtful that the majority of the government has any clearer a view of the situation than we do — though that is not to say that we have the same amount of information. But think of it like this: How much does the resolution of a screen matter for a video of a bomb exploding? It takes a true expert to know what’s going on in these situations, regardless of the crispness of the image. And the bombs are certainly exploding. Nine students and one teacher were killed in a bomb blast this past week. What we all know is that there is a war going on, and its consequences are growing.
Turkey, Syria’s neighbor to the north, has become a true power player internationally. It is an ancient land link between Europe and the Middle East. Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, was once Constantinople, where the Roman elite fled to continue their Eastern empire after the collapse of the famous metropolis Rome. The U.S. recognized Turkey’s geographic importance when it placed nuclear missiles there during the Cold War to scare the crap out of the Soviets. This inadvertently helped cause the Cuban Missile crisis. After a bit of backroom dealing with Robert Kennedy, the Soviets publicly removed the missiles from Cuba, and we secretly removed the missiles from Turkey. Cheers all around. Crisis averted. But now missiles are back in Turkey — missiles to shoot down chemical weapons.
Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, Turkey’s international influence and economy have blossomed. It is a member of NATO and the G20 states and is currently petitioning for entrance into the European Union. The process has not gone smoothly. So I believe the Turkish government, in their obsession to access the community of the EU, thinks it must prove its country “useful” to the European powers so that it can join what I affectionately refer to as the Old Colonizers’ Club. I think Turkey is making its move in its dealings with Syria. The EU has officially entirely pulled out of Syria as of Tuesday. The problem is literally spilling over into Turkey’s borders. Its hand is almost forced.
According to intelligence reports, the Syrian government has begun to mix the two components necessary to make Sarin gas, something that Japan may remember from the tragic 1995 terrorist subway attacks by Aum Shinrikyo. Whether they plan to use these weapons of mass destruction in their own nation or abroad is unknown. But Turkey has been given Patriot Missiles to shoot any chemical weapon down. What that means with a chemical weapon could be dangerous. The international community has stated that such a weapon would be “entirely unacceptable” and would be met with swift vengeance. While Egyptian President Morsi is quite literally running from an angry mob after he made himself a pharaoh, the Israeli delegation turns its focus to pressure Palestine, and world leaders focus on how to police the Internet, it all falls to Turkey to deal with a Syria problem that the nations who are ignoring it helped create.
Wish the Turks luck. Work for peace.
Will Shira is a senior majoring in peace and justice studies. He can be reached at William.Shira@tufts.edu.