Earlier last month there were protests held on Capitol Hill regarding the proposed U.S. interventional bomb strikes in Syria. Days before the House vote on S.J.Res.21, on September 9th, there were actually two opposing groups of Syrian-Americans demonstrating on the Hill.
On East Front stood the anti-Assad/pro-U.S. intervention group. This group, while numbering 100 or less, formed a parade row holding banners for several hours inside the gate. A major media outlet set up a stage near the northeast corner.
On the north side across from the Russell Senate Office Building were the pro-peace/pro-Assad supporters, nearly thrice the number. They seemed to act with greater spontaneously, chanting, grouping, and regrouping in circles while waving at cars, ululating, and holding up posters.
In between, the Capital police formed a line along Constitution Avenue as a human blockade to prevent protesters from one group from intermingling with the other. It was a measure of protection considering that the larger group was louder and rowdier at times.
While the anti-U.S. intervention supporters this Examiner.com reporter spoke with claimed that the rebels are coming from outside the country, the opposing group held up patriotic posters such as "Chemical Massacre in Syria," "Assad=Hitler," and "Save the Children: Get Rid of Assad."
According to Nabeel [/Nɔ-bil'/, which means "noble" in Arabic], a representative from the anti-Assad faction and a Syrian-American engineer, the issue involves a long dictatorship, one in which there is limited freedom. Nabeel told the Examiner.com:
We don't have no freedom. The problem is, you cannot trust. We got to the point, you cannot trust your son, because he might go and tell on you [to] some Assad people.
There is indubitable evidence that the Presidency in Syria has long operated more like a kingship than a real democracy. In a country with fewer resources, dictators often resort to unfair means whether through maintaining a cult of personality or murdering those who dare to challenge the party.
Nevertheless, how could a policy of U.S. military intervention help this country which has already undergone two and a half years war, with over 115,000 killed?
According to the insurgency faction on Capitol Hill, they are not necessarily asking for war and more bloodshed. Rather, like the opposition, they want peaceful international diplomatic solutions, with strikes only as a last resort. For demonstrators like Nabeel, that involves President Assad abdicating by request of the international community. Another creative solution might involve partitioning the country along so-called strategic interests.
Because in the meantime, it is clear that Syria is only inching upwards on the list of failed states. Failed countries are ones in which access to food, healthcare, natural resources, and the means to sustain them are so severely hampered that the government is no longer in control. As the youth and civil order degenerates, so too can instability and chaos spill over national boundaries.
The violence has already placed many civilian lives in peril and trauma. According to the United Nations News Centre on September 3, 2013 in "Number of Syrian refugees tops 2 million":
More than 97 per cent of Syria’s refugees are hosted by countries in the immediate surrounding region. As of the end August, the number of Syrians registered as refugees or pending registration was 110,000 in Egypt, 168,000 in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon and 460,000 in Turkey. Over half of them are children under 17 years of age.
The refugee crisis has placed an overwhelming burden on the host countries’ infrastructures, economies and societies, and with an average of almost 5,000 Syrians fleeing into these countries every day, the need for international support has reached a critical stage.
Growing up under such circumstance can not only foster breakdowns in traditional values and order, but cause nations to buckle under fully failed state conditions with loss of even more lives and property. One example of this is when there is humanitarian blackmailing by the Assad government, insurgent criminals, or any other strategic group, even U.N. Aid workers themselves.
When asked about his relatives and whether they were sponsored to relocate to the United States, Nabil could only reply:
There's a shooting every day. I have my family there, I have my mother, and sister, and brother. I lost my sister, and I lost my brother...
While recently, more attention is being paid to the need for aid and the exodus of refugees to other countries, including the United States, the extent of U.S. aid--fairly generous at $1.4 billion dollars--would be balanced if there were genuine peaceful diplomatic solutions aside from the mundane strategic energy fixation.