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From Opposing Viewpoints, I found a decisive article titled “Don’t Arm Syria’s Rebels” about the civil war going on in Syria, and how the United States should consider responding. It was written this year by Gary Kamiya, co-founder of Salon. The Syrian civil war has been going on since 2011 after the Syrian government responded to protests with military force. These events have since grabbed the attention of nations across the world, as well as news-conscious Americans.
And since a few weeks ago, Russia has begun using airstrikes to smash ISIS groups (Akkoc), the growing militant Islamic state which has been in control of parts of Syria since August of 2014 (BBC). One of the many choices the United States has to make is whether or not to arm Syrian rebels against Assad, but this is a rather obvious choice. As Gary Kamiya says, “the worst thing that America and the rest of the world could do is to arm the opposition (Syrian rebels]” due to the severe negative consequences that would come with such a choice.
In the timespan of 4 years, the Syrian government has come under scrutiny for its use of force, and possibly chemical weapons, in order to deal with the so-called opposition. As of now, America is not the only country to get involved, as the Syrian war has caught the world’s attention. ISIS groups have also taken control of parts of Syria, as well as Iraq (BBC). If America wants to fight ISIS, then it looks like we might have to get involved with Syria, maybe more involved than just arming rebels.
But as some may believe, getting involved is not that simple. First off, it seems that the Syrian civil war is posed to go on for quite a long time due to Assad’s “huge army” and “sufficient domestic support” (Kamiya) from Moscow. It’s not like sending the opposition a few guns would be the little push they need to end the war. Arming the Syrian rebels would “make the civil war much bloodier and its outcome even more chaotic and dangerous” (Kamiya). There is also a misconception that the majority of Syrian civilians are against President Assad’s regime, thus sending weapons to those against the regime would end the war faster; however, the Syrian population is very divided on the issue because of the array of religious sects existing in contemporary Syria (BBC). For Kamiya, it seems “we have no choice but to watch tragedy unfold, because anything we do will create an even bigger tragedy” (Kamiya).
Let’s analyze the situation and think back to the past for a minute. There are an abundance of different groups currently fighting against Assad’s regime. We cannot trust all of them; we shouldn’t arm groups that could turn on the United States in the future. The last time the United States armed the mujahedeen to fight the Soviet Union, some of them ended up using those weapons against us. This could very well happen again. And now, one of the main rebel groups establishing control over parts of Syria is ISIS, and we definitely do not want weapons falling into their hands. Arming the rebels is far too dangerous. More problems have even arisen in the last few weeks due to the recent Russian airstrikes possibly targeting “US-backed Syrian rebels” (Akkoc), according to an article from The Telegraph by Raziye Akkoc. And why are we against the Assad regime in the first place? Information that the regime violated the Chemical Weapons Convention is scant-at best. Bringing down the Assad regime wouldn’t create stability either. It would just create another Iraq.
So like Kamiya says, I guess we’ve got to let this whole situation unfold on its own. This might be difficult for a lot of people to accept. It’s in our “national DNA” (Kamiya) to try and jump in and act as a force for good. Some voters (and even presidential candidates) might believe sending troops to Syria would be promising. However, the last time we sent troops to the Middle East after 9/11, “hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, thousands of dead American and coalition troops and a wrecked country later, everything did not turn out OK.” (Kamiya) Not to mention how much sending troops, or even sending arms, would complicate relations with Russia. I say, let Russia handle it. I don’t know if I agree with Kamiya’s point that America needs to “grow up” (Kamiya), like this issue is a matter of revenge or misinformation. America just needs to stop playing the vigilante hero.
Kamiya’s article is important and worth reading to anyone interested in current events or government foreign policy. He puts forward some very intriguing points toward one of the many significant debates relating to the war in Syria. Right now, the Syrian civil war is constantly in the news and is affecting many countries in the world today. It also affects other issues such as ISIS and immigration policy (due to the millions of refugees)—all of which are common topics among candidates in upcoming elections. What makes this article is so meaningful is how Kamiya not only makes a really strong argument for choosing passive stance on the Syrian war, with concessions and refutations to counter-arguments, he also gives background and information on the Middle East to people who may not know a lot about this topic. It’s a very good insight into the awful situation. In closing, Syria is a tragedy. The American government has to be cautious with Syria. America often sees itself as the force for good in the world, but are we? I think our best reaction could be in terms of accommodating the now millions of refugees; our best reaction is not to arm the rebels. Like I said, let those who should handle it: handle it. Before making a choice that has unintended consequences, let’s proceed with caution on issues dealing with the Middle East—we don’t have a great track record.
I think my article works well in that it establishes a good reason to discuss the topic of the Syrian civil war, and proves its importance. I tried to use a good variety of sentence types to make it more fluid and readable. As far as I know, I did a well in terms of conventions. In terms of content, I think used sufficient evidence from Kamiya’s article, and did well mirroring his strong appeals to logos to argue on the side of my thesis. Really, I think there are pretty good appeals to both ethos and pathos as well. Finally, my concessions and refutations are work well, and I made sure to add enough of them to strengthen my argument to the fullest. To improve, I would have liked to restructure a lot of the paper. Meaning, I would have liked to reorganize the individual paragraphs in more of a claim-evidence-commentary format. I also think a small portion of some of my commentary isn’t really needed in some of the body paragraphs. I could have maybe done a better job introducing the topic. Overall I’m not dissatisfied with much, other than the structure and order of some of my paragraphs because they don’t flow as well as they could. One last weakness I would improve on would be adding more statistical evidence because I feel that the majority of my appeals to logos are claims.
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