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Lessons learnt

Jan 03,2019 - Last updated at Jan 03,2019

The full implications of US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out troops from Syria will become crystal clear after the pullout actually materialises, and after it becomes crystal clear what Syria will look like under the rest of the players on the scene.

This will take time.

What is apparent so far, however, are the lessons learnt from America’s advent and active presence in Syria over four years ago, and its abrupt exit in a few months.

The lessons are many, but here are some important ones.

The first is what many of us have known and said for a long time: that military intervention does not solve conflicts but prolongs them, that it causes a lot of damage to the country in question and to the suffering of its civilians.

Just as the US-led “war on terror”, launched against the Saddam regime in 2003, ended up escalating and nourishing terror, rather than eliminating it, in Iraq, its war against terror and “oppression” in Syria resulted in adverse effects.

The second is that invasion of sovereign states is a very bad idea. UN member states should not be attacked by other member states. Just as rules within individual countries are set up to maintain safety, stability and law and order, rules governing relations among human nations should also be respected.

As a matter of fact, invasion of sovereign states is, and should be, a taboo and a red line. No country, big or small, and no groups of countries, should be allowed to violate the security and stability of other states, no matter what the pretexts are.

In all such cases, the civilians always bear the brunt of such violation.

The third is that, unlike what the Trump administration thinks, the US has not gained any victory over Daesh or any other party. As in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Vietnam before them, the US “intervenes” and then leaves scarred, literally and metaphorically.

The metaphoric damage, to America’s image, is far more serious and far-reaching.

The fourth is that those who count on foreign powers to aid, protect and achieve their objectives will ultimately be disappointed, as those powers essentially cater to their own objectives and needs and, when push comes to shove, they simply withdraw and leave their “allies” in the lurch.

Nothing is as sacred, correct and viable as honest dialogue, wise diplomacy and peaceful resolution of difference.

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