Richard Falk: A Brief Further Comment on Syria

Richard Falk, July 25, 2012

Some of the sharpest critics of my posts contend that I focus too much attention on Israel while exempting the far worse Syrian regime from any sort of harsh condemnation. In fact, I did write a post devoted to the Syrian situation on May 31, 2012 in which I referred to the criminal character of the Assad regime and pointed to such bloody deeds (Crimes Against Humanity) as the Houla massacre that had occurred a few days before. In my mind, there is no doubt that the behavior of the ruling clique in Damascus is genocidal, and should be condemned and appropriate international action undertaken to protect the people of Syria.

But what is appropriate in such a situation is far from self-evident. The clarity of condemnation should not be confused with devising a prescription for action. Military interveRichard Falkntion rarely succeeds, violates the right of self-determination, and often expands the scope and severity of violence, especially if carried out from the air. Furthermore, we know little about the opposition in Syria, to what extent its governance of the country would be based on the rule of law and human rights. There are confusing reports about rebel atrocities as well as concerning the role of Al Qaeda operatives leading some of the rebel forces, and also indications that Gulf money and weapons have been supplied to these forces ever since the beginning of the anti-Damascus uprising. Every government has the right to fight against its internal enemies, especially if heavily assisted by hostile external forces, although that right must be exercised within the framework of constraints imposed by international humanitarian law.

Continues >>

2 Responses to “Richard Falk: A Brief Further Comment on Syria”

  1. sudhan Says:

    Dear Dr Falk

    It is always enlightening and heartening to read the issues you deal with. Your overview of the Syrian situation and the slaughter that is going on there shows that the tyrannical regime of Assad wants to cling to power at every cost. That includes using its military power to crush those who have stood against him. We are also aware that a time comes when even the most tyrannical regimes are no longer able to contain the opposition to their regime. The same thing has been going on in Syria.

    I agree with your views that international community has limited options to intervene in a complex situation such as Syria’s internal developments. The United Nations is not in a position to take any bold initiatives because of the power politics played by the permanent members of the UNSC. Does that mean we should wash our hands of any responsibility and let the slaughter of the Syrian people continue at the hands of the Assad clique? I also believe that a man of your wide experience in international relations and diplomacy should take a bold stand against the brutal onslaught of the Assad regime, explore ways how best to stop the carnage and also to meet the demands of freedom that the people of Syria have long been deprived of by the Assad family. To stand on the side-lines at this juncture will not produce any positive results. We need a general mobilisation and active work to combat the Assad clique and its slaughter of the Syrian people. I think, we who live outside Syria can do much to help the people of Syria.

    With regard to your involvement with Israel/Palestine issue, all I can say is that you have shown what a principled man can do and what sort of pressures bear in doing what is right. You have been subjected to much abuse and calumnies at the hands of Zionists, Rightist forces and political reactionaries. But you have stood your ground and all kudos to you. We are proud of your work and your example. However, to expect that you could have done more for other international issues brings us to judging the capacities of an individual unrealistically. No one can do all what calls for serious attention. You are not an exception. But those of us who believe in the rule of law, human rights, freedom of subjugated people from occupation, struggle against war criminals like Bush and Obama, etc., can do much in this age and in the present conditions.


  2. sudhan Says:

    Dr Richard Falk’s reply:
    Richard Falk July 25, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    Thanks for your thoughtful post and its much appreciated words of support. I am grateful to you also for taking issue with the view that because intervention is not a positive option, nothing can and should be done to stop the atrocities, stop the killing, and hold the Assad regime accountable. I think you are right to challenge me in this way, and I will give further thought to offering a better response.


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