Syria: Conflict or Civil War?

By: Dr. Saleh Kholaki


The Syrian people have suffered for an entire year at the hands of the Syrian regime while the world has spoken much, but done little to stop the violence. It is time for the US and the international community to exert all efforts to end Assad’s brutal crackdown against the Syrian people.

To date there are so many human right violations and massacres being committed by the Assad’s regime.These massacres took place right after United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan met with Bashar al-Assad on Sunday two weeks ago, and left the country without any concrete results for ending the regime’s violence against its people. This is indicative of the Assad regime’s outright disregard for any real diplomatic or political discourse that would end the bloodshed of innocent Syrians.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, recently depicted the conflict in Syria as “civil war.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton added that there was “every possibility” of civil war breaking out in Syria. Both of these portrayals of the conflict were meant to ratchet up pressure on the international community to prevent further violence. But in fact, describing a conflict as a civil war achieves exactly the opposite effect. It is not a call to arms; it is a call to inaction.

Just as labeling a massacre as a genocide is meant to compel outsiders to intervene, calling a conflict a civil war increasingly does the opposite, absolving the outside world of the responsibility of intervening.

The term conjures up a protracted conflict under anarchic conditions in which the preferable action is to stand on the sidelines and let the war play itself out. It also invokes archaic notions of sovereignty: What happens within state borders is sacrosanct. That reaction is akin to what former Secretary of State James A. Baker III famously said of the Balkans in the 1990s: “We don’t have a dog in that fight.”

A handful of soldiers and politicians have defected to the opposition, militias such as the Free Syrian Army have been formed and security forces are under attack. Yet the violence still appears to be mostly one-sided.

We are trying to raise awarness, in our community and through out the nation, to the brutal killing of the innocent men,women and children of Syria by the Assad’s regime.

We are praying for the swift end to these atrocities. May God help us all.


Dr. Saleh Kholaki is a Syrian-American. He has become a fixture at the ICSC through his many years of involvement. He currently serves as Vice Chairperson of the ICSC. 

related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *