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Should the U.S Provide Foreign Aid to Syria?

In: Historical Events

Submitted By britrovato
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Should the U.S provide foreign aid to Syria? Syria continues to be categorized as a state sponsor of terrorism, since 1979. Syria’s government supports U.S.-listed terrorist groups and allows some of these groups, such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to maintain headquarters in Damascus. Both of these organizations have been labeled as a terrorist group not only by the U.S, but also by the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, and Israel. The Syrian government also houses and aids worldwide terrorists, and serves as the center of trade in illegal narcotics. An American supported Israeli-Syrian treaty would make it far more difficult, rather than easier, for the United States to speak up or take action against these activities. The 2006 State Department Country Report says the Syrian government remains an active supporter of Hezbollah and has a secret presence in Lebanese politics. The goal of the Hezbollah is to dominate Lebanese politics in order to create a theocratic Islamic state out of Iran and to act as Iran’s (and Syria’s) substitute in confronting Israel and the US as a second front. Syria has suspected ties to the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. However, Syria still rejects the terrorist categorization, denies involvement in the Hariri killing, and says it was Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups on its soil to be legitimate resistance movements aimed at beneficial Arab territory held by Israel. Reports claim that Syria was involved, and still is involved in supporting terrorist groups. The United States can’t trust a country that is supporting groups who are against our country and our democracy. Since Syria is considered a state sponsor of terrorism and supports terrorist groups, the U.S should not provide Syria with foreign aid. Before the World War II, Syria became an independent Arab Kingdom under the power of King Faysal, who later became King of Iraq. However, his rule over Syria ended after a few months, following the battle between Syrian Arab forces and French forces at the battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the League of Nations put Syria under French mandate. Even though Syria didn’t want peace with the French, the League of Nations was a mission to create or maintain world peace. With the fall of France in 1940, Syria came under the control of the Vichy Government. The Vichy government abolished the French constitution and created a dictatorship similar to Germany's. Later, the British and French occupied the country, putting an end to the Vichy Government in July of 1941. Nationalist groups forced the French to evacuate their troops from Syria in April 1946, leaving a republican government. The declaration of independence led to a rapid growth in Syria’s economic development between 1946-1960. A series of military achievements, begun in 1949, damaging civilian rule and led to army colonel Adib Shishakli’s to take power. After the overthrow of Adib Shishakli, political planning supported by competing forces in the military brought Arab nationalist and socialist essentials to power. Syria became politically instable, creating support in Syria for alliance with Egypt. Eventually, these two countries merged to create the United Arab Republic, not knowing that it would fail. Syria split and reestablished as the Syrian Arab Republic. The Ba’ath members dominated the new NCRC, National Council of the Revolutionary Command. President Amin Hafiz of the NCRC spread a constitution providing for National Council of the Revolution, which was a government composed of representatives of organizations- labors, peasants, and other unions. The NCR was opposed and finally, President Hafiz was imprisoned, the NCR was eliminated, the constitution was abolished, and a regionalist, civilian Ba’ath government was elected. Hafiz al-Assad led a bloodless military coup. He moved quickly to create an organizational infrastructure for his government and to consolidate control. Assad formed the National Progressive Front, a coalition of parties led by the Ba’ath party, and elections were held to establish local councils in each of Syria’s governorates. A new Syrian constitution went into effect, following the first election since 1962. Fundamentalist Sunni Muslims rejected the basic values of the Ba’ath government. In response, the government crushed the fundamentalist opposition and attacked the city with weaponry, causing many thousand of dead and wounded. Since then, anti-regime activities have been limited. Syria’s current President, Lt-Gen Dr Bashar al-Assad, came to power in then mid-2000. Bashar al-Assad repeated his desire to modernize Syria, and would reject a Western-style democracy. He is making progress towards economic and social change slowly. Signs of political reform, such as releasing political prisoners and permitting political discussion groups, have also faded. Freedom of expression and involvement are once again limited and most of the media is still controlled by the state and party. Many fear the slow progress of the army, the Ba’ath, and the Alawite minority – that change would bring instability and would challenge its position. The Ba’ath party still remains in government offices (foreign affairs, defense, education, economy, and finance). Since 2005, the Ba’ath has been moving towards a social market economy. Steps have been taken to move away from a centrally controlled economy, with an opening of bank segments and efforts to attract foreign investment. Yet, unemployment, corruption, and poverty still slow down the economy. President Bashar al-Assad was nominated by parliament for a second seven-year term. The President received 97% support from the voters, to promote democracy. Some believe that President Assad may be in favor of the reform, but his lack of authority reduced himself while competing interests within the ruling elite. The chances for significant political change are very slim. The US State Department reports that torture and ill treatment remain commonplace, while freedom of expression and association continues to be severely restricted by the authorities. There are also reports of a number of instances of arbitrary detention and unfair trails. Women and members of the Kurdish minority continue to face discrimination. At the start of 2007, the government took a hard line on opposes. The leading protester Kamal Labwani and influential political writer Michel Kilo were sentenced to long jail terms. Human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni was also sentenced in jail. The punishments drew widespread international disapproval, even from supporters in Syria. The US has always disagreed with Syrian civil rights. In terms of political freedom, the US states that the government’s respect for human rights worsened. The government violated citizens’ privacy rights and forced significant restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and associate. Although Syria’s constitution guarantees gender equality, and many women to be active in public lift, but violence and societal discrimination against women continue and the occurrence of sexual abuse intensifies. The Syrian government discriminates against minorities- the Kurds and the Ahvazis, and severely restricted workers’ rights. The US claims Syria as part of an “axis of evil”. In May 2004, the US cites Syria’s sponsorship of terrorism and its failure to prevent militants from entering Iraq to participate in the revolt. In December 2006, The US is offered to re-engage diplomatically with Syria and other states in the region in response to the Bush administration. The US feared that Syria would demand a reduction in the diplomatic pressure over Lebanon because of its cooperation on Iraq. In early 2007, there were signs of our relationship with Syria improving. The Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, traveled to Damascus, the highest-placed US politician to visit for several years. President Bush disapproved of this visit, and claimed it narrowed the diplomatic pressure on Syria. The following month Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met the Syrian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of a regional meeting on Iraq, about the flow of militants across the border being reduced as a result of Syrian actions. Syria’s participation in the US against Saddam Hussein marked a watershed in Syria’s relations with other Arab states and with the West. US foreign policy experts began to argue that a US administration should include a policy of diplomatic engagement with Syria, as part of a reconsideration of US strategy. However, ties with the Assad regime may not only further Middle East peace, but also weaken Iran. Iran is a key US rival in the region and one of Syria’s key traders. In 2009, President Barack Obama did not mention Syria or outline any proposals for engagement with the Assad Regime, but since Syria still disagrees with our democracy, and opposes to our civil rights, we should not provide them with foreign aid. Each year, the United States of America gives billions and billions of dollars into its foreign aid program. We are willing to sacrifice American lives to save those of other countries. It is very generous of us, but our country has its own problems to worry about. More and more people are moving out of their houses and into the streets every day; people are becoming addicted to drugs; men, women, and children are dying from violence. Yet we still insist on helping others. There are enough problems here for the government to focus on. However, if there is a country recovering from a natural disaster, and they need our help, we should be able to distinguish between the times when a country is in a crisis and needs our help, and when it is just struggling. Since our country is struggling as well, we cannot help other suffering countries before we help ourselves. Look at our debt. Over 25% of our ridiculously high debt is due to foreign aid and money we have lent to other countries. Giving aid does not help us with our overseas interests, either. Many countries that we help still do no support America’s foreign policy goals, even after we send them millions of dollars – 64% of United States foreign aid recipients voted against the U.S a majority of the time. The ten countries that voted against us in 1995 still receive $212 million in foreign aid. We are a world of power, and we have the resources to help others, but not all the time and not to such a high degree. Syria has done nothing for the United States to deserve foreign aid. They don’t even support our government. Syria is the complete opposite of America. Syria’s government is trying to gain foreign income. How do we know what the Syrian government spends it on? They could be using the money to buy drugs, or to buy the weapons that are used against us. We can’t trust Syria because they are involved with terrorists, who are against us. The US already tried to engage with Syria to find areas of mutual interest, reduce regional tensions, and promote Middle Ease Peace. They Syrian Government’s violent response has isolated Syria politically not only from the United States but also from Europe, the Arab world, and other international countries. However, it is still important that we continue to foster our peace and stability in the Middle East.…...

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