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Published on October 31st, 2011 | by Lauren Beard
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Syria Protests 2011 ©"][/caption]

In a recent rare interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that Western intervention in Syria since the uprising began could provoke an ‘earthquake... that would burn the whole region,’ going as far as to say that it could cause ‘another Afghanistan’.

Since the protests broke out earlier this year that called for repressive President Assad to stand down, there have been in excess of 3,000 civilian deaths and thousands more imprisoned in spite of President Assad’s claims that only terrorists are being targeted by government forces. In response, the UN has once again called for immediate halt to the violence, bloodshed and human rights violations that have been enacted in Syria, and that the Syrian government must respond to the demands for change expressed by the Syrian people. It seems that the near-impossible task of stabilising the Middle East is likely to be a continued priority for the West for the foreseeable future. However, taking the poor image of Afghanistan into consideration, is this a risk that the West can be willing to take? Similarly, the concept of intrusive diplomacy as seen elsewhere in the Middle East can be argued to have a negative impact on the image of the West intervening in foreign states, but standing by and watching while repression and human rights abuses continue against civilians in particular is arguably equally controversial.

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Another Afghanistan?

Syria Protests 2011 ©

In a recent rare interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that Western intervention in Syria since the uprising began could provoke an ‘earthquake… that would burn the whole region,’ going as far as to say that it could cause ‘another Afghanistan’.

Since the protests broke out earlier this year that called for repressive President Assad to stand down, there have been in excess of 3,000 civilian deaths and thousands more imprisoned in spite of President Assad’s claims that only terrorists are being targeted by government forces.

In response, the UN has once again called for immediate halt to the violence, bloodshed and human rights violations that have been enacted in Syria, and that the Syrian government must respond to the demands for change expressed by the Syrian people.

It seems that the near-impossible task of stabilising the Middle East is likely to be a continued priority for the West for the foreseeable future. However, taking the poor image of Afghanistan into consideration, is this a risk that the West can be willing to take?

Similarly, the concept of intrusive diplomacy as seen elsewhere in the Middle East can be argued to have a negative impact on the image of the West intervening in foreign states, but standing by and watching while repression and human rights abuses continue against civilians in particular is arguably equally controversial.

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