What to Do about Syria?

Syrian war dead

The Syrian government bombs its own people with chemical weapons. The USA weighs whether to intervene. Yes: Freedom fighters struggle for democracy. No: Islamic militants are thoroughly infiltrated in the conflict and will likely take power if we cause the rebels to win. Yes: Assad’s actions are reprehensible, and he must be taken out. No: He treats Christians and other religious minorities well, and they’d be wiped out if he falls from power. Yes: How can we stand by watching the atrocities and do nothing? No: How can we get enmeshed in yet another intractable Middle Eastern conflict? Look at what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Oh, my.

Historically, outside powers have influenced civil wars–as European powers influenced the American Revolution and Civil Wars. But no outside nation has ever solved a civil war, as the USA disastrously attempted in Iraq, and let’s not even talk about Afghanistan. Civil wars have always, and only, been settled by a nation’s people fighting it out. It’s horribly bloody and destructive, but that’s the way civil wars work out–and too much outside intervention usually just prolongs conflict or drives it underground.

But a nation can influence, as the USA did well in Libya. Yet Syria is not Libya. No one is really sure what it is. But it will play as a proxy battleground between Shiite Iran and Hezbollah versus Sunni Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations. America has no good place in that mess.

What then might God think of all this?

Oh, my, oh, my.

As nations go, God has always appeared to let differing sides duke it out. They’re all under his judgment anyway. But the people themselves, the ones created in his image. The ones for whom Jesus died. What of them? God certainly grieves. And so does anyone who cares enough to take a close look.

There is no good solution in Syria. There never will be. And there will be no peace until both sides are so beaten, so tired, so traumatized, so broke, and so full of maimed and dead bodies that in one way or another they stop. It’s unthinkable. But it’s also the ugly truth.

Could this also be part of a much bigger picture that ultimately plays into the grand biblical end-times scenario? Maybe. Who knows?

What to do in the mean time? Tread lightly. Bring relief where we can. And pray God do his will and have mercy.

Photo credit:  International Business Times