UN Wants to Protect Syrians

                           By: Emma Smith

The conflict in Syria has become of great concern to the international community due to the signs of a civil war occurring within the country. But is an intervention the answer? The UN Human rights Council recently conducted a meeting concluding that the international community must step in to protect the people. An article from AlJazeera describes the events and casualties in some detail, along with relaying information form the UN meeting. It then gives other points of view from what actions the European Union have taken in tightening sanctions of targets involved with energy and financial sectors, along with individuals that support the regime. It then discusses the fact that Syria has suspended its membership from the Mediterranean Union( formed in an effort to increase cooperation among Europe, Middle East and North Africa) in a response to European measures. There is also a statement from the Arab League claiming that they are not supportive of an intervention, although they have also joined European Union discussions. It then gives a response from the Syrian minister accusing the Arab League of wanting to internationalize the conflict.                                                                               In another article from CNN on the Syrian conflict it relays a similar message of the events that took place during the UN meeting calling to protect the citizens. The majority of the article is a list of tragedies and casualties that are occurring in the area, re-enforcing the original idea that the UN Human Rights Council needs to take action and that pressure from the international community is necessary. The article finally notes that nothing can be confirmed due to the fact that the government does not allow free access to journalists.                           The two articles both originally report the same fact of the UN Human Rights Council meeting that took place  with the idea that international pressure was needed to protect the citizens of Syria during this time that is seen as a “civil war” within the country. However, the articles differ in the fact that AlJazeera gives several points of view from other major players such as the European Union and Arab League. We see what the international community wants to protect the Syrian citizens from these crimes as well as what they are doing to enforce what they believe to be correct through the use of sanctions on important industries. There is also the point of the Arab League sending mixed messages of saying that they reject the intervention while joining European Union discussions. The Syrian Prime Minister pushes back by accusing them of wanting to internationalize the conflict leaving an impression that they do not want that to be the case and the Syrian people themselves can resolve this. THe CNN article in comparison gives few viewpoints. They only detail the fact of what the UN Human Council agreed that they should place international pressure on Syria. It then gave several gruesome details of tragic events almost seemingly in an effort to persuade us that that was the only option. It concluded with a statement saying that journalist were not allowed in the area which assuming was an excuse to why there was little information relaying any other viewpoints from people within the area. The Syrian conflict is a fragile situation. From the information within these articles, the facts are that the UN and others want an International intervention while the Foreign Minister of Syria implies that the country does not need this. This becomes fragile in the fact that if one pushes too hard in their effort the other may respond causing furthur backlash and increasing the crisis. I believe as outside powers we can effort in aid of supplies and needs of the people within the crisis, but the country themselves should be able to ultimately decide for themselves how it should be handled. Civil wars are not pleasant and many lives will be lost, but they occur in an effort to change in the end for the greater good and only the Syrian people can decide that for themselves.


About middleeastcommentary

As an Associate Professor in Electronic Media Communication at Middle Tennessee State University, I teach courses in Media in the Middle East, among other courses analyzing media. I also produce media -- a recent documentary on the Kurds of Northern Iraq "More than the Mountains: Kurdistan of Iraq" produced following two trips to Iraq in 2005 and 2008.
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2 Responses to UN Wants to Protect Syrians

  1. I think it is interesting that CNN is focusing on the gruesome details when Al Jazeera is often ridiculed for including the bloodier details of war.
    The comment at the end of the CNN article is also a bit curious. I know Syria isn’t the most free country, but then how does that explain how Al Jazeera has a live blog from Syria and a lot of multimedia of the events. CNN definitely seems to be trying to cover up its lack of good reporting. I guess there isn’t much money to spend on international breaking news coverage after the YouTube video roulette segments they do. Maybe Al Jazeera is rash for risking the lives of its journalists, but CNN could learn a thing or two from them.
    I like that you compared the variety of sources each news outlet used. CNN seems to be framing this event to persuade American viewers to think one way: that international intervention is necessary. However, Al Jazeera’s wider range of sources with different perspectives lets people decide their opinions on the Syrian uprising for themselves.
    I really enjoyed your comparison of CNN versus Al Jazeera coverage of the same story because I think these two outlets are supposed to be on the same level, but one is obviously reporting much better than the other.

  2. tnthomas17 says:

    An article found on the Bellingham Herald (http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/12/09/2304944/un-rights-chief-wants-syria-access.html) quotes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as saying that this conflict “may well develop into a fully fledged civil war.”

    Pillay also states that some 4,000 people have died (from all sides of the combat), and many of the members of the security forces are defecting and this is part of the cause for the conflict being as nasty as it is.

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