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'Humanitarian intervention’may cause bigger disaster

By Tian Wenlin (People's Daily)

17:22, June 01, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Eight Western nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, expelled Syrian diplomats Tuesday in response to a massacre of civilians in the Syrian town of Houla on May 25. The new French president even stated that he would not rule out international military intervention in Syria.

Western powers have long been intervening in other countries' domestic affairs under the banner of "preventing humanitarian catastrophes." The Houla massacre has undoubtedly offered them a perfect excuse to intervene in Syria’s domestic affairs. It is easy to imagine that they will impose harsher sanctions on the violence-riddled country, and may even launch military intervention.

Without truth, there can be no justice. The top priority right now is to find out the truth behind the massacre. As Syria’s opposing parties are all shifting the blame, we can guess that whoever benefits the most from the massacre is the mastermind.

Previously, the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government had started political transition by holding a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, and the country’s political situation was heading in the right direction as the government expected. Furthermore, the mediation by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan created a favorable international environment for a "political soft landing" in Syria.

In such a context, the Syrian government was more than willing to maintain the status quo. The massacre occurred at a time when the United Nations was sending more monitors to Syria, and during Annan’s visit to the country. It would not make any sense for the Syrian government to cause trouble for itself and to offer Western powers an excuse to intervene. Therefore, the Syrian government is the most unlikely suspect for the massacre.

Those who want to oust Assad and fish in troubled waters are more likely suspects.

The Syrian government has vowed to find the truth. All parties concerned should have refrained from taking reckless action before the truth comes out. However, certain Western nations have hastily criticized the Assad regime, and imposed diplomatic sanctions on Syria. The Houla massacre is being "politicized" by Western powers seeking to increase pressure on the Syrian government.

Politicizing humanitarian crises is a dangerous tendency. The so-called humanitarian intervention in a country's domestic crisis has often resulted in a bigger or a real humanitarian disaster.

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