#Syria: Commitment, double standard and refugees

Double standard 

The US, for its part, has put its call for an intervention on hold. It is still, however, using the threat of war as its trump card if Syria falls short of an absolute compliance. 

Despite Syria's denial, the US claims that the move of Syria to have its chemical weapons capability disabled is a result of US' tough talk against the Assad regime.

This tough language, however, seems to be absent during similar acts of war conducted by US allies.

In 2009, the New York-based HRW published a 71-page report on Israel's use of white phosphorus in its war against Palestine.

While phosphorus has various tactical uses such as obscuring a military operation, the HRW report elaborates on its potential to harm civilians when airbusted in a densely populated area. HRW researchers identified Gaza as the area where the agent was used. 

No such "threats" against its ally, Israel, was issued by the US at that time. 

To be sure, Kerry cited US strategic interests, including its "direct military alliances" with neighboring countries such as Israel, Jordan, and Turkey in its previous call to strike Syria.

Win-win deal? 

Beyond the Russia-US "landmark deal," it is likely that fighting in Syria will continue.

Syrian rebels have already expressed their dismay over the deal, saying they cannot "wait until mid-2014 to continue being killed every day."

The Assad regime has been launching a crackdown against opposition groups even prior to the controversial August 21 chemical weapons attack.

As the option of war is out of the picture and more countries are welcoming the plan to eliminate the Assad regime's chemical weapons by 2014, these countries must now direct their resources to addressing the needs of Syrians who have fled to, and sought refuge in, neighboring countries.

The same toughness in language must be employed in pressuring the international community to pool in funds to improve camp conditions, provide refugees with water and other daily needs, guide them in dealing with trauma, and assist in their eventual return should the war end.

A long-term plan for the refugee crisis must be enforced with the same determined sense of responsibility many of the Western leaders assumed in justifying a strike. (READ: Syria and the just war theory)

These civilians, after all, are the people they claim to protect. - Rappler.com


Buena Bernal writes development stories for Rappler. You can follow her @buenabernal.