This commentary is written by Syrian analyst living in Washington DC Ammar Abdulhamid:
Ethnic cleansing is not only about how many people are killed, it’s more often about how many people are displaced. With more than 6 million internally displaced persons, 2 million refugees, and hundreds of thousands of detainees and missing, the overwhelming majority of whom happen to be Sunni Arabs, and considering the fact that it has only taken 2 years to achieve this feat, the scale of the human tragedy in Syria assumes new proportions. Furthermore, the tragedy is playing out in the age of “never again” and R2P, reports of this genocide are being broadcast around the clock through social media so no one can feign ignorance, and all is being accomplished with minimal recourse to WMDs. Obama’s red line has been irrelevant since the beginning, and was nothing more than a meaningless bluff that was exposed as such when reports of its violation were casually dismissed by the man who drew the line, and when Israelis just showed the world how red lines are actually maintained. When world leaders fail to uphold their own rules and red lines, it is the global order that is undermined, and the implications of that will be felt in N. Korea, Burma, Congo, and a dozen other hotspots where red lines will soon be obliterated, and instead with one messy conflict, leaders of the free world will find themselves dealing simultaneously with many. This is for all those experts who think the conflict in Syria could be contained. They use smartphones and social media like robots, without understanding the real implications of this technology in the age of hyperconnectivity. There are no locally containable crises anymore. All conflicts are global. But some people can only get this the hard way. Syria seems so far away to most Americans, and so at one point did Chechnya, until she materialized in Boston. A few pro-Assad Syrians based in Dubai sent Wall Street reeling, if only for few minutes this time, with a hacked account and a fake tweet. Everybody’s vulnerable these days. A small set of few determined individuals with a local grievance can undermine everyone’s sense of security.