This commentary was originally published in The Financial Times.
When Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi threatened to go street to street and house to house to snuff out his opponents, Barack Obama addressed Americans to explain his reasons for supporting a Nato-led intervention. The US president argued that allowing a massacre to take place would have ‘stained the conscience of the world’.
Today, the picture painted by Mr Obama could describe the situation in Syria. Much of the world has condemned the violence but the international community has stood by paralysed as the regime unleashed its air power on its own people. Cities have been shelled and mosques destroyed. Ancient souks have gone up in flames. Every day there are stories of kidnappings, arrests, death and even the torture of children. Activist groups have estimated the death toll in September alone to be above 5,000. An estimated 30,000 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the conflict 19 months ago. …
Rhonda Roumani is a contributing fellow with the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.