Is Syria on the verge of boiling over?

Cartoon-Migdad-20-March-2013

Recently, numerous cartoonists and media sources have brought attention to the issue and conflict unfolding in Syria between the rebel forces “Syria National Coalition” and the pro government regime under President Assad. The following is a cartoon that was created following last week’s conflict and violence in the region. The image depicts a cook running away from a large steaming and boiling pot over a large flame. The pot is symbolic of the tension and violence that is currently occurring in the region and shows how Syria is both heating up and possibly close to a point of boiling over. The cook running away from the pot can be seen by the viewers or audience in either one of two ways. First off, this can be symbolic of the refugees fleeing from the country to avoid the violence and bloodshed. On the other hand, to others this can be depicting individuals involved in the conflict that are feeling that the heat is getting too hot for them to handle such as the Syrian National Coalition leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. (http://www.arabnews.com/cartoon-migdad-95)

Following numerous reports and rumors last week that chemical weapons were being used in the conflict between the two, friction and attention to the issue on a global level as well as the European Union (EU) has increased. (http://www.albawaba.com/news/syria-chemical-weapons-478381), (http://www.albawaba.com/news/syria-chemical-weapons-478366) On Thursday March 21ST, Jordan’s king spoke to the media about the issue between the two forces. In a statement by King Abdullah II, “President Bashar Assad is beyond rehabilitation and it is only a matter of time before this regime collapses”. The European Union has currently imposed sanctions and an arms embargo against Syria and is planning on investigating the claims by both sides about the use of chemical weapons. Due to the highly political nature of the issue and the severity of the violence between the two, the European Union as well as much of the Western Powers have become split on this issue and on which side they will support. Countries such as Britain and France have been pushing for the European Union to relax the sanctions as to allow rebel fighters against the government regime to obtain arms. However, others including Russia oppose this move either out of fear that the violence will escalate or because they support the government regime under Assad. (http://www.arabnews.com/news/445515)

To further explain this image that has been composed by the cartoonist above, later in the week more events occurred causing the heat to increase over Syria “the water” and cause the pot to further boil over. In the case of the Pro- government regime under President Assad, Dr. Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, who is the senior Sunni pro government cleric, was killed along with 42 others in a suicide attack in a Damascus Mosque. This attack by the rebel group brought a huge blow to the Assad regime and killed a vocal supporter of the movement. Dr. Muhammad al-Bouti was a long time televised speaker who produced sermons and rallied in public for the support of the regime. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/03/2013321174113479353.html) However, a few days later, the rebel party “Syria National Coalition” also lost a prominent leader and supporting figure of the regime. Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, the leader of the opposition forces resigned earlier this week not as a result of the way the conflict was going or for political reasons, but for the non-cooperation of the European Union in assisting the rebels in their fight. In an interview following his resignation, Moaz al-Khatib claimed “for the past two years, we have been slaughtered by an unprecedentedly vicious regime, while the world has looked on”. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/03/2013324114456241229.html)

I found these articles and news stories about Syria to be very interesting and have directly related to the class discussions in many ways. First off, through the use of both media in the form of images/ cartoons, individuals are using these facets to spread their message to the world. In the case of cartoons, these messages can be used to poke fun at the issue as well as leave the issue up to a person’s interpretation depending on the audience who is viewing the media. In addition, these forms of images and graphics being spread through the media both on paper and electronically, can be used to further incite the issue in the hopes that this conflict will bring about more media attention with the hope of bringing the world to know the truth about the issue and further spread the issue to the world that may not know of the conflict. In the second aspect, this type of media and publicity on the issue has been seen in other conflicts. For example, social media, blogs, news, and many other sources of media has allowed for the movement to develop. Through social media on an individual level and news media on a larger societal level, people are able to become connected and are able to join the movement on the side that they support. As a result, these movements and conflicts are able to form instantly and in many cases become wide spread much more quickly than if there were no media or publicity on the issue.

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