In the past few days, news regarding Syria’s recent war has been covered all over the news and social media. The war first started in 2011 and within the last few years, hundreds of thousands of people has been killed and millions of refugees have been created. The Syria war is claimed to be fuelled by sectarians, and political and international divisions. The US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are claimed to be those that involve and fuel the civil war in Syria.
What people must have read on a wide range of news and social media that the cause of the Syrian war is due to the conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels who oppose him (Jareera, 2016). Over time, both sides are reported to divide into multiple militias, yet the fundamental disagreement still remains the same, which is to decide whether Mr.al-Assad’s government should hold the power. However, what people might not be aware of is why there are countries involved in the civil war in Syria. There are several reasons for it but for countries such as the US and Russia, the answer is quite simple: to make profits by selling arms and weapons.
According to Aljazeera (2016), the Syrian war has become “a showroom for Russian arms sales”. Aljazeera (2016) also states that thanks to the Syrian war, Russian arms exports have hit a record of US$14.5 billion in 2015. The arms and weapons orders from Russia are expected to worth US56 billion. The statistics suggests that the civil war in Syria has created a perfect opportunity for Russian arms producers to increase sales and profits, and for the Russian government to increase its economic growth. Similarly to Russia, the US has sold US$7.7 billion worth of weapons to Syria since 2011 (Fortune, 2016). This is considered unethical business practices, which these countries make profits by supporting the means for people to kill each other. The Syrian war then can be considered a war against humanity, where people make money on the tears, blood, and lives of others.
The Syrian war also leads to the movement of Syrian people to seek safety and shelter, such as Germany, the UK, the US, and Canada. The increased number of refugees mean that unemployment will increase temporary due to the fact the refugees may not be able to work/find job immediately. The acceptance of refugees also means that the financial requirements to satisfy humanitarian needs for host countries. For policymakers, it is rather a burden. This explains why countries who supply and fuel the Syrian war do not seem too eager to take in Syrian refugees, whose country and homes are destroyed by them. Statistics show that out of 4 millions Syrian refugees, the US only accepted 1,434 of them (Gibson, 2016). This is considered shameful, given the wealth of the US government compared to other countries that accept the majority of Syrian refugees such as Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, or Iraq.
Yet, they must remember that taking refugees in for the long term can, in fact, transform this trade-off to a win-win situation. Increased number of refugees can increase in the labor supply that reduces the dependency ratio caused by an aging population. Indeed, it only happens if refugees are integrated into the labour market fully in a long term. This triggers the role of policymakers to make and implement policies that facilitate such integration. All in all, it can be said that the Syrian war has been a humanitarian and political tragedy for that country. Yet, for others it is seen as a lucrative business for others. The way in which countries such as the US or Russia makes money from the lives of others can be seen as unethical and inhuman. However, as they are one of the strongest militaries in the world, it is difficult, or rather impossible to stop them from doing so, unless global policymakers will eventually come to their sense. In addition to this, the Syrian war also leads to the movement of Syrian refugees across the world, which leads to a number of impacts on the host countries worldwide. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that taking refugees in is not always a burden. The right policies that enable refugees to integrate with the host countries’ labour market would bring a number of benefits to these host countries.
Aljazeera. (2016). Syria’s war: A showroom for Russian arms sales. [online] Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/syria-war-showroom-russian-arms-sales-160406135130398.html [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
BBC News. (2016). Syria: The story of the conflict – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26116868 [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
Business Insider. (2016). This Map Of US And Russian Arms Sales Says It All. [online] Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/arms-sales-by-the-us-and-russia-2014-8?r=US&IR=T [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
Fisher, M. (2016). Straightforward Answers to Basic Questions About Syria’s War. [online] New York Times. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/19/world/middleeast/syria-civil-war-bashar-al-assad-refugees-islamic-state.html?_r=0 [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
Fortune. (2016). U.S. Sold $33 Billion in Weapons to Gulf Countries in the Last Year. [online] Available at: http://fortune.com/2016/03/28/u-s-arms-sales-gulf/ [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
Gibson, C. (2016). Nations that sent the most arms to Syria have accepted the fewest refugees. [online] U.S. Uncut. Available at: http://usuncut.com/world/syrian-refugees-to-weapons/ [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
Jazeera, A. (2016). Syria’s Civil War Explained. [online] Aljazeera. Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/syria-civil-war-explained-160505084119966.html [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
World Bank. (2016). The Economic Impact of the Syrian War and the Spread of ISIS: Who Loses & How Much?. [online] Available at: http://blogs.worldbank.org/arabvoices/economic-impact-syrian-war-and-spread-isis-who-loses-how-much [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].