• Voorhout, Netherlands


I was astonished by the belligerent tone of the Oct. 8 opinion piece by Aryeh Neier, “Ground the killers in Syria with a no-fly zone.” The author seems totally unaware that the rebels have killed thousands of citizens, too — usually for some kind of link with the Assad government. Syria is not the simple good-bad story he wants us to believe.

The author makes the comparison with the situation in Bosnia in the 1990s. He forgets that in Bosnia the West aimed for a negotiated solution while in Syria the West aims for a plain victory for the rebels and rejects negotiations. We have seen in Libya how “humanitarian” interventions work out in such a context: the intervention left 30,000 Libyans dead.

In the past 1½ years we have repeatedly heard claims about government atrocities that should be countered with military measures that support the rebels. And so the rebels get more and more arms and nowadays are even well-equipped to fight tanks. But the only result of such measures has been that the rebels have attacked yet more places, including places like Aleppo and the Raqqa Province where a wide majority of the population prefers Assad over the rebels. And as a consequence of that ever-widening front the death toll has kept rising.

If Neier wants to see the rebels win he should say so openly and he should also be open about the fact that it will cost the lives of at least another 100,000 Syrians. If he wants peace and to stop the killing he should say so, too. But in that case, he should advocate negotiations and pressure on both sides to participate in negotiations. From the very beginning the rebels have opposed negotiations and the West has encouraged them in that and has actively undermined those sections of the Syrian opposition that do negotiate. In contrast, the Syrian government has shown at least some willingness to negotiate and compromise. So pressure on the Western governments and the Syrian opposition to negotiate is at the moment the most important step needed to bring Syria peace.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

wim roffel

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