I’m reminded of a movie called ‘It’s complicated’ when I think about all the facets of the Syrian situation. The movie was about how a couple, while attending their son’s graduation, reignite their relationship but the complication is that they are divorced and he is remarried.

Similarly, America’s President Obama (who has also, ironically, been a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize) wants to go in to bomb Syria just to fix things. But he is forgetting that there is still unfinished business in Iraq and Afghanistan and he has not been able to divorce them yet. It will only lead to further insecurity. There remain the probabilities of a thousand other complications and possible fall-outs that this action can result in. The case Obama has made for military strikes is weaker than what Bush did in Iraq but at least he has done the smart thing by giving the final authority to the US Congress.

The Congress should look at all the unintended consequences this war may unleash when it votes. As Sherry Rehman, ex ambassador to America writes, ‘The Free Syrian Army’s confidence in securing Damascus, Assad’s cache of chemical weapons and preventing revenge killings is an overconfident assessment of the battlefield that is too chaotic. A punitive missile barrage whose only intent is to shock and awe runs a real risk of empowering Jehadis led by Al Nusrah and Al Qaeda.’ The sectarian issue makes it further complicated. There are militants and extremists in both Shia and Sunni camps which will become impossible to manage. After Assad is bombed out of Damascus, who takes over will be the key question and we have seen in recent examples that civil wars and intra jihadi wars can continue for years.

Many say that the real target for America is Iran. This fracas has also revealed the role of some of the Middle Eastern countries who are pushing for a war on Syria primarily to weaken it further. For us in Pakistan it will lead to aggressive responses in our cities. With Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the other side, (so much for the Ummah bit), the divide will spawn more elements to bolster the Al Qaida camp and worsen our economy because of even higher oil prices.

World opinion too is divided which has helped to play a major role in preventing the situation from spinning out of control through escalating. While Obama says that the world cannot stand idly by after the Syrian chemical attack, his Russian counterpart Putin says, with absolute clarity, that they would help Syria if the US were to strike. At the G20 meeting the countries who opposed military action included Russia, China and also key EU member Germany. As the summer of 2013 draws to a close, let’s hope the idea of striking Syria is also shot down, by a changing world, weary of this new warfare which has global implications and in which there is too much at risk.

Talking about our own 60 years of complex issues, there has been a very pleasant ‘first’. A democratically elected President of Pakistan steps down today and is given a civilized send-off that augers well for the process of democracy. Whatever Imran Khan and Shiekh Rasheed Ahmad’s opinions may be about the two parties taking turns in power, it did give us, the ordinary citizens, a good feel. It’s taking a while to get used to though, given how each and every President has been removed in the past, beginning from General Ayub Khan down to General Musharraf. It’s quite a miracle that President Zardari, despite a constant din of what the courts and people thought he was doing wrong, survived to exit with dignity, something that the office that he was appointed to deserves.

He opted to not interfere with the media in any way in his tenure and chose the politics of consensus and, somehow, was able to ward off the various crises as they occurred, including Memogate. Whether it was through guidance provided by his spiritual Pir or his own instincts for survival, history is going to give some good points to President Zardari too when writing his final report card. He was also the President who willfully returned all wrongly acquired powers back to the Parliament. What the majority of us will never be able to figure out is why BB’s murder case remained unsolved in five years and how did BB leave a will in his favour, which no one else ever knew about! As the poet says:

Kahan sai aya, kidhar gaya wo

Ajeeb manoos sa ajnabi tha

Mujey tau hairaan ker gaya wo!

(Cannot say from where he came, but he was a mysterious yet familiar stranger who was able to affect my senses).

Post Script: Things seem to be progressing further from just plans of converting the whole country into highways and motorways finally. An APC is going to be held on Monday with all stakeholders on board to talk about the biggest issue which affects the people, that of terrorism. The Prime Minister has said that he would like it to be result oriented. Pakistan has to come to grips with this menace through consensus and above party considerations if we are to get past it. There is also the attempt to rescue Karachi from the various mafias and restore sanity to our biggest city. If the government, the opposition and the establishment can tackle only these two issues, I am sure we will be able to fix all the rest ourselves.

The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.