Confusion runs rampant, as the world waits with bated breath for results of the UN investigation on what really happened in Syria. World leaders have rushed instinctively to offer protection to the Syrian people, but much smoke needs to be cleared before one can really determine what kind of assistance will really help, instead of harm.

 Conflicting reports point at both the regime and rebel forces as having used chemical weapons against each other, but in light of recent evidence it seems almost certain that the Bashar regime, did in fact, use chemical weapons on its people.

 In the attack last Wednesday, around a thousand people were reported dead as a result of a chemical attack – a horrific breach of international humanitarian law and code of conduct in times of war.  Monstrous though this action is, the costs of an intervention must be carefully weighed before the green light is given to any form of allied involvement.

If the UN does no more than to condemn this action, the international community is looking at a failure to keep a rogue state in line, which will essentially be a repeat of the League of Nations all over again. If however, the allied nations do decide to take action, we are looking at another Afghanistan or Iraq in the near future. The utter destruction of the infrastructure and stability of life in both countries should serve as a glaring reminder for anyone wanting to jump the gun in this situation.

NATO has already provided air support to rebel forces in Syria, who are assembled along sectarian lines and boast recruitment from Al-Qaeda and associated jihadist groups, which the US and its allies view as dangerous in other parts of the world. An uncoordinated strike just to show support for rebel forces will result in immeasurable collateral damage and will probably only lead his crumbling regime to take dire measures (even more so than now). Furthermore, any Western intervention and the animosity which it would inspire could also lead to pro-regime sentiment in the future, which would be counterproductive to the effort being made in the first place. The West in general and the US in particular, must therefore, unlike previous circumstances, spend some time on thought rather than action.

An unmeasured response and open-ended military response is a strategy with no winner. Western powers (America in particular) need to realize that foreign interference in such cases has been time and again proven to be anathema to the hope of establishing peace. Assad must go, but the ragtag ensemble of the Free Syria Army must not be forced upon the Syrian people as a replacement.