Anton Goryunov reports from Paris: As governments in America and other Western countries are finding it difficult to arm and support the Syrian rebels in a proper way, worried that they may be accused of openly meddling in Syria’s affairs, here are some novel ways of propping up the Syrian anti-government forces and yet be seen as staying out of the conflict.
How about launching an international charity called Adopt A Syrian Rebel? It would involve people sponsoring a member of the Free Syrian Army, say for a mere grand a month, getting his photograph and receiving regular updates on his progress, watching him turn from a shy, unassuming young man with a handgun or a rifle to a fully equipped fighter, with a machine gun or a grenade launcher, wearing fancy body armour and night vision goggles. The adopted member of the FSA would send letters to his Western ‘parents’, telling them about his adventures and the way democracy triumphs everywhere he and his brothers in arms go.
And what about allowing the Free Syrian Army to run a lottery that could be called something like Democracy Always Wins, with all the proceeds going to the Syrian opposition? Western governments would not be accused of supplying arms to the rebels, and yet loads of money would be raised and lots of heavy weaponry would be purchased, speeding up President al-Assad’s departure – one way or another. Such a lottery could be fun for the whole family and it would teach young people about the benefits of spreading democracy around the world and having a bit of fun along the way. Prizes in the lottery could include all sorts of exciting things, like uniforms and helmets, taken off dead Syrian soldiers, and even dried body parts of the hated government supporters. What kid would not love to wear a small finger of some former al-Assad henchman on his neck or keep it under his pillow?
Arms auctions could be another great idea to fund the Syrian rebels. Companies producing heavy weapons could be allowed to start selling them directly to the public at auctions across the land, delivering them for no charge to the unit of the Syrian opposition of their choice. Who would not want to become a proud owner of an artillery piece or a heavy machine gun or a surface to air missile, with their names emblazoned on them, going to a place where they would be used to fight for democracy and freedom? And again, no Big Brother involvement anywhere.
Another fun way to support the Syrian opposition would be to allow travel agencies organise ‘extreme tours’ to Syria, for people with military backgrounds who like to get a whiff of the good old times. A four-week package tour might include visiting some of the places in Syria where things are really happening and, for a mere grand or two, taking a pop at a Syrian soldier or a pro-Assad militiaman. This would not only bring more money to the FSA but would also relieve it of some of its tiresome warfare duties. Lucky tourists would bring back loads of great memories and maybe even a video of the lynching of some hated al-Assad supporter or a mass execution of pro-government militiamen.
With new ways of supporting insurgents around the world, soon wars and invasions would become fun for millions of people, with governments standing in the shadows, watching their citizens do all the dirty work for them.