All posts tagged bashar assad

The Syrian Knot

lovestruck., Flickr

Bobby S. Gulshan - With the massacre in Houla, and the discovery of 13 people who had been apparently bound and executed near Deir az-Zour, the grim reality of the deteriorating situation in Syria has taken center stage across the globe. The diplomatic isolation induced by the expulsion of Syrian diplomats in numerous countries also seems to suggest a turning point in the conflict. Even the Russians couldn’t stay silent. Meanwhile, many commentators now openly speak of the failure of Special Envoy Annan’s Six-Point Plan. With the brutality coming to light – and diplomatic channels being closed – the question looms with a long and stark shadow, what is the way forward in Syria?

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R2P Too? Why Syria Is Not Libya in UN Eyes

Foreign Secretary William Hague at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria, 31 January 2012

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at UN Security Council meeting on Syria / Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Flickr

Mehrunisa Qayyum - “Syria is not Libya,” Ambassador Peter Wittig emphasized as he responded to questions comparing global reactions to NATO intervention in Libya but not Syria. Edward Luck, U.N. Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect, echoed back, “Syria is not Libya.”

Syria is not Libya for a variety of reasons. First, Libya has only one-third of Syria’s population and a more homogeneous one. Second, Iran is a key ally of Syria. And third, Syrian politics rests of other sensitive “fault lines,” including the Kurdish issue, Lebanon, and Israel. Even so, the demographic makeup and political alliances should not obviate the flagrant abuse of human rights violations committed by the Assad regime.

Still, can Syria at least learn from Libya’s history of authoritarian leaders, economic sanctions, and a bloody but game-changing revolution?

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Palestinian refugees weathering the Syrian storm

Bachar al-Assad _MG_2493

A Western states backed UN Security Council resolution threatening “targeted measures” against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad may have been crushed this week by Russia and China’s veto, but that is hardly an indication that major world powers have grown unconcerned about the seven-month long uprising that has now been estimated to have cost 2,900 lives. From the US, to the European Union, to Russia and Iran, to Turkey, and the Arab states of the Gulf, officials have either been cautiously treading their ties with the government of President Bashar Assad in his growing international unpopularity, or blatantly calling for his resignation. Analysts and academics the world over are also watching carefully, gauging the impact on the politics of the entire region should the international community intervene, by broad implementation of sanctions or otherwise.

Notably guarded in their public stances, however, are the many Palestinian refugees who have enjoyed some of the unique freedoms in access to employment and education unavailable to them elsewhere in the Arab world. The refugee camps in which they reside have also evolved over the years from haphazard temporary shelters to full fledged neighborhoods near major cities. Historically, Palestinian refugees have been content to follow the Syrian government because they recognize how well they have been treated and try to behave in a manner fitting the hospitality of their Syrian hosts.

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