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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Failure of Diplomacy – The Syrian case


With the Syrian civil war dragging on, more bloodshed, and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime dropping deeper into international isolation, western states enforce political pressure by expelling Syrian ambassadors from their countries after the massacre in the Syrian village of Hula.

Assad will neither be impressed by this radical move of western policy makers, nor by the UN’s threats of sanctions against Syria, nor with the UN’s desperate attempts to find a peaceful solution between the regime and the opposition through its former Secretary General Kofi Annan. With atrocities on both sides going on, the Syrian civil war is in imminent danger of spinning out of control.

Expelling ambassadors from a country is the last resort a state can impose on a regime through diplomatic channels. As diplomats are running out of instruments and alternatives, analysts assume that two more possible solutions could be applied.

One would be the so called “Yemeni Solution”, proposed by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. The strategy is rather simple: The opposition has to recruit more and more supporters from the entire Syrian society, which will lead to an overall revolution against Assad, even by his own supporters.
This solution is doable, specifically with violence spreading all over the country, and civil and social order increasingly under threat by the rising violence from both sides.

The second solution can actually be provided by Syria’s sole remaining ally in the international community: Russia.
Since Russia is the only power Syria is currently listening to, Moscow can impose significant political pressure on Damascus in order to stop atrocities from the Assad related forces and the army. Russia itself is concerned of the rising instability in the region, and in terms of global politics, Moscow is on the brink of regaining its former geopolitical weight as it used to have until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow is very well aware of its new power by using its powerful permanent weight as a veto power in the UN Security Council. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov  is warning the opposition to cause an international intervention in Syria by exploiting the Hula massacre as a dead give-away for foreign intervention.

Since violence on both sides reach a peak, and the diplomatic efforts are in vain – by foreign powers and the UN -, and Syria is isolating itself more and more, time is running out. Will Syria be drowned in its civil war, turning the Arab Spring into the next bloody cause after Libya, or will the international community get into action through military intervention, if further sanctions or threats of sanctions remain without effect?

Annan’s plan for a peaceful solution is neither having any effect, nor do the UN observers have any influence at all on the Assad regime.
International diplomacy has reached its border lines, and it won’t take long until the hardliners will prevail by releasing the dogs of war – by taking military action, as a last resort.

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