MORAL DILEMMA? Obama & Cameron suggest “peaceful” transition in Syria instead of revolution


MORAL DILEMMA? Obama & Cameron suggest “peaceful” transition in Syria instead of revolution
by Darius Kadivar

David Cameron has said he wants to see peaceful transition of power in Syria, rather than revolution, ahead of talks with US President Barack Obama. ( See Related News)

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Analysis: Options for military intervention in Syria By Jonathan Marcus


Since the outset of the Syria crisis in March 2011 there has been little appetite for outside military intervention. This has been based on two assessments.

Firstly, that the situation on the ground in Syria is in many ways very different from that in Libya - the opposition is much more divided, the government's security forces are much stronger, and Syria's air defences are more effective.

Secondly, there has been a view that the implications of toppling President Bashar al-Assad could prompt a much wider wave of instability in the region.

Unlike Libya, Syria - both politically and geographically - is a central player in the Arab world, and sectarianism and instability there could threaten both Lebanon and Iraq.

Then, of course, there is the fundamental legal problem. Constrained by Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UN Security Council, there is no possibility of getting a resolution to authorise force.

That has not always mattered in the past. Nato troops went into Kosovo, after all, to halt systematic abuses by Serbian forces.

But the absence of legal authorisation certainly precludes action when there is little enthusiasm for it in the first place.

So what are we to make of calls from senior Republican politicians in the US, like Senator John McCain, urging air strikes against Syrian security forces?

Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says: "Despite the growing chorus of politicians calling for US leadership in Syria, the Obama administration is adamant that Washington should not take the lead, but follow regional partners, Saudi Arabia and Turkey."


Mr Landis argues that the simple fact is that the Obama administration sees no strong reason to intervene.

"US officials are unanimous in arguing that the Assad regime is doomed and can only hang on for a limited time, with or without increased US support for the Syrian opposition. I think they are right in this analysis."

"This means that the US has no compelling national security interest in jumping into the Syrian civil war that is emerging. The regime's days are numbered."

Much of the debate on outside intervention is vague. It confuses and makes false distinctions between the different options and to a large extent glosses over many of the fundamental problems facing them all.

Assistance and relief

The main thrust of any external action would be essentially humanitarian in nature, a response to the growing plight of civilians in Syrian towns and cities who are under bombardment by government forces.

Efforts could also be made to bring assistance to displaced refugees who have moved towards Syria's frontiers with Turkey and Lebanon. Three related measures are being discussed.

Humanitarian corridors

Suggested first by the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe last year, the idea would be to establish short corridors into Syrian territory through which humanitarian supplies could be delivered.

Safe zones

The establishment of safe areas within Syrian territory is an idea that has been broached by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. Such safe havens would be in border areas, acting as a place of safety where refugees could gather, be fed and sheltered, and so on.

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Darius Kadivar

Jim Muir:"Syrian ceasefire leads to new challenges"

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Now what? (bbc)


Getting the guns to fall silent in Syria may be the easy part


Tough though it has been, getting agreement on the ceasefire in Syria is the easy bit compared with what comes next.

The truce itself has been shaky, and has more or less completely collapsed in some areas, especially those, mainly Sunni, quarters of Homs such as Khaldieh where rebel fighters are still entrenched and where hostilities and bombardment have reached close to pre-truce levels.


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UN observers set for Syria mission amid shaky ceasefire

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UN observers set for Syria mission amid shaky ceasefire (France 24)


The United Nations was set to send a team of 30 advance observers to Syria on Sunday as part of a mission to monitor a tenuous ceasefire in the country amid reports of a surge in violence on the ground.

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Clinton: 'Ceasefire is first step'

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Clinton: 'Ceasefire is first step' (BBC, VIDEO)


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told reporters that the Syria ceasefire is important but just a first step.

She also said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would "have to go".

The UN is preparing to send monitors to Syria after the first day of the ceasefire passed without major violations.

The UN estimates that about 9,000 people have died since anti-government protests began in March 2011. In February, the Syrian government put the death toll at 3,838 - 2,493 civilians and 1,345 security forces personnel. 

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UN to send Syria truce monitors

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UN to send Syria truce monitors (bbc)


The UN is preparing to send monitors to Syria to observe a fragile ceasefire, which has come into force after more than a year of violence which has left thousands dead.

Darius Kadivar

Eyes on Syria as deadline nears

by Darius Kadivar on

Eyes on Syria as deadline nears (bbc)


A ceasefire is due to come into force in Syria to stem the 13-month-old conflict, but Western countries publicly doubt the government's intentions.





A huge amount of pressure has been mounted to bring about the agreement of all sides to the Annan truce.

Above all, Russia must have exerted powerful influence behind the scenes to induce the change of tune by the Damascus regime.

China and Iran, Syria's other two important international friends, have also strongly backed the Annan mission and may have helped bend President Bashar al-Assad's ear.

Mr Annan's priority was to stop the carnage. If that can be achieved, and stabilised by the insertion of UN observers, huge challenges will remain - above all, working towards an workable political settlement.

Again, Russia is poised to play a crucial role. Much will depend on what vision it has for Syria's future - perhaps regime mutation rather than the regime change sought by the opposition and its western backers.


Darius Kadivar

Syrian toll climbs before truce

by Darius Kadivar on

At least 133 people die on one of the bloodiest days in the Syrian uprising, according to unverified reports, as a ceasefire approaches.

Syrian toll climbs before truce (bbc)



Soosan Khanoom

Did you know that

by Soosan Khanoom on

The Resistance would not have liberated South Lebanon in 2000 and triumphed against the Israeli aggression in July 2006 without the Syrian-Iranian suppor?   

Once Israel is done with Syria then it turns to Iran. The fact is Syria and Iran are not going to see peace as long as their current regimes are on power or as long as this earth is rotating... I am not sure which will come first, the end of the regimes or the end of the world but that is a price a nation is going to pay should those who govern them stand against the God of Israel in any form or in any shape under any condition. just or unjust does not matter.  

Now HELL with the Dictators... of course .... But DEVIL has too many faces.  

Every blood that is being shed on this earth is going to be accountable.  

Any soul in charge will pay for this....

Any government who has turned against its own people....  

Any foreign county that has been adding fuel to this fire.  

Any country that has started the fire.

This too shall pass. We reap what we sow... and Israel is no exception.  



Darius Kadivar

More Syria deaths despite UN plea

by Darius Kadivar on

More Syria deaths despite UN plea (bbc)


At least 24 people have been killed as the Syrian army renews attacks, despite criticism from the UN. 



Darius Kadivar

Turkey warns UN on Syria refugees

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Turkey warns UN on Syria refugees (bbc)


Turkey has warned the UN it may need help if the flow of refugees from Syria continues at its current rate.

After speaking to the UN secretary general, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the refugee issue was becoming an "international problem".

Some 2,800 Syrians have crossed in 36 hours, with the total now near 24,000.

Troops and rebels were engaged in heavy fighting across Syria on Friday, just six days before the UN hopes a full ceasefire will come into effect.

The UN estimates more than 9,000 people have died in the year-long uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.


Darius Kadivar

Syria’s Christians feel squeezed between government and rebels

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As the year-long conflict polarises Syrian society, Omar Abdel-Razek from BBC Arabic finds an Orthodox Christian community worried it could face trouble from both the government and opposition.

Caught in the middle (bbc)



Darius Kadivar

Annan: 'We must silence the tanks' in Syria

by Darius Kadivar on

Annan: 'We must silence the tanks' in Syria (cnn)


Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League point man on Syria, urged the Bashar al-Assad regime Thursday to cease violence and carry out his six-point plan for peace.

"All points of the plan are crucial, but one is most urgent: the need for cessation of violence," he said. "Clearly, the violence is still continuing. Alarming levels of casualties and other abuses continue to be reported daily. Military operations in civilian populations have not stopped."

"We must silence the tanks, helicopters, mortars and guns, and stop all other forms of violence, too: sexual abuse, torture, executions, abductions, destruction of homes, forced displacement and other such abuses, including on children," Annan told the U.N. General Assembly by video link from Geneva.


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2,300 Syrian refugees spill into Turkey

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More than 2,300 Syrians have fled to Turkey since Wednesday, say officials, amid fears the crisis is escalating as a ceasefire deadline approaches.

Syrian refugees spill into Turkey (bbc)



Darius Kadivar

Amanpour: Bosnia's lesson for Syria

by Darius Kadivar on

Amanpour: Bosnia's lesson for Syria (cnn)


CNN's Christiane Amanpour says that what happened in Bosnia 20 years ago should hold some important lessons for the Syrian regime: The time comes when the world can no longer watch as civilians are butchered.  

Darius Kadivar

Rea Jan no I don't believe Libya is a mess or failure ...

by Darius Kadivar on

Rea Jan no I don't believe Libya is a mess nor do I believe we were wrong to intervene to help oust Gaddafi but I do believe that Obama's hesitation, lack of vision and intellectual arrogance (after encouraging local regimes to democratize during his historic speech in Cairo only to remain idle once the people's upheavel across the region demanded his support and guidance) is largely responsible for turning the Arab Spring into a long Winter of discontent and disillusion ...


That There are problems today in Libya yes but that is only natural in a post war era but it is not as chaotic as meets the eye despite the regular sporadic clashes across the country (Berbers in the West, and South and Federalists in the East in Benghazi).

The situation is not at all comparable to let's say Afghanistan or Iraq.

Does that mean that the country is a 'Jefforsonian democracy' barely a year after the toppling of Gaddafi ? Or that the population at large has the same political culture or aspirations as we do in the West ?


The answer on both grounds is No it ain't.


But that is not the point !


The issue was the moral duty of the international community in taking a stand when a regime declares a war on it's very own people.


I fully understand your reserves and skepticism based on a first hand and bitter experience of civil war in former Yougoslavia.

No one is claiming that there are not human rights abuses which are being carried out by different militias running wild in Libya ( notably acts of torture or vengeance towards notably Black Nigerians accused of having sided with Gaddafi's as mercenaries) which need to be condemned and reported (and they often are) and that they need to be held accountable. It is also true that there is still a long way to go to establish a central government which can be respected so as to put an end to lawlessness and anarchy and threats of smuggling arms into Nigeria or Mali where Al Quaeda represent a serious threat.


But again no I don't believe that the situation in Libya is a "mess" from a purely strategic and military perspective.


I don't claim to speak in the name of Libyans nor anyone who has been directly or collaterally victims during this conflict. That would be very arrogant and indecent on my part. But I am merely sharing my outlook as an outsider by trying to look at the Big Picture.

We are all looking at the events unfolding in Libya and across the Arab world from a safe haven and based on our views or emotional reaction to such events our opinions can indeed appear as either cold, indifferent, emotional or merely uninformed.

I never claimed to be an expert on Libya but based on how I have closely followed the events and read about the historical and political challenges faced by the different groups involved in this civil war, I don't see a serious threat of seeing Libya fall apart for a number of reasons.

The first being that the country needs stability on the long term and so do their neighbours including the Europeans who cannot afford to see the Mediteranean turn into a dangerous zone nor can Europe afford a wave of immigration from North Africa into Europe.


The material and human casualties aside which are unfortunate and were in anycase inevitable when faced with a military conflict but It is far too early to To cast a definitive judgement on whether or not the Libyan Campaign has been a success or a failure  or if Libya is in a better situation than it was before Gaddafi's ousting . That can only be clear in a two or three years at best a decade at worst for a nation's Historical evolution cannot be evaluated in merely a matter of years.  


But In my humble opinion the situation in Libya is far less complex than in Syria but I would say that had the West and in particular Obama acted on Day One in Stopping Gaddafi in the very first weeks of the conflict when he was down on his knees, that Libya's revolution would have most probably succeeded far more quickly and with less than the 50 000 human casualties that resulted.

I would even go further and add that if Obama had not behaved as clumsily and hesitantly in the Libyan conflict mainly because he feared to be compared to Bush particularly after recieving his undeserving Nobel Peace Prize that the Arab Spring would have most probably been less bloody than it is today.

Neither Assad nor Saleh in Yemen would have dared carry out such levels of brutality in order to stay in Power. Even Bahrain and Saudis would have handled the uprisings in their respective countries very differently. 

Because all would have feared a Western Retaliation like in Libya which ultimately was only achieved because of the French and British determination in spearheading Gaddafi's ousting by forcing the hand of the UN security council with the help of the Arab League.

The world and particularly the so called Arab Spring would have benefited from having Hillary Clinton at the Helm of the World's first super power than this inexperienced fellow Obama ...


Niall Ferguson Blasts Barack Obama For Failed Egypt Foreign Policy 


So if Assad has a licence to Kill today it is largely the fault of not only the Russians and Chinese (who after all are historical allies of Syria) but essentially the fault of a powerless and incompetent American President.


History will judge his foreign policy in the case of the Arab Spring with great severity far more than it will judge the current local tyrants bleeding their people across the Arab World ...


NO KENNEDY: French Star Blasts Obama for Inaction on Syria


Does that mean that I think a Post Assad Syria ( or what is left of it) is not troublesome ? ...


I don't think I have ever suggested that in my blogs or alerts.


The truth is no one knows.


But what I do know is that the Russians and Chinese are largely responsible for the dramatic turn of events and bloodshed.


So If a Post Assad Syria turns into what I fear a long and enduring conflice similar to what Lebanon or Yougoslave witnessed ( and something which I warned against early on) with many Arms dealers from all over the world selling arms to the Highest bidder and if we see the emergence of islamic radicals far more brutal, unpredictable and fanatic than Assad's henchmen ...


Well I do know who to blame for that : The same peaceniks liberals who in the name of being "Anti War" and "Citizens of the World" opposed an urgent intervention in Libya ...


NIAC’s Hamid Dabashi Denounces Hypocrisy of Foreign Intervention in Libya


Cause these naive "experts" and "Anti West" demagogues are actually far more responsbile for the bloody turn of events across the Arab World (as they were when they failed to predict the bloody crackdown which followed the elections in Iran in 2009) than any arms dealer or local dictator because they have actually been partners in the crimes which have unfolded just like Nevil Chamberlain was when he claimed to defend "Peace".

So to conclude I would say that If history should have tought us anything particularly to those who claim to lead us or the world ... then they should know better that When one fears a conflict only because one is merely indecisive and lack leadership skills then you actually end up creating a far more bloody one.




My Humble but Blunt Opinion,




PS: I am actually working on a future Blog on this particular situation in Libya and the dilemmas faced by the Transitional Council. So stay tuned.






I don't like Assad

by Rea on

But I like islamists even less.

Look at the mess we (the West) have provoked in Libya. Can you honestly say, DK, it was worth it ?

Darius Kadivar

New Syria clashes as UN envoy set to arrive

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Syrian troops launch fresh assaults on rebels, activists say, as a UN envoy travels to Damascus to discuss peace proposals

New Syria clashes as UN team due (bbc)



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U.N. pushes for cease-fire monitor team

by Darius Kadivar on

U.N. pushes for cease-fire monitor team (CNN, VIDEO)


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  • The regime has promised to pull forces out of cities by next week
  • At least 74 people were killed Tuesday, opposition activists said


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Who would take over after al-Assad?

by Darius Kadivar on

Who would take over after al-Assad? (cnn)


(CNN) -- For 12 bloody, horrific months, Syrian dissidents and many world leaders have dreamt of one outcome for the Syrian crisis: the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.

But who would take over the embattled country remains a mystery -- one that could be fueling the bloodshed that has already killed thousands.

Murhaf Jouejati, a Syrian-born scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, said foreign leaders may be reluctant to take stronger action against the regime because no one knows who would come to power.


  • The uncertainty over who would take over could be fueling the bloodshed, some say
  • The Syrian National Council has a plan for building a transitional government before elections
  • An expert says neither the vice president nor a rebel army leader is a likely successor
  • Syrian president's cousin: Al-Assad is too scared to step down


Darius Kadivar

Russian warns against arming Syrian opposition

by Darius Kadivar on

Syria rebels 'will not beat army' (bbc)


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Syria's opposition will never defeat the country's armed forces even if it is "armed to the teeth".

Mr Lavrov warned that there would be "slaughter for many years" if Western and Arab states intervened militarily and supplied weapons to rebel groups.

Gulf states agreed on Sunday to pay the salaries of Free Syrian Army fighters.

Meanwhile, the US has warned the Syrian government not to intensify violence ahead of a ceasefire due on 10 April. 



Darius Kadivar

US warns Syria regime over unrest

by Darius Kadivar on

US warns Syria regime over unrest (bbc)


The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, says the Security Council must respond urgently and seriously if Syria fails to honour a ceasefire deadline. 

Darius Kadivar

Jim Muir's Take

by Darius Kadivar on

The Istanbul meeting faces a mass of dilemmas, contradictions and complexities, with no clear way forward.

Western leaders talk of the need to step up pressure on the regime and support the opposition. But they have no intention of intervening militarily in any way, or even backing the rebels with weaponry.

The opposition is divided, and many of its fighters on the ground have been crushed by a ruthless crackdown. It is under pressure to accept the peace plan of Kofi Annan. The rebels know that in any talks, the balance of power will be heavily against them.

So there's little reason to hope for a swift end to the violence other than on the regime's terms. It clearly believes it has little to fear from the Istanbul gathering.

Darius Kadivar

'Friends of Syria ' raise pressure on Assad

by Darius Kadivar on

'Friends' raise pressure on Syria (bbc)


Foreign ministers from more than 70 Western and Arab countries have sought to increase pressure on Syria at a key meeting in Istanbul.

The "Friends of the Syria" summit warned Damascus not to stall on implementing a UN-Arab peace plan and stressed support for the opposition.

However key players remained absent, including Russia, China and Iran.

Damascus dubbed the summit the "enemies of Syria" and has declared its victory over rebel fighters.


Darius Kadivar

Syria National Council: Humanitarian help plea for Syria

by Darius Kadivar on

Humanitarian help plea for Syria(bbc VIDEO)


More than 70 countries will attend a Friends of Syria conference in Istanbul on Sunday to raise pressure on President Assad to abide by a peace plan proposed by the United Nations and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan.

It calls for the government to pull troops and heavy weapons out of population centres, and for a daily pause in fighting to allow humanitarian aid to reach affected areas.

Dr Bassma Kodmani from the Syrian National Council told the BBC's Jonathan Head that ''concrete measures'' are needed to address the ''humanitarian crisis'' in Syria. 

Darius Kadivar

UK doubles aid to Syria opponents

by Darius Kadivar on

The UK is doubling its non-military aid to opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague says.

UK doubles aid to Syria opponents (bbc)



Darius Kadivar

Syrian novelist writes for opposition

by Darius Kadivar on

Syrian novelist writes for opposition (cnn)


Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa is one of the few established artists to voice support for the country's opposition.

  • When Bashar al-Assad took power, writers thought he might allow them more freedom
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Darius Kadivar

Arab states back Syria peace plan

by Darius Kadivar on

Arab League states call for the immediate implementation of a plan to end a year of violence in Syria as Syria's president says he backs the plan.

Arab states back Syria peace plan (bbc)



Darius Kadivar

Annan in Beijing for Syria talks

by Darius Kadivar on

The UN and Arab League peace envoy, Kofi Annan, arrives in Beijing to seek China's support for his Syria peace initiative, as violence continues.

Annan in Beijing for Syria talks (bbc)





Darius Kadivar

U.S., Turkish leaders agree on next steps on Syria

by Darius Kadivar on

U.S., Turkish leaders agree on next steps on Syria -


CNN) -- The United States and Turkey are in "full agreement" on the next steps on Syria as world leaders continue trying to stop the year-long massacre that has killed thousands.

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday in South Korea, ahead of this week's nuclear summit in Seoul.



  • NEW: At least 23 people are killed across Syria on Sunday, opposition activists say
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  • The Syrian military pounds Homs, looking for defectors, opposition activists say



Darius Kadivar

Obama & Turkey to Pursue 'Non-Lethal' Aid for Syrian Rebels

by Darius Kadivar on

US to Pursue 'Non-Lethal' Aid for Syrian Rebels - ABC News


Seeking to stem the violence in Syria, the U.S. and other key allies are considering providing Syrian rebels with communications help, medical aid and other "non-lethal" assistance.

President Barack Obama discussed the potential aid options Sunday in a lengthy private meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both leaders are in Seoul, South Korea for a nuclear security summit.


Darius Kadivar

US warns Syria over UN peace plan

by Darius Kadivar on

US warns Syria over UN peace plan (bbc)


The US warns Syria to comply with a UN-backed peace plan, as government tanks shell suburbs of Damascus