It certainly is possible to see 100,000 dead over the next year in Syria, but what ever “diplomacy” the UN’s Special Envoy to Syria envisions won’t get the two sides to the table anytime soon.
The rebels are adamant that they won’t talk until Assad leaves power. Assad says he won’t talk until the “terrorists” are defeated and lay down their arms. This is a recipe for stalemate unless backers for the two sides — Russia for the regime and Gulf States like Saudi Arabia for the rebels — put pressure on their clients to make peace.
Voice of America:
Speaking Sunday in Cairo, Brahimi said the warring sides are not speaking to each other, despite his recent intensified diplomatic efforts to promote a peace plan approved by world and regional powers last June in Geneva. The U.N.-Arab League envoy said “help is needed from the outside” to start a Syrian national dialogue based on that plan.
The Algerian says the situation in Syria is deteriorating and if the civil war continues, Syria will turn into a Somalia-style failed state ruled by warlords.
The Geneva plan calls for all sides in Syria to end hostilities, enter a national dialogue, and form a transitional government leading to new elections. It says nothing about the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, an omission that appears to have stalled its progress.
Rebels refuse to negotiate unless Mr. Assad steps down and leaves the country, while the Syrian president insists on fighting what he calls “foreign-backed terrorists.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday he believes Syria’s rebels will achieve victory soon with “God’s help.” He was speaking to a cheering crowd of Syrian refugees at a Turkish camp near the border with Syria. The head of the exiled opposition Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Al-Khatib, accompanied Mr. Erdogan on the visit to the Akcakale camp.
Turkey is one of the strongest regional opponents of Mr. Assad and has provided shelter to about 150,000 Syrian refugees.
Russia, one of Mr. Assad’s few remaining allies, appeared to be making more preparations to evacuate its citizens from Syria as the conflict escalates. In reports published Sunday, Russian media said Moscow is sending a third warship to its naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, joining two vessels already en route. The news agencies said the third ship, the Novocherkassk, is expected to arrive at Tartus in early January.
Events may indeed, overtake any efforts at mediation. But despite setbacks, President Assad’s military still has considerable resources to fight while the rebels lack air power, armor, and are still hampered by a lack of organization.
The organization may improve over the next year. But no nation in their right mind is going to give the rebels any major weapons when extremists have infiltrated their army and will have an unknown impact on a post-Assad Syria.
There’s always the chance Assad will be ousted by his own people, but there has been no reason to believe that his loyal inner circle is ready to turn on him. They are Alawites also and are fighting for survival just like Assad. It is doubtful they would give up the war even if they got rid of the Syrian dictator.
No western intervention, no Russian pressure on Assad, no UN action, and a Special Envoy who is fresh out of ideas.
And no hope for Syria’s civilians, caught in a humanitarian disaster that will only get worse over time.