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Syrian crisis: Waiting for convenient time

As the conflict in Syria enters its third year, all hopes for any reconciliation in the near future appear grim. Even the imposition of international sanctions, suspension from the Arab League, inspection and destruction of WMD and subsequent failure of peace talks with rebels has not pushed Assad regime to take well-meaning measures. Instead, with every passing event, it is becoming evident that Syria is playing a calculated game wherein on one hand it is managing to mitigate external threats so that there is no direct threat at the same time it is prolonging credible resolution with the domestic opponents. If this continues, the ramifications could devastatingly impact the entire region.


After it was factually concluded by countries like Britain, France, US and the UN that Bashar Al Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons against its own people, the international community finally woke up from its deep slumber and tried to exert maximum pressure on the regime to stop the violence.

However, a unilateral action was not possible until Russia and China, the two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, stopped blocking the resolution.

President Obama even mulled over the possibility of military intervention in Syria to deter its atrocious actions against its own people. However, that plan was snapped due to domestic pressure and more importantly, Russia’s intervention that brokered a deal wherein the regime would get rid of its chemical weapons’ stockpiles.

Indeed, in October 2013, the UN confirmed that the regime had gotten rid of all its chemical weapons.

But the violence has continued nevertheless as the rebels continue to be supported by western countries like US, Britain and France while the government has the backing of countries like Iran and Russia and the hardliner Islamist organization-Hezbollah.

The death toll has crossed over 1, 40,000 and neither side seems willing to shed violence. The recently held peace talks between the rebels and the government have also almost failed as the two sides cannot get over their differences over the future role of President Assad.

As a result, the society is suffering which is causing a mass exodus of displaced Syrians who are being forced to leave their conflict ravaged country to seek refuge in other countries.

They have gone as far as Italy, Sweden and even US but the real pressure of the refugees is being felt by neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon and Turkey.

In the neighboring countries, because their cultural, ethnic and religious background is similar, it is creating socio-political friction and tension.

The neighboring countries are also becoming increasingly impatient with the never-ending conflict in Syria. Undoubtedly, as more and more extremist groups get tempted to exert their force in Syria’s war, extremism and its ramifications are spilling beyond the borders of Syria.

Thus, it is no longer only Syria’s civil war as it is threatening the peace and stability of the entire region as whole.

It was always a plausible consequence that this would happen, but since the conflict has reached this stage, it is very difficult to predict exactly where the country, the region and the interests of concerned parties are headed.

The duration and degree of the conflict has escalated all levels of sanity which makes it impossible to even envisage a logical conclusion to this conflict anymore.

However, conversely, the fact that now, the regional stakeholders are getting short-tempered at the state of affairs, one can expect the pressure to build up on the regime in Damascus.

Up until now, the reason why the regime has managed to maintain ground is because of two factors.

Of course, it has the backing of countries like Iran and Russia, who are fighting a proxy war for their own interests through the regime. Then there is Hezbollah which is strongly backing the regime as well.

But, apart from this, Assad’s regime is playing a deviously strategic game. It seems to be a well calculated game-plan wherein, in order to mitigate maximum external pressure, they are putting up a façade that they are working towards peace through small-time concessions like allowing inspections and peace talks.

This way, they are able to avert the threats of external physical intervention, while still maintaining their fight with the rebels.

Thus, they are adamantly prolonging the situation, because they believe they are able to tackle the rebels. However, the regime is showing no seriousness whatsoever in tackling the root cause of the problem which is basically the opposing views on the regime itself.

As a result, as the rebels will continue to be funded and the regime will continue to remain on the offensive, hiding behind a charm offensive, even the by-interests of international stakeholders will be threatened.

Therefore, the region is headed for more uncertainty and hostility.

The only way that some logical conclusion could possibly be brought about is if the regional countries, along with international pressure through the UN and other rights agencies, setup a committee of elders or international experts to monitor and coordinate Syria’s efforts towards peace and stability.

In addition, the regime must, by now, realize that they are undeniably responsible to bring stability, hold talks with rebels, apply peaceful means of negotiation so that they are able to bring some credibility, which will only work in their favor.