The essential fact of the sectarian conflicts (internal and external) that have characterized the MidEast for decades has been the artificial boundaries left behind by empire and the colonial powers. The basic question facing any political approach to restoring peace would be whether to seek to preserve those boundaries or […]
Archive for category: Syria
One cannot deny that action in Syria is long-overdue. The question that remains – which is currently being debated by Western power-brokers – is what form such action should take.
The UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Iraq was a major advance for world law as for the first time, a non-state actor is held responsible for upholding universally-recognized human rights standards.
The struggles by ethnic and religious groups left behind by empire cannot be resolved by outsiders. These competing groups need to find their own way – even fight their own way – to arrive at boundaries and arrangements they can live with. Any foreign intervention risks alienating one side or […]
The military options for the West vis-a-vis Iraq and the IS are limited without some ability to operate permissively in Syria. This would require movement toward a political settlement to the Syrian civil war and an arrangement with Assad. We would need to work with those we find in power […]
There are arguments that to prosecute is to interfere with the right of self-determination of the Syrian people. However, when there is evidence of mass atrocities, with clear ideas as to who is responsible, the prosecution cannot be considered to be “taking sides”.
The trajectory of the Geneva II negotiations – either towards convergence (resolution) or divergence (non-resolution) – will affect the outcome of one of the most violent and protracted conflicts in the Middle East.
Research by women’s right organizations purports that the prevalence of child marriage is not due to lack of awareness about the concerns of the practice, but due to the social prejudice that girls face. While reports are inconclusive as to the rate of increase of child marriages among refugee populations, […]
In the chaos of Syria’s civil war local peacebuilders are finding ways to bring respite for tired civilians from suffering and danger.
Below the radar of the forthcoming Geneva-2 peace talks, Bosnian and Syrian women are holding meetings to discuss the lessons that must be learnt from the failure of the Dayton Agreement. However, without the voices of those who have the greatest stake in preserving peace in their countries, peace agreements […]
Looking at Syria through the lenses of a few selected Principles of Conflict Transformation can offer new suggestions for peaceful actions as the fatigue of violence continues to grow.
Regarding existential, zero-sum struggles it matters which side has more options.
That Syria has been on a downward spiral since 2011 is not news. Any solution for Syria must not be limited in scope. Tackling chemical weapons is only one part of the entire deal. If a middle path between the use of force and non-action can be carved, using just […]
The UN would likely play a key role in verifying and overseeing an effort to put Syria’s weapons under international control. But the UN Security Council can only work if the two remaining superpowers put their backs into it.
Aiming to “transform conflict” would inject new energy into the diplomatic process around Syria, by finding new common interests between adversaries.
For the US to act as part of the international community and through the UN, it must commit itself in this particular case – and in general – to a diplomatic strategy of building common perceptions and sharing understandings.
The United States has only to gain from the likely military intervention which will give it unrestricted access to Syria’s oil reserves, with a larger control over the neighbouring oil producers and trade routes. The intervention comes at an opportune time for the superpower when the global economy has forced […]
The responsibility to protect is an international responsibility and not the exclusive burden of any one country, not even the US. But the use of force now or at any time should be left to the Security Council to decide. President Obama should now earn his Noble Peace Prize by […]
In the two years since the conflict began, civilian deaths have unfolded in unimaginable numbers, yet the international community did not act. With respect to the Responsibility to Protect, therefore, are the lives that have been taken thus far worth less than the potential use of chemical weapons? Are we […]
To understand what a militarily-inspired democratic transplant might achieve in Syria, one might look at what happened when the Iraqi Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
With the top of the leadership pyramid removed, the societies left behind were rife with internal divisions. Without any historical experience, or sufficient wealth to divide among all claimants, they were never going to assemble themselves into polities and societies peacefully resolving their differences through constitutional, liberal mechanisms. Nor were they going […]
Even though conservative Islam is not much appreciated among the liberal and secular Bosniak and Albanian communities in the Western Balkans, radical groups show an increasing online and real-life presence.
Decentralizing the Syrian peace process is a pragmatic answer to the fact that the rebels don’t have a central authority, and that it is very likely that some factions will continue fighting when an armistice is concluded.
Can a decentralised transitional power model – as proposed in ‘Solving the Syrian conflict starts with building trust’ – really be carried out by western diplomats who have already demonstrated the deficiencies of their knowledge of Syria?
There has been a failure of public diplomacy by the US, the UK, France and Germany to serve the interests of stability in either Serbia or Syria, and thus a failure to strengthen or secure both ‘western’ interests, and the interests of the poor people of these two countries.