Searching for Solutions in Syria

Nile Bowie

June 11, 2012

For sixteen months, the people of Syria have undergone economic
hardship, tremendous human suffering and the unparalleled horrors of
war. As the Syrian opposition officially abandons the ceasefire and
calls for foreign intervention and the imposition of a no-fly zone [1],
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a new transition
plan that would topple the government of Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad, signaling the increasing possibility of intervention outside
the mandate of the United Nations [2]. Following clashes between
militant rebel groups and government forces that claimed the lives of 80
Syrian troops [3], rebels in Aleppo have reportedly taken 11 hostages
and vowed to release them only when a new state is established [4].
While Bashar al-Assad attributes the perpetuation of Syria’s crisis to
outside forces [5], Iran has expressed its readiness to mount an armed
resistance against foreign military forces in Syria [6]. Regardless of
who perpetrated the recent killings in Qubayr and Houla, the profoundly
disturbing images of lifeless children begs the question, has the Syrian
crisis reached a point of incorrigibility? 

Western media has largely relied on unconfirmed opposition accounts
crediting the Shabiha, pro-government Alawite militias with carrying out
massacres across Syria as a result of the Assad government
“brainwashing the militia into believing the Sunni majority was their
enemy,” as reported by The Telegraph [7]. Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has recently reported
that anti-Assad Sunni militants carried out the massacre in Houla,
targeting pro-government Alawi and Shia minorities, “Those killed were
almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia
minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population is Sunni. Several dozen
members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to
Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed,
as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is
regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the
perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then
presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet” [8]. 

Human Rights Watch has also released a report entitled “Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses,”
documenting the outstanding cases of violence exercised by the Syrian
opposition, who have been accused of kidnapping, detaining, torturing
and executing of members of the Syrian military and civilian government
supporters [9]. HRW reports that attacks by opposition groups are
conducted largely on sectarian grounds, motivated by anti-Shia and
anti-Alawite sentiments, citing abuses committed by militant Salafist
groups and members of the opposition Free Syrian Army. Although UN
observers admit they are unable to determine the perpetrators of the
recent massacre in Qubayr with no firm evidence to inculpate the Syrian
government, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has declared that the Assad government
has lost its legitimacy [10], channeling calls by President Barak Obama,
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David
Cameron for Assad to step down [11]. 


Continue reading, including several solutions based on evenly enforcing a UN peace plan, here at Readers may also be interested in a very similar plan put forward by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov found on RT here.