News / Middle East

Analysts: No Quick Solution Seen for Conflict in Syria

An image taken from footage uploaded on YouTube shows Syrian anti-government protesters flooding the streets of the central city of Hama, July 8, 2011
An image taken from footage uploaded on YouTube shows Syrian anti-government protesters flooding the streets of the central city of Hama, July 8, 2011

Multimedia

Al Pessin

The protests and crackdown are continuing in Syria in spite of growing international calls for an end to the violence, and an effort by the Syrian government to placate protesters with a formal “national dialogue.”  Analysts say it will likely be difficult for either talks or international pressure to end the Syrian crisis anytime soon.

Pro-democracy activists in Syria remain undaunted by security forces matched against them.

For months now, they have taken to the streets across the country, usually after Friday prayers. The costs are high. Rights groups say at least 1,600 civilians have died in the government's crackdown.

The government puts the blame on terrorists and Islamists.  And Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refuses to give up the power his family and Baath Party supporters have held for nearly 50 years.

Alia Brahimi is a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics:

“If Bashar al-Assad were to open up the political arena, were he to free up the media, were he to talk about free and fair elections, that would hasten the downfall of the regime," said Alia Brahimi. "And that is not something that he, but more importantly the people around him, would be willing to see happen.”

Yet earlier this week the government did convene a national dialogue, chaired by Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa -- who expressed willingness to move toward a multi-party system.  

Top activists boycotted the meeting...  

And it ended without a breakthrough, beyond a call for the release of political prisoners.   

Brahimi says just as Syrian officials see little room for democracy, protesters see no future for the regime.

“That’s what makes the situation so unstable and so dangerous, because while they view it in these stark terms, the protesters very much have a feeling that there’s no going back and that these sorts of protests are the only option they have available to them in terms of forcing a break with the past and building a better future," she said.

As the protests and repression continue, international outrage grows.

"These assaults must stop," she said.

Both U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama say Mr. al-Assad has lost legitimacy.

"I think that increasingly you're seeing President Assad lose legitimacy in the eyes of his people and that's why we've been working at an international level to make sure that we keep the pressure up, to see if we can bring some real change in Syria," said President Obama.

But the Syrian government is not wilting under such pressure, and has won support from Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby. He rejects what he calls "foreign interference" in Syria.

Also this week, crowds of government supporters attacked the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus after the two countries’ ambassadors visited the restive city of Hama to express their support for protesters.

But while the West’s rhetoric on Syria matches what officials were saying about Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi several months ago, there is no move toward military intervention as in Libya.

Richard Dalton is a former British Ambassador to Libya. He says western powers are reluctant to get involved in Syria,  which has a much stronger military than Libya, and a much more central position in the volatile Middle East.

“You have to face the fact that the international community can not intervene in every situation where such oppression or worse developments arise," said Richard Dalton.

And even if the repression in Syria worsens, an intervention could trigger a major regional conflict, says Metsa Rahimi of the London-based Janusian Risk Advisory Group.

“There’s so much more at stake in Syria should the international community intervene," said Metsa Rahimi. "If the international community intervenes, we’re going to see reactions from Iran, notably, Lebanon, Israel, all around Syria.”

So the future of Syria may remain an internal issue, analysts say, and could take a long time to resolve, with lots more bloodshed along the way.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid