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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid