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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More