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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid