Syria

Five ways to solve the crisis in Syria: Stop the War's reply to the Guardian

Five ways to solve the crisis in Syria: Stop the War's reply to the Guardian
11 February 2012     Chris Nineham     Middle East and North Africa

By Chris Nineham
Stop the War Coalition
9 February 2012

The Guardian newspaper asked Stop the War to comment on five different ways the outside world could respond to the crisis in Syria. Chris Nineham, national officer of Stop the War, gives our reply.

Full-scale military intervention
Up to a million Iraqis lost their lives as a result of western intervention. The same people who backed that war are now pressing for further war. The Nato bombing of Libya increased the killing of civilians. National Transitional Council sources in Libya themselves admit that while between 1,000 and 2,000 people died before the intervention, around 10 times that many died after Nato became involved. Libya remains in a state close to chaos with the civil war intensifying since the fall of Tripoli. If this is the advert for humanitarian bombing, there is something wrong with the product. Given the utter disaster caused by western intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq it is amazing that this option is even being contemplated.

Safe zones and humanitarian corridor
The reality is safe zones and humanitarian corridors have to be enforced militarily. They involve foreign tanks on the ground or fighters in the air and most likely both. This means a military violation of Syria's sovereignty: in other words, an internationalisation of the conflict, which is one of the things most commentators are rightly terrified of. In the Libyan case, the misnamed "no fly zones" - really zones in which only foreign fighter planes are tolerated - morphed in to a massive bombing campaign without even one western plane being attacked.

Jim Roche of IAWM on Syria...

Syria: what can be done? Five commentators discuss the merits of five ways in which the outside world could respond to Syria's c

Syria: what can be done?
Five commentators discuss the merits of five ways in which the outside world could respond to Syria's crisis

Abdel Bari Atwan, Michael Weiss, Seumas Milne, Shashank Joshi and Mehdi Hasan
guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 February 2012 10.30 GMT

1. Full-scale military intervention?

Abdel Bari Atwan I am opposed to military intervention by the west. Syria is not Libya, the army is well-armed and equipped with sophisticated weaponry. We would witness catastrophic civilian casualties. We have already seen the disasters caused by such intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the dangers of an internationalisation of the conflict are too great, with Russia, Iran and possibly China standing with Syria and Hezbollah against Nato and Israel. Such action would need a UN resolution which is clearly not forthcoming given Russia and China vetoed the last attempt to condemn Assad.

Michael Weiss A "full-scale intervention" needs to be properly defined first. Does that mean a US ground assault into Damascus? Occupation? Frankly, I don't know anyone in the pro-intervention camp who advocates such a plan. However, we should be clear about the aim of any use of force in Syria at this stage: this will only end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power, as that is now the stated policy of western governments, Turkey and the Arab League.

Seumas Milne A direct invasion of Syria to topple the regime would be another disaster on the Iraq or Afghanistan model, lead to a catastrophic loss of life, trigger a long-running guerrilla war, draw in armed groups from neighbouring states and Iran against another western military occupation of an Arab, Muslim state. Fortunately, there is currently no significant support for such a course.

Western intervention in Syria won't work, so what's to be done to stop the killing?

Western intervention in Syria won't work, so what's to be done to stop the killing?

09 February 2012 Mehdi Hasan Middle East and North Africa

Whether we like it or not, it is incumbent upon those of us who are instinctively opposed to western military interventions in the Middle East to answer the question: what would you do to stop Assad?
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By Mehdi Hasan
New Statesman
9 February 2012

How do we stop the ongoing killings in Syria? It is an urgent and important question but one that defies a simple or easy answer.

Let's be clear: Syria is a human rights disaster. The revolution's death toll now exceeds 6,000 and thousands of others have been "disappeared" into the country's mini-gulags, to be tortured and starved. Syria's third-biggest city, Homs, is under daily bombardment from shells, mortars and machine-gun fire.

The images of the dead and maimed on our television screens are appalling. So what should be done to stop Bashar al-Assad's killing machine? Is it time to despatch the B-52s? Arm the opposition? Impose a no-fly zone?
That's where the discussion in western capitals and on our newspaper comment pages seems to be increasingly heading.

If only such military options were of any use. I abhor the cynicism and despotism of the Ba'athist regime in Damascus; I want Assad out - as all democrats and internationalists should. But foreign intervention isn't the way. Syria isn't Libya.

The latter is a nation of six and a half million people, while the former consists of more than 20 million. Unlike Libya, Syria's densely populated cities and towns are a mix of ethnic and religious communities; the country cannot be spliced into pro-rebel east and pro-dictator west. Dropping bombs from 5,000 feet would guarantee civilian casualties and rally some anti-Assad Syrians behind the regime.

The proxy war against Iran being fought by the US and Nato in Syria - 08 February 2012 Seumas Milne, THE GUARDIAN.

The proxy war against Iran being fought by the US and Nato in Syria
08 February 2012 Seumas Milne Middle East and North Africa

Western intervention in Syria – and Russia and China's opposition to it – can only be understood as part of a proxy war against Iran, which disastrously threatens to become a direct one.

By Seumas Milne
The Guardian
7 February 2012

There is no limit, it seems, to the blood price Arabs have to pay for their "spring".

After the carnage in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, Syria's 11-month-old uprising grows ever more gruesome.

Four days of bombardment of rebel-controlled districts in the Syrian city of Homs have yielded horrific images and reports from the embattled Bab al-Amr opposition stronghold: of mosques full of corpses, streets strewn with body parts, residential areas reduced to rubble.

Television footage broadcast in the Arab world is still more graphic, and the impact convulsive.

Whatever the arguments about the number of dead on either side, the scale of human suffering is unmistakable – and comes after almost a year of continuous bloodletting, torture and sectarian revenge attacks.

So when Russia and China vetoed Saturday's western-sponsored UN resolution condemning Bashar al-Assad's regime, requiring his troops to return to barracks and backing an Arab League plan for him to be replaced, US and British leaders and their allies, echoed by the western media, felt able to denounce it as a "disgusting" and "shameful" act of betrayal of Syrians.

The Reality Behind the Coming "Regime Change" in Syria

The Reality Behind the Coming "Regime Change" in Syria
By Shamus Cooke
January 25, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ---  After meeting again to decide Syria's fate, the Arab League again decided to extend its "monitoring mission" in Syria. However, some Arab League nations under U.S. diplomatic control are clamoring for blood. These countries — virtual sock puppets of U.S. foreign policy — want to declare the Arab League monitoring mission "a failure,” so that military intervention — in the form of a no fly zone — can be used for regime change.   

The United States appears to be using a strategy in Syria that it has perfected over the years, having succeeded most recently in Libya: arming small paramilitary groups loyal to U.S. interests that claim to speak for the native population; these militants then attack the targeted government the U.S. would like to see overthrown — including terrorist bombings — and when the attacked government defends itself, the U.S. cries "genocide" or "mass murder,” while calling for foreign military intervention.

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