Dimitris Rapidis

Where is Assad?

As rumours over Assad’s sheltering are increasing, the UN Security Council has been the scene of diplomatic confrontation between Russia -backed by China-and the rest of the Western members over future actions.

During the ad hoc Security Council Summit Russia and China were stood against any sanctions proposed by the Western members to press Assad over his massacre policy. The gap observed in the summit proves a deep confrontation over the future of Syria without Assad and it is linked with the conflicting interests of the UN Security Council’s member-states, as I pointed out in my recent article. It seems that as conditions and escalation are getting tougher, the future of Assad might be similar of Gaddafi’s, unless he finds safe shelter elsewhere outside Syria.

Besides Assad’s future, Syria is now faced with a humanitarian crisis that the UN and the European Union should get interested in. Besides any transitional regime prepared, the UN and the European Union should press both sides to ceasefire and provide shelter for EU citizens to leave the country peacefully. Even if Syria is now internationally blocked and communication is weakening, all diplomatic corps left back in Damascus have to undertake the role of a strong shield to avoid further collateral damages.

In addition to that, adjacent states like Israel and Lebanon should be specifically careful to control a spillover of violence, as a possible rivalry between Iran, Turkey and the Arab states might be hardly inavoidable. In any case, all parts involved in the international scene should try to give away any military effort against Assad that could further damage actual hardship. Unlike what followed Gaddafi’s massacre, in Syria ethnic clashes can spread all over the Middle East and sweep away fragile stability with unexpected consequences.

Interestingly, the civil war in Syria can be temporarily ceased due to the entering of the Ramazani period that will last until mid-August. During this month both parts have to refrain from hostilities -I strongly consider this 30-day period as a fundamental chance for diplomatic efforts from the international community in order to reach a definite solution. Otherwise, in shortage of true efforts both parts will get even stronger to continue this blooshed that caused tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the country for solace, and more than 16,000 having died since the uprising began in March 2011.

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