Posted by Joshua on Monday, February 6th, 2012
Watch Syrian Instability: How Would Rest of World Respond? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
Ray Suarez discusses other countries’ diplomatic and military options and the mounting pressure on Assad’s regime with the University of Oklahoma’s Joshua Landis and Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute of Peace.
Many readers have asked me to post the location of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria:
Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria
for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012
The US embassy was closed today. Its many Syrian employees are now looking for jobs. I got to know many of them over the years. They were always professional, welcoming and kind. More and more businesses are being shuttered.
Col. Adnan al-Asaad, the Colonel who claims to lead the Free Syrian Army, says on the BBC that the Syrian National Council are traitors who have done nothing for the Syrian people. He claims that they have given no material or political support to the military effort.
Hillary Clinton warns of ‘brutal civil war’ in Syria, By PATRICK J. MCDONNELL – Los Angeles Times
ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — Abdulhakim Bashar, the head of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), said he has obtained international guarantees for the rights of Kurds in Syria after the fall of Bashar Assad’s regime.
Bashar told Rudaw that his council has the support of America, Britian and France. His claims were not independently verified.
Bashar said the KNC has had talks with the British, French and American foreign ministries last month.
“Officials at the British foreign ministry said that they would support the demands of the Kurds in Syria and that they would try to organize the KNC like the SNC.” Bashar said.
Bashar added, “We told the British officials that we are concerned that the Arab-dominated SNC (Syria National Council) may ignore our rights in the future, but they assured us that they will pressure any future Syrian government to recognize the rights of the Kurds and Christians.”
Bashar said he also received reassurances from French and US State Department officials that they would support Kurdish rights if Bashar al-Assad’s regime falls. A senior US official said the US would impose sanctions on Syria if Kurdish rights are not recognized.
Bashar said he is negotiations with the SNC to form a united alliance, but the SNC so far has not accepted the Kurdish rights to self-determination in the new Syria.
In birthplace of Syria’s uprising, a fragile military control, By Alice Fordham, February 5, Washington Post
Would Turkey intervene in Syria?
by EMRE USLU in Zaman
Recently, the Syrian regime has increased its operations against the opposition. The death toll has risen to such an unbearable level that the international community wants to step in. Yet, the UN is incapable of passing a resolution because Syria is strategically important for both Iran and Russia, and Russia has the right to veto resolutions before the UN Security Council.
The other option for stopping the bloodshed is NATO. However, there are obstacles before NATO, too. Who would lead the NATO coalition forces is one of the main questions. In Libya, it was France that led the coalition forces, yet when it comes to Syria, Turkey does not want France to play a similar role because Turkey considers Syria its own backyard. Second, delicate balances in Lebanon prevent France from taking bold steps.
Thus, the only feasible options before the international community are a US intervention and Turkey’s intervention with the Arab League. The US is less likely to intervene in 2012 because US politics are mainly being shaped by the upcoming elections, so the Obama administration would likely not open a new front in Syria. The only remaining option in this case is Turkey.
Turkey is against outside intervention in Syria. However, the level of bloodshed in Syria has created anger among the Turkish public towards Syria that may lead the government to reconsider its initial policies.
Even if Turkey changes its position and is willing to intervene in Syria, Turkey would not form a collation with the Arab League to conduct such a military operation. There are two reasons for this. First, the Turkish political elite have a deep distrust of the West, especially since the EU abandoned Cyprus and left Turkey alone in many cases. Hence, Turkey would not intervene in Syria because the Turkish political elite think that such action would backfire and open new doors for other countries to intervene in Turkey’s domestic affairs if the Kurdish question gets out of control. For Turkey, there must be international recognition that international force is needed prior to intervention. It seems that US policy makers are trying to build a coalition that consists of the Arab League and Turkey, but this is not enough for Turkey to intervene.
Second, Turkey has its own fears. Especially Iranian influence over some proxy organizations in Turkey and Bashar al-Assad’s influence on Turkey’s Alevi community make Turkey think twice when it comes to a military intervention in Syria. (*** See note below about Turkey’s Alevi community) Pro-Iranian Turkish journalists, for instance, have threatened Turkey, stating Turkey’s Alevi community is unhappy with Turkey’s policies regarding Syria. There is evidence of this threat as Alevi journalists and intellectuals have been harshly criticizing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s policies. Thus, for domestic reasons, too, Turkey is not likely to intervene.
The only way Turkey would intervene would be if the conflict gets out of control and refuges pour into Turkey, if Turkish public anger reaches a level that the Turkish government has to intervene and if Turkey is allowed to lead NATO forces with the support of the Arab League.