01 November 2014
U.S.-led airstrikes expanded despite continued lack of coherent strategy; over 500 jihadis, dozens of civilians reported killed since late Sept. U.S. mid-month increased air support for Kurdish forc ...
The PYD (Kurdish Democratic Union Party) has imposed its dominance in northern Syria, but its long-run prospects – like those of the areas it controls – depend on the party’s ability to adopt a more balanced and inclusive strategy.
While a diplomatic settlement of the Syrian war is unrealistic at present, it remains the only viable option. It will require difficult steps by local, regional and international actors to accommodate competing interests.
Syria’s conflict gives its Kurdish population an opening to rectify historic wrongs and push for more autonomy, but facing internal divisions, poor ties with the non-Kurdish opposition and regional rivalries, its challenge is to articulate clear, unified and achievable demands.
As fighting rages in Aleppo, the combination of a regime morphing into a formidable militia and an Alawite community fearing for its survival leaves Syria’s opposition – itself threatened with radicalisation – with a difficult task: to tackle its own demons, reach out to the Alawites and focus on restoring strife-torn institutions.
With the Syrian crisis having taken a perilous turn, predictable obstacles in implementing UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan should not lead to give up on what – for now at least – remains the only serious option on the table.
Kofi Annan’s appointment as joint UN/Arab League Special Envoy arguably offers a chance to rescue fading prospects for a negotiated transition in Syria. It must not be squandered.
The Syrian crisis has entered its most dangerous stage, requiring urgent attention to issues that the international community and Syrian opposition have largely been ignoring.
UN Should Mandate Unhindered Humanitarian Access To and Within Syria
1 November 2013: The U.S.-Russian agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal has led many observers to hope for a political breakthrough. A more immediate and realistic objective, as well as a more reliable yardstick by which to measure various parties’ good-will, should be on the humanitarian front, where the situation is deteriorating rapidly and relentlessly.
1 September 2013: Assuming the U.S. Congress authorises them, Washington (together with some allies) soon will launch military strikes against Syrian regime targets. If so, it will have taken such action for reasons largely divorced from the interests of the Syrian people.
Syria: Quickly Going beyond the Point of No Return
3 May 2011: The situation in Syria is quickly going beyond the point of no return. By denouncing all forms of protest as sedition, and dealing with them through escalating violence, the regime is closing the door on any possible honourable exit to a deepening national crisis. The optimal outcome is one whose chances are dwindling by the day: an immediate end to the violence and a genuine national dialogue to pave the way for a transition to a representative, democratic political order.
Conflict Risk Alert: Syria’s Tipping Point
3 Nov 2011
Conflict Risk Alert: Syria
25 Mar 2011
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