The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

HuffPost: A Third Way on Syria Is Still Possible

From my piece today in Huffpost… read in full here

Beirut — In yet another incredibly dangerous turn in the Middle East, “liberal interventionists” are once again joining forces with “hawkish” neoconservative voices to advocate for the collapse of the Syrian regime — sooner rather than later.

Unlike in the run-up to the disastrous Iraq War, however, this Neo-LiberalCon consensus is gaining the advantage with seemingly few, if any, credible alternatives posed, save for a weak attempt by the Obama administration to pose a “grand bargain” for the Syrian regime that really boils down to four not-so-grand words: “reform or die fighting.”

Of course, as most of Obama’s advisors know, this is simply not a credible international roadmap for an embattled regime where its outside enemies hold such a clear preponderance of power (not to mention occupied Syrian territory).

Moreover, the Obama “plan” actually offers nothing positive — no carrots — to the regime or elites that might either entice them into a real stabilization and transition process or produce enough divisions within the regime, in the event of a rejection, to boost the position of soft-liners towards a tipping point (thereby mitigating the prospect of future violence in any implosion).

As a result of this idea vacuum, the Neo-LiberalCon tsunami grows by the day, publicly eschewing armed, Libyan-style intervention (although, given past statements, it is likely the neo-con wing privately hopes for this), and instead posits a policy by powerful external actors that would accelerate Syria’s internal contradictions and pressures to the breaking point.

One essential problem with this formulation is that the result, especially for the people of Syria, will likely be even worse than the kind of civil war that obtains to this day in Libya. As one Syrian activist who crossed into Lebanon casually told a Western reporter earlier this month, he could contemplate the need for sacrificing the lives of 2-3 million Syrians for freedom.



Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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