The Mideastwire Blog

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

Negotiations With Bashar – Possible After All It Seems… ICG, USIP need to churn out some mitigation ideas ASAP

Walid Jumblatt said the other day that it would be crazy to negotiate with Bashar…. in fact, it is far more crazy NOT to get him into the machinery of an international process, given the horrible costs of direct confrontation AND the possibility of relative success given the weak actor position of Bashar.

So what do we know now:

1) there is no mythical point of no return where negotiations magically, automatically become IMPOSSIBLE (we negotiate with FAR worse than Bashar often for good reasons)

2) Instead of the conflict mitigation crowd throwing its hands up early on in the conflict and saying “there is little the international community can do” to encourage/wedge Bashar down a reform path, a smart strategy of putting a REAL grand bargain out there for the the regime, then catching it up in the guts of a concerted and unified international process would have saved lives and had a better chance of long term success in terms of the key goals 1) averting regional war 2) minimizing syrian deaths and injuries and 3) steadily digging out spaces for genuine freedom and democracy in Syria (and why not in the monarchies too while we are at it…)

I thought negotiations were best done in march/april OF LAST YEAR – instead the field was left open to the HARD STICK crowd who always craved a violent confrontation with the Assads. I still thought, here, that the political track was the least worst option in february of this year.

The hard stick/war boys almost won – and they still might.

Now is the time to invest in the political track, step back from the key demand that bashar goes – AS THE UN AND US NOW HAVE EFFECTIVELY – and use syria’s incredible weakness patiently against it to drain the regimes ability and desire to exercise violence internally or externally.

Sometimes the best (morally and strategically) way to deal with a murderer who can wreck great destruction in the immediate neighborhood, at least (unlike a Hitler say, where such a track was plain stupid), is NOT by going for a direct conflict.

Obliquely undermine Bashar – NOW.

OPEN CALL FOR SUGGESTIONS – ICG, USIP and others should all be CHURNING out suggestions on how to make the Six point plan work best…. THE GROUND WAS CEDED TO WINEP and others early on – dont lose this opportunity.

Even Hassan Nasrallah now realizes that this may have to come to pass (more on this today in Foreign Policy).

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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