The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should be a technical agency of the UN. But it has arguably become a piece in a geo-political chess game dominated by the US, invited into Syria to act in contravention of its remit.
With a fractious
opposition internally and rival external powers engaged, the prospects are
challenging for the ‘Geneva II’ conference on Syria. Threat of indictment for
war crimes by the International Criminal Court could concentrate combatant minds.
If by any chance a rogue group gets hold
of CW – even from an entirely different source – and uses them, we will be back
to the prospect of missile strikes again. Knowing that to be the case, some
rogue groups may well set out to provoke just that.
The Iron Wall of Jabotinsky has to be torn down, and it can only be torn down through long term civil and ideological struggles against this heritage of Zionism, with the Palestinians living inside the green line playing a crucial part.
Every time the Gulf States’ rulers justify their support for violent
rebels in Syria or the military regime in Egypt by appealing to the unalienable
right of peoples to basic rights and representative governance, they legitimize
the Arab Spring in the eyes of their own peoples, too.
Obama’s overture to Rouhani is costing the United States the goodwill of some old pro-Washington friends in the Arab world. When Prince Bandar, a close friend of the United States and a trusted adviser to the Saudi King, issues threats, Washington must listen.
Below the radar of the Geneva-2 peace talks, Bosnian and Syrian women are holding meetings to discuss the lessons that must be learnt from the failure of the Dayton Agreement. Madeleine Rees argues that without the voices of those who have the greatest stake in preserving peace in their countries, peace agreements don't work.
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as applied in Libya promoted regime change and western interests. Resistance to
a proposed intervention in Syria shows emerging powers and public opinion will
not accept an ends justify the means logic, and the US ‘exceptionalism’ that is
said to justify it.
Civil resistance is not sufficient to bring down a ruthless regime, as
one can see in Bahrain or in Yemen. But dismantling the ideological base of the
regime is an essential first step, whether violent or nonviolent.
If Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad had worked towards unlearning the new reality which Sykes-Picot aimed to create in the Arab World, the current deadlock in the Syrian-Iraqi situation would never have happened.
R2P – and even the terms of the debate – tend to privilege the military option,
though there is little empirical basis for thinking military strikes will best
deter those harming civilians. Protection strategies need a deeper analysis of
all potential levers of influence. Español,العربية.
Using the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to justify decisions to intervene militarily abroad is often self-serving.
Countries like India are ambiguous about the right to intervene because the
practice is deeply inequitable.
The recent debate over military action in Syria –
and the upcoming Commons Defence Committee’s Inquiry on UK intervention
strategy - shows how data and information in conflict is changing the
imperatives of decision-making.
The two Iraqi Kurdish parties’ entanglement in the Syrian Kurdish issues seems to have resulted in anti-Assad rebels and extreme jihadists retaliating against the KRG, in a spillover of the Syrian civil war.
military intervention would prolong the war and increase the carnage still
further. But this does not mean that the US in conjunction with others,
including Syrian civil society, cannot do anything to help the situation. Reply to Nader Hashemi.
This is a reply to Stephen Zunes' response to the author. Zunes argues that violent or nonviolent movements alike must be determined by the strategies and tactics that maximize their chances of success. The author counters that Zunes is ignoring what most Syrian citizens want from the international community.