Sunday, April 29, 2012

Path to Peace in Syria

Bring peace to Syria will be as difficult as everyone wants it to be. From the very beginning the breakdown of peace was only helped to grow even more chaotic. Here we are today and once again the United Nations is going to take the blame for a peace operations failure.
Right of the top the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council fought each other instead of work together. The western countries (United Kingdom, France, Republic of the United States) are as much to blame for the breakdown as Russia and China. Each country has played politics with more of a domestic attention towards their own countries than they have towards Syria. That is the absolute reality. This entire situation could have been avoided if the will was there, yet it was not.
That lack of will was so clear from the outset that the current situation was as predictable as the sun shining. The immediate call for regime change was and still is the largest mistake made by many of the world leaders.  This mistake brought about many other mistakes. There is no good reason why only thirty Observers on the ground now. There is no good reason for supplying military equipment to opposition forces. There is no good reason for training forces outside of Syria and supporting their efforts to return to Syria.
What needs to be done now?
·         The ceasefire agreement still needs to be a point of focus. With that the Observer force needs to get on the ground as soon as possible in numbers of at least a thousand, more if possible.
·         Foreign journalists are good secondary observes but they can also be used for propagandist purposes. This is where people (like me) have to sift through all the information, find the sources, biases and reality. Truth can be manufactured and that needs to be deeply understood.
·         All border crossings and points of entry need to be locked down as tight as possible.
·         Arms embargo needs to be enforced and the complete disarming of all forces started immediately.
·         The world leaders need to support the legal structure of Syria and its constitution. The current government is the only legitimate leadership structure and that is the only avenue open for discussions.
·         The 26 February referendum results need to be a focal point of peace talks
·         A large peacekeeping force needs to be operational in conjunction with the Observer Force
These points are going to be almost impossible to implement, if it all. We know that the world leaders from outside Syria have only made things worse. Now we have to end that method and start within Syria.
As we look at the body count rising and the cities destroyed, we have to keep in mind that both sides of this must share equal responsibility. As internationals we must adhere to the current laws of Syria. Also we must focus on solutions and a future of peace. The current government of Syria has to be convinced that a peacekeeping force is not a breakdown of sovereignty. A peacekeeping force is there to strengthen the sovereignty of Syria.
Currently we are all embroiled in the chaos of violent conflict. Such a state clouds the mind and cements the cycle of hatred. As you read or watch the news take that frame of understanding and look past the blame and shouting that fills most media reports. We must tell our own governments to take such a view but first we must take that step. As you begin to see past through the cycle of hatred you can look to other wars like Palestine and Israel. Thus begins a new effort and path to peace.

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