Syria: The West’s Paralysis

Siria war (Homs) FreedomHouseMarco Calamai in Reset DOC:

To what point can international indifference continue in the face of such massacre? Unease within the Obama administration is growing. Uncertain about what to do after recently recognising the SNC (Syrian National Council), a body that assembles a more responsible opposition from an American viewpoint but which only represents ten political groups amongst many more which constitute the rebel front.

Understanding what to do is not easy. If the regime rests in the hands of one group (Alawite clans close to the Assad family), on the other hand opposition is divided into dozens of groups who compete against each other and hold profoundly different views of the future. There are multiple strategic visions amongst militants close to Al Qaeda and the secular who would like a State respectful of the different religious cultures constituting the Syrian terrain (Sunnites, Alawites, Druzes, Christians…). The confrontation/clash between these trends renders international political mediation, impossible so far, strenuous. This is affected in turn by diverging expectations of the main countries closely following the conflict’s evolution: the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi-Arabia.

Who delights in the armed conflict’s aggravation? Is the Financial Times correct in identifying the growing influence of Sunni Salafism as the most worrying political risk in the Syrian conundrum? Time is getting shorter, as the impression, of a situation more and more distant from a secure exit route is gaining ground. This could somehow avert an even bigger humanitarian crisis than the present one, which threatens to put the fragile balance of the Middle East at risk. The uncertain evolution of the situation in Egypt, permanent doubts on Iraq’s future, the uncertain internal situation in Libya, the unresolved Palestinian question along with Israel’s aggressive drive, and justified worries about Lebanon’s future do not bode well.