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    The country off the agenda: Syria

    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD20 September 2012 - Okunma Sayısı: 958

     

    The bitter side is that the issue of Syria is progressively falling off the agenda of world public opinion.

    While the uprising in Syria turns into a civil war, gloomy news is continuing to come. Too many innocent people are either losing their lives or leaving their homes as refugees. On the other hand, it is seen that the struggle is coming to a deadlock. The bitter side is that the issue of Syria is progressively falling off the agenda of world public opinion. Unfortunately, there is neither the power nor will to solve this issue in the foreseeable future.

    Russia, China and Iran are continuing to support the Syrian regime, especially in areas of diplomacy, military and intelligence. Due to this support, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – for the present – seems to be succeeding in limiting the effects of the rebellions. One cannot deny the role of intelligence coming from Russia and Iran in achieving this result. Again Syria is able to use its army effectively. As long as this support is present, it looks like al-Assad will be able to survive.

    On the other hand, the opposition has not been able to provide political, ideological and military unity and synchronization, as a result they have not given confidence to the public. Consequently, they cannot gain “public support” which is vitally important for an insurgency. Certainly, radical Islamist and jihadist groups that have become prominent in the conflicts and are becoming visible day by day have a big role in creating of this “distrustful climate.” These groups put a question mark not only in the minds of the people of Syria, but also in the minds of some Turks and Western people. Jihadists have gathered power as the support given to the opposition has decreased.

    Under the present conditions, it seems impossible for the opposition to gain a full military victory that will lead to the fall of the regime and will set up a new Syria. In this situation rather than win a certain military victory, the only remedy for the opposition and its supporters is to build a military capacity which compels the regime to make an agreement for “power sharing.” Only in this situation can Syria break its vicious circle.

    Building a military capacity means training small unit leaders, using sophisticated arms, increasing technological capacity and providing intelligence to the opposition. However, there is no experienced, volunteering and qualified supporter who is able to undertake these activities.

    Leaked information shows that the problem is not about money and logistics. It looks like the problem is that new arms can fall into the wrong hands and bad guys can learn new techniques. These concerns also prevent the production of a mutual solution for the allies.

    Another issue that leads to distrust among the allies is how to represent ethnic and religious groups in a new Syria and what will be new Syria’s political model. For instance, it is also known that some expectations of Turkey do not stand in the same line with other allies. The allies are politely offering to do this “nasty business” for the others and trying to gain time. However this situation eventually will come to an unmanageable stage. By that time it would not be a surprise if the allies blame each other in public rather than behind closed doors.

    Consequently the problem of Syria would not only change the equilibrium of the region, but it would also show that it has a great potential to create “disputes” among allies.

    This commentary was published in Hürriyet Daily News on 20.09.2012

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