Friday, September 16, 2011

Syria's stalemate raises the spectre of civil war

Assad's opponents are putting pressure on the international community to act in Syria, but who would intervene, and how?

Brian Whitaker, Thursday 15 September 2011

"Syrian demonstrators burned Russian flags in the cities of Homs and Deraa this week in protest at Russia's continuing support for the Assad regime and its blocking of a tough resolution from the UN security council.

After six months of deadly conflict on the streets in which neither side seems able to gain the upper hand, the flag-burning is one sign that the regime's opponents are looking increasingly for foreigners to tip the balance in their direction.....

The Syrians who burned Russian flags in Homs and Deraa probably had the right idea. Pressuring the countries that still back Assad seems the best step forward at present. If a solid international consensus can be established, it will become possible to put a serious squeeze on the regime – diplomatically and economically – from outside, while others work inside until enough of the regime's key supporters decide that the game is up."

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