Friday, December 28, 2012

The Former Republic of Syria

The only way to have a political settlement in Syria is to devolve power to the regional level and let the rebels in to a coalition government in Damascus that has little real power over the regional governments--including an Alawite homeland that Assad would be president of.

There is still a UN push for a negotiated settlement in Syria, and Russia seems ready to go along to salvage something of their position:

Speaking in Damascus at the end of a five-day trip during which he met President Bashar al-Assad, Lakhdar Brahimi called for a transitional government to rule until elections and said only substantial change would meet demands of ordinary Syrians.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added to the envoy's call for a peaceful solution when he told a senior Syrian diplomat that only a "broad inter-Syria dialogue and political process" could end the crisis.

Yet the rebels don't seem like they want to accept the continued presence of Assad in the national government.

And the Russians would like to avoid abandoning their client. The Russians would like to keep their naval base and listening post, too.

I assume most Syrians would like to end the fighting.

And the Sunni Arabs and Kurds would get their own homelands--plus effective control of the national government, such as it would be.

Assad and his supporters get to live and still run the local show.

And the UN gets to chalk up a victory in its annual report, with 45,000 dead a mere footnote of their success.

Hopefully, whatever Sunni Arab units left in the army that haven't defected or deserted but are confined to bases because they aren't trusted by Assad can then be the core organized force for the Sunni regions to defeat the jihadis.

Unless it is a fight to the death, I don't see how negotiations that assume a unitary Syrian state and government can possibly result in anything that actually halts the fighting rather than just pause it.