Multilateral Meetings Provide Potential For Progress On Syria

This week will feature a host of meetings that could possibly yield positive movement toward a solution to the crisis in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister is set to engage in discussions with Russia, one of the chief backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

And Syria will certainly be on the agenda for Obama when he meets separately with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In an interview with National Public Radio, Cameron expressed optimism that the door is open to effective diplomacy.

[Related: The Economist looks at how a change in the Arab League’s posture has opened the door – again – to discussions about a peace plan with Israel.]

But Aram Nerguizian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies cautions against false hope.

“There should be no illusions about what international actors can and cannot do to shape events in Syria decisively. External influence matters, but what opposing local forces decide to do about a nascent political process is ultimately what matters. However, U.S. and Russian engagement still has a role to play in shaping any effort to stabilize what is likely to be at least a decade of unrest in a Syria that will be internally divided for the foreseeable future,” writes Nerguizian.

How Do Syrians View Potential Intervention By The West?
It goes without saying that the Assad regime is opposed to any intervention, but that does not necessarily mean those who oppose him support western nations intervening in the civil war.

Leaders of the political opposition meanwhile are consistently against direct U.S. or Western intervention in the conflict, though they differ somewhat on the kind of aid or support that they would accept from the U.S. and others. The revolutionaries on the ground in Syria, however, have given up on the hope of rescue by the international community,” writes Layla Saleh, an Adjunct Instructor at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The danger for the US, however, is the growing sense of abandonment among Syrians, says Saleh, who notes that the “lack of intervention by international actors is seen by Syrian revolutionaries as synonymous with collusion with the Syrian regime against its people; the U.S. and others are portrayed as having blood on their hands.”








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