Syria to remain unchanged in 2014
There will be more Syrian refugees inside and outside Syria and the same rhetoric of regret and sorrow by the international community
The deadly Syrian crisis has officially entered its fourth year just very recently with nothing changing on the ground except certainly for the number of reported causalities and the scale of destruction.
After three years of a civil war that has claimed the lives of more than 140,000 Syrians, the world is still responding to the unrestrained struggle and its accompanying large-scale suffering using a celebratory—like approach that added complication and never a solution to Syria 's three-year-old crisis.
March 15 every year– the day that marks the start of the 2011 Syrian revolution – has transformed literally into a world’s day, exactly like the International Women's Day, World Poetry Day, World Water Day and so on and so forth that are received annually with celebrations and preaching-like speeches.
Though it is the third year on since fighting began between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army and various opposition groups, the international community has never succeeded in resolving the never-ending crisis. Not even a single clue has been provided on how to end the Syrians’ unprecedented suffering, whether politically or militarily, diplomatically or even humanitarianly.
Lots of talk, no action
The only mark of the international community’s on Syria is the same expressions of regret for the humanitarian suffering and assertions of the need for a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis. It is never made clear how and when to end the crisis even by the major two players in the ongoing war the U.S. and Russia.
This is not in any way a gloomy outlook on Syria but rather a realistic account of what has been done and said about the Syrian crisis which has been minimized lately to the controversy over the authenticity and fakeness of pictures portraying the alarming suffering of the Syrian people, whether in their war-torn country or in neighboring states.
Though it is the third year on since fighting began between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army and various opposition groups, the international community has never succeeded in resolving the never-ending crisis. Not even a single clue has been provided on how to end the Syrians’ unprecedented suffering, whether politically or militarily, diplomatically or even humanitarianly.Raed Omari
With the Syrian crisis entering its fourth year, there has been no tangible progress so far despite that “much said and little done,” as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on the third anniversary of the Syrian war, expressing regret.
“The Secretary-General deeply regrets the inability of the international community, the region and the Syrians themselves to put a stop to this appalling conflict,” Ban’s spokesperson said in a recent statement marking Syrian crisis’s third anniversary.
Such a prologue is always necessary anyway in writing about Syria. It can be the conclusion too.
The Syrian crisis and the state of never-ending war is the direct result of the U.S.’s indecisiveness, as opposed to Russia’s eagerness to make a comeback in the Middle East and in any way as a result of Assad’s army, proving resilience as indicated in the CIA’s recent report on Syria.
CIA Director John Brennan was quoted in the international press as saying on March 11 that Assad “probably feels more confident” that his regime will survive as a result of his army’s recent performance and the impact of fighting between Islamist rebels. Speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan, said the Syrian army had proven to be more resilient than many had anticipated after the uprising began three years ago.
In his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an adjunct assistant professor in Georgetown University, has been also quoted as telling the U.S. lawmakers that, “Assad has chosen a deliberate ‘Machiavellian strategy’ of standing by while militant groups such as al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flourish, leaving the U.S.-backed moderate opposition fighting on two fronts.”
On what possibly to happen in Syria, Gartenstein-Ross proceeded by saying, “The likeliest scenario is that, which the U.S. intelligence community now predicts, is the war continuing for another decade or more.”
However, it is primarily due to the U.S.’s indecisiveness on Syria that the war there is expected to continue for many years to come and neither the proved resilience of the regime’s army nor the state of fragmentation within the opposition groups.
If only with a threat of military intervention, the regime responded promptly to the U.S. and handed over Syria’s chemical arsenal setting no preconditions whatsoever. How would have it acted and reacted if President Barack Obama’s strongly-worded warning transformed into action on the ground?
Assad is fully certain of the U.S. not having a stake in him remaining in power or that– at least for the time being – Washington’s major stake in Syria is exclusively the al Qaeda’s affiliates, chemical weapons and Israel’s security.
Assad remaining firm
As such, he has been acting lately not as an embattled leader but as a president of a crisis-plagued country, visiting displaced Syrians in front-line areas and speaking of his intention to run in the next presidential elections.
With the infighting between the ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra and the expansion of the regime’s troops into rebel-held territories, the world’s focus has shifted considerably on Ukraine and more importantly, the U.S. softening is its posture on Syria.
Assad’s recent visit to the town of Adra, seen as a rare public appearance outside the heart of Damascus, might be made to other towns in the near future in a bid by the president to normalize his candidacy to the next presidential elections.
In conclusion, no considerable progress is expected to happen to the situation in Syria in 2014. There will be an advancement of the Syrian opposition into the regime-held areas and a short-lived expansion of the regime’s forces into the rebel-held territories. There will be more Syrian refugees inside and outside Syria and the same rhetoric of regret and sorrow by the international community.
Assad might make it in the next presidential elections but fighting will never end with Syria expected to remain divided between the Assad controlled areas, the rebel-held territories and those controlled by the Kurds in the north.
But as Syria has proved to be guesswork since March 2011, all of that might change. Who knows?
Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via [email protected], or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2
Al Arabiya presents special week of documentaries on SyriaAl Arabiya covers anniversary of the Syrian Revolution with a special week of documentaries Television & Radio
Islamist rebels in Syria claim kidnapping of 94 civiliansThousands of people are thought to be imprisoned by both sides in the increasingly sectarian civil war Middle East
Russia: April will see Syria chemical arms destroyedU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Ukraine crisis could hamper efforts to speed up the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons Middle East
Report: Turkey military on alert for historic tomb in SyriaApproximately 25 Turkish soldiers on guard around the Tomb of Suleyman Shah were ordered to retaliate Middle East
U.N. chief urges Russia, Iran to push Syria talksBan Ki-moon says Iran is one of the important regional countries who can play an important role in Syria peace talks Middle East
Syria’s children - its future - are at stakeThe number of child refugees has grown to 1.2 million from 260,000 since last year, 425,000 of them under 5 years old Middle East
Syria ‘war merchants’ crush 2011 revolutionANALYSIS: Three years on, the Syrian revolution is becoming more lucrative to ‘merchants of war’ Analysis
After three calamitous years; whither Syria?Three years after the initial enthusiasm that swept Syrian towns, a dark, foreboding despair has descended on the scorched land. Middle East