Diplomacy alone cannot stop barbarism in Syria

President Putin cannot become a peacemaker when his Air Force continues to rain bombs indiscriminately on Aleppo

Mohamed Chebarro
Mohamed Chebarro
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The latest sequence of siege, death, and destruction in Aleppo is just another example of an international community that has gone irrelevant, incapable and indolent.

The post-WW2 order, the post-Soviet Union collapse and the order that followed called for solving world problems multilaterally and through diplomatic pressure. But after nearly six years of war in Syria the stalemate at the UN remained and the power of diplomacy that the US Secretary of State John Kerry has been armed with seems outdated and irrelevant.

President Putin of Russia cannot become a peacemaker when his Air Force squadron commander continues to rain bombs indiscriminately on Aleppo, and whatever targets the Syrian president and their Iranian allies brandish as terrorist positions.

The world has been there many times before. The Bosnian crisis of 1992 was stopped only by the use of massive power that persuaded all parties to sit and search for a compromise.

In Kosovo in 1999, NATO undertook an air campaign for 78 days before Serbian leadership and their Russian allies agreed to come to terms with the right of Kosovar for self-determination, which is still short of total independence.

The American intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was aimed at stopping terror reaching American shores. The Iraq war, we were told, was aimed at stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

These may not be perfect examples of intervention for world peace and security for civilians but they seemed necessary at the time and stability in those countries are still a work in progress. Syria, after nearly six years of ongoing onslaught on its civilians, could have benefited from action aimed at least at containment.

The world will survive the continued onslaught on Syria but the world that we know and its tenets of peace will change for good

Mohamed Chebarro

Search for a compromise

Creating a no-fly zone could have sent a message to all parties that meaningful negotiations and the search for a compromise is in everyone’s interest.

The creation of a safe haven for Syrians fleeing their regime’s barbarism could have saved the world’s destabilizing influx of refugees and delivered a message that those Syrians will not disappear and therefore push the regime of Assad to discuss a transitional government that leads eventually to his departure.

In Syria today, and after all types of bloodshed, the world stands divided between those resorting to disproportionate violence, namely Assad regime, president Putin of Russia and Iran. They are achieving their goal to create a Syria empty of more than half of its population whom this camp brandish unfairly as terrorists.

They are inflicting suffering by obliterating cities and shattering livelihood as punishment for daring to call for a change after 40 plus years of Assad family and their cronies.

The reality on the ground calls for a review of rhetoric of the condemnation, dismay and of empty red lines. The killing of 400,000 Syrians will not be healed just by allowing convoys into besieged areas. The 5 million refugees will not stop spilling into Europe just because they are getting aid in their camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

The 7 million internally displaced Syrians are unlikely to return home soon unless they sign a surrender papers to a regime that dropped barrel bombs day in and day out on their livestock, agricultural land and their villages in a scorched earth strategy masterminded by Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran.

It is ridiculous to be told for the past year that Secretary Kerry and Secretary Lavrov are about to reach an accord that would implement a transitional deal that would settle the Syrian crisis and stop the killing. All this has been heard while Russian air campaigns and Iranian-led foreign militias continue to kill, maim and besiege and then forcefully transfer civilians under the nose of the UN.

The United States, UK and France have been limiting the help the Syrian opposition could get from other allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to counter balance the Russian and the regime air supremacy. All this under the banner of Russian-American cooperation that will settle the Syrian crisis to join efforts in the fight against ISIS later.

Beyond barbarism and brutality

The bombing campaign of Aleppo shows clearly the intentions of the Kremlin, Damascus and Tehran regime to eliminate all opposition to Assad through a scorched earth policy to regain rebel held areas at all cost.

Mere use of terms such as “barbarism”, “brutality” and “excessive use of force” will not alleviate the suffering of Syrians. Just calling Russian action in Syria a war crime and crimes against humanity will not save makeshift hospitals and civil defense teams working in harsh conditions to apply the thinnest dose left of humanity to civilians caught in relentless bombing of densely populated areas of Aleppo.

Last but not the least, all the friends of Syria – such as US, UK and France – could offer is to call Russia a pariah state for floundering in its duty to protect peace as a responsible member of the Security Council.

Diplomacy alone cannot stop barbarism by Russia and Iran in Syria. The world will survive the continued onslaught on Syria but the world that we know and its tenets of peace will change for good.

Maybe the so-called friends of the Syrian people could finally understand that without the use of a stick the diplomacy of John Kerry will be useless. He and his well-meaning friends will witness an era where the Russians and the Iranians will destroy Crimea, Syria, Yemen, and beyond.
Mohamed Chebarro is currently an Al Arabiya TV News Program Editor. He is also an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London. His twitter handle is @mochebaro.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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