A study of every United Nations peacemaking effort since 1945 found that it succeeded in resolving two-thirds of two-sided civil wars, but only one-quarter of multisided ones.
Syria’s battlefield is a complex polygon, with an array of Syrian rebel groups that include moderates and Islamists; affiliates of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State; Syrian forces and outsiders like the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah; and foreign fighters who join in the name of jihad.
Each of these factions has its own aims, which narrow the terms of any possible peace deal. Each also has an incentive to compete with other groups for resources during the war, and for concessions afterward.
This is why multisided oppositions tend to fail. Even if they overthrow the government, they often end up in a second war among themselves.
The Syrian Regime’s mass murder enterprise appears increasingly to be a façade for an Iranian-led strategy with direct presence on the ground, leading some to denounce an Iranian occupation of Syria. It’s an unofficial battle for influence and power in the middle east and on a broader level in the Arab world. The Russians and China realize that the replacement government put in place of Assad would likely be a pro-USA government and they are concerned this will make it more difficult to promote their interests in the area.
A conflict immune to exhaustion:
Powerful patrons that keep feeding the war machine also have blood on their hands
Most civil wars end when one side loses. Either it is defeated militarily, or it exhausts its weapons or loses popular support and has to give up. About a quarter of civil wars end in a peace deal, often because both sides are exhausted.
That might have happened in Syria: The core combatants — the government and the insurgents who began fighting it in 2011 — are quite weak and, on their own, cannot sustain the fight for long.
But they are not on their own. Each side is backed by foreign powers — including the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and now Turkey — whose interventions have suspended the usual laws of nature. Forces that would normally slow the conflict’s inertia are absent, allowing it to continue far longer than it otherwise would.
Government and rebel forces are supplied from abroad, which means their arms never run out. They also both draw political support from foreign governments who do not feel the war’s costs firsthand, rather than from locals who might otherwise push for peace to end their pain. These material and human costs are easy for the far richer foreign powers to bear.
This is why, according to James D. Fearon, a Stanford professor who studies civil wars, multiple studies have found that “if you have outside intervention on both sides, duration is significantly greater.”
No one can lose, and no one can win
Foreign sponsors do not just remove mechanisms for peace. They introduce self- reinforcing mechanisms for an everin tensifying stalemate.
Whenever one side loses ground, its foreign backers increase their involvement, sending supplies or air support to prevent their favored player’s defeat. Then that side begins winning, which tends to prompt the other’s foreign backers to up their ante as well.
Each escalation is a bit stronger than what came before, accelerating the killing without ever changing the war’s fundamental balance.
This has been Syria’s story almost since the beginning. In late 2012, as Syria’s military suffered defeats, Iran intervened on its behalf. By early 2013, government forces rebounded, so wealthy Gulf states flooded support to the rebels. Several rounds later, the United States and Russia have joined the fray. These foreign powers are strong enough to match virtually any escalation. None can force an outright victory because the other side can always counter, so the cycle only continues.
Syrian parties are built to fight, not win
The Syrian government and the insurgents fighting it are internally weak in ways that lead them to prefer a stalemate, no matter how terrible, over almost any viable outcome.
Syria’s top leaders belong mostly to the Alawite religious minority, which makes up a small share of the country’s population but a disproportionate share of security forces. After years of war along demographic lines, Alawites fear they could face genocide if Mr. Assad does not secure a total victory.
But such a victory appears extremely unlikely, in part because the Alawites’ minority status gives them too little support to restore order with anything but violence. So Syria’s leaders believe that stalemate is the best way to preserve Alawite safety today, even if that increases risks for their longterm future.
Syria’s opposition is weak in a different way. It is fractured among many groups, another factor that tends to prolong civil wars and make them less likely to end peacefully.
USA’s regime change plan in Syria:
The solution to the Syrian crisis, including the growing refugee crisis in Europe, must run through the United Nations Security Council.
The roots of US strategy in Syria lie in a strange– and unsuccessful – union of two sources of American foreign policy. One comprises the US security establishment, including the military, the intelligence agencies, and their staunch supporters in Congress. The other source emerges from the human-rights community. Their peculiar merger has been evident in many recent US wars in the Middle East and Africa. Unfortunately, the results have been consistently devastating.
The security establishment is driven by US policymakers’ long-standing reliance on military force and covert operations to topple regimes deemed to be harmful to American interests. From the 1953 toppling of Mohammad Mossadegh’s democratically elected government in Iran and the “other 9/11” (the US-backed military coup in 1973 against Chile’s democratically elected Salvador Allende) to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria, regime change has long been the coin of the US security realm.
At the same time, parts of the human-rights community have backed recent US military interventions on the grounds of the “Responsibility to Protect,” or R2P. This doctrine, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2005, holds that the international community is obliged to intervene to protect a civilian population under massive attack by its own government. In the face of the brutality of Saddam Hussein, Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Assad, some human-rights advocates made common cause with the US security establishment, while China, Russia, and others have argued that R2P has become a pretext for US-led regime change.
The problem, as human-rights advocates should have learned long ago, is that the US security establishment’s regime-change model does not work. What appears to be a “quick fix” to protect local populations and US interests often devolves into chaos, anarchy, civil war, and burgeoning humanitarian crises, as has happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. The risks of failure multiply whenever the UN Security Council as a whole does not back the military part of the intervention.
The US intervention in Syria can also be traced to decisions taken by the security establishment a quarter-century ago to overthrow Soviet-backed regimes in the Middle East. As then-Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz explained to General Wesley Clark in 1991: “We learned that we can intervene militarily in the region with impunity, and the Soviets won’t do a thing to stop us… [We’ve] got about five to ten years to take out these old Soviet ‘surrogate’ regimes – Iraq, Syria, and the rest – before the next superpower [China] comes along to challenge us in the region.”
When al-Qaeda struck the US on September 11, 2001, the attack was used as a pretext by the security establishment to launch its long-desired war to topple Saddam. When the Arab Spring protests erupted a decade later, the US security establishment viewed the sudden vulnerability of the Qaddafi and Assad regimes as a similar opportunity to install new regimes in Libya and Syria. Such was the theory, at any rate.
In the case of Syria, America’s regional allies also told President Barack Obama’s administration to move on Assad. Saudi Arabia wanted Assad gone to weaken a client state of Iran, the kingdom’s main rival for regional primacy. Israel wanted Assad gone to weaken Iran’s supply lines to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. And Turkey wanted Assad gone to extend its strategic reach and stabilize its southern border.
The humanitarian community joined the regime-change chorus when Assad responded to Arab Spring protesters’ demand for political liberalization by unleashing the army and paramilitaries. From March to August 2011, Assad’s forces killed around 2,000 people. At that point, Obama declared that Assad must “step aside.”
We don’t know the full extent of US actions in Syria after that. On the diplomatic level, the US organized the “Friends of Syria,” mainly Western countries and Middle East allies committed to Assad’s overthrow. The CIA began to work covertly with Turkey to channel arms, financing, and non-lethal support to the so-called “Free Syrian Army” and other insurgent groups operating to topple Assad.
The results have been an unmitigated disaster. While roughly 500 people per month were killed from March to August 2011, some 100,000 civilians – around 3,200 per month – died between September 2011 and April 2015, with the total number of dead, including combatants, reaching perhaps 310,000, or 10,000 per month. And, with the Islamic State and other brutal extremist groups capitalizing on the anarchy created by the civil war, the prospect of peace is more distant than ever.
Military intervention led or backed by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya has produced similar debacles. Toppling a regime is one thing; replacing it with a stable and legitimate government is quite another.
If the US wants better results, it should stop going it alone. The US cannot impose its will unilaterally, and trying to do so has merely arrayed other powerful countries, including China and Russia, against it. Like the US, Russia has a strong interest in stability in Syria and in defeating the Islamic State; but it has no interest in allowing the US to install its choice of regimes in Syria or elsewhere in the region. That is why all efforts by the UN Security Council to forge a common position on Syria have so far foundered.
But the UN route can and must be tried again. The nuclear pact between Iran and the Security Council’s five permanent members (the US, China, France, Russia, and the UK) plus Germany, has just provided a powerful demonstration of the Council’s capacity to lead. It can lead in Syria as well, if the US will set aside its unilateral demand for regime change and work with the rest of the Council, including China and Russia, on a common approach.
In Syria, only multilateralism can succeed. The UN remains the world’s best – indeed its only – hope to stop the Syrian bloodbath and halt the flood of refugees to Europe.
Irony of US:
UN Charter Article 2 Line 1 , “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”
The US intervention and the entire coalition for that sake, boils down to vigilantism at best and breach of sovereignty which is against the charter that the USA helped wrote for the UN all the way back when it was made. At worst, the United States and allies is using military violence uninvited in a sovereign nations territory expressly against their wishes, which constitutes as organised murder or terrorism if anyone else did it.
Imagine if Assad launched a bombing campaign in the middle of france because he didn’t like one of the factions residing there.
The agreement called for cessation of hostilities between all parties, excluding the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
A ceasefire and a suspension of the war is the desire of everyone
This looks like an easy way to win:
Iran would not be able to maintain its current level of support to Assad if this air route were interdicted through a no-fly zone or rebel capture of Syrian airfields.
Qatar and Saudi don’t fund the IS:
Here are top two reasons why it makes no sense to say that they do:
Supporters of The Syrian Opposition
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporters of the Syrian opposition from the early days of the uprising, politically and in other ways as well. By the end of the third quarter of 2013, the Syrian opposition was making a huge advance, controlling large areas of Syria, and coming very close to overthrowing Assad.
Then, suddenly, ISIS started invading opposition-occupied areas from the east. The expansion of ISIS, in the first place, was not in areas controlled by Assad’s government, but in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition (which is backed by Qatar and Saudi-Arabia). The Syrian opposition were not aware of the huge risk at that time, they kept pushing on fronts with Assad’s forces and didn’t bother fighting ISIS (a small, unimportant threat at that time). They only started fighting ISIS a few months later after heavy land losses, and since then they’ve been having huge battles with it, way more than Assad is having.
The important idea here is: There’s no reason why Qatar and Saudi Arabia would support the opposition for 2 years and, when the war is almost won, they would support ISIS to retake the opposition-controlled areas.
That’s for one thing, another thing is that:
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are monarchies
ISIS calls for overthrowing all the governments in the region and melting them in their state. So if anybody has to fear the most about their interested being destroyed by ISIS, they would be the rulers of Qatar and Saudi-Arabia.
If you look back in history, you’ll find that the gulf countries made a huge effort in defeating Saddam Hussein in the second gulf war. That was simply because he occupied Kuwait, another monarchy in the region, and other monarchies in the region, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar (the two closest to Kuwait), were “the next” by all means.
So in general, it’s top priority for gulf monarchy rulers, like in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to eliminate any threat to their crowns. That’s why they did the 2nd gulf war, and that’ why they ban the Muslim Brotherhood group (which aims at establishing democratic-islamic governments in the middle east), and that’s why they fight ISIS now in the International Coalition against ISIS.
The aim is to stop Assad’s killing machine and force him to transfer power to a transitional authority over an agreed period, an authority that would stabilise the country and lead the reconstruction process.
The process will need to draw on the lessons of the mistakes in the peacebuilding processes in Iraq, Yemen and Libya, where half-baked measures, the lack of stabilization plans and flawed security arrangements.
We have deliberately left the question of a ceasefire out of our analysis so far. This is not to suggest that a ceasefire would only occur after agreeing on a full plan, nor that attempts at reaching a freeze as proposed by the UN special envoy for Aleppo are not useful. On the contrary, they should be relentlessly pursued to stop the suffering as soon as possible. But experience has shown in many conflicts (and in Syria with the various failed attempts of the last four years) that the parties tend to ignore or easily violate a ceasefire as long as they do not see that a political settlement is a serious possibility. Thus we consider that a ceasefire (whether partial or total) will become possible as soon as a credible diplomatic process is under way.
Now, Assad’s departure should not be a precondition is now accepted by the national coalition of the opposition. In a document released in early February 2014, the coalition describes the size, composition and roles of the transitional governing body without mentioning Assad’s departure, signaling that it understands and accepts the rules of a workable negotiation. But there is a difference between maintaining Assad and his system unchanged, on the one hand, and keeping Assad in power for a given period of time until his departure can be scheduled as part of a planned democratic process based on constitutional mechanisms, on the other. The latter opens the way for a political solution that may resemble the transition plan for Yemen, while the former would amount to a return to the status quo ante, in other words the absence of a settlement.
At present none of the parties to the conflict has the capacity to enforce law and order on all of Syrian territory. The existence of such a capacity is an essential prerequisite for a political solution.
First and foremost, a peace plan must ensure that the regime and its allied forces on the ground cease to have exclusive control over the security apparatus.
Analysts and diplomats involved in the Syrian conflict envisage the creation of a Syrian stabilisation force of 50,000 men within two to three years, with a mission to enforce law and order on the ground and combat any force that stands in its way.Such a plan proposes to entrust a Syrian advisory task force with the responsibility of selecting reliable fighters to undergo a vetting process and ensure they remain dedicated to the force’s mission. With reliable Syrian partner, the U.S. would be able to identify a much larger pool of fighters from which to select combatants. The time frame may seem long, but the mere start of such a programme to which Syrians could relate and adhere could begin to change the dynamics on the ground.
When the time comes for a meaningful negotiation process to address the security arrangements, this force – even if still in the making – will become part of the answer to the daunting questions of who will ensure security on the ground and how to avoid another Libya.
Once a plan exists to resolve the military and security issues, including the withdrawal of foreign forces, it will become possible to address the other aspects of a settlement.
After experiencing mass crimes against humanity, Syrians certainly want justice, but they are willing to forgive and turn the page on many horrors. They are therefore ready for many compromises to save their country from collapse or partition. They will not forget, but they can wait for transitional justice if they know that it will come later, after a healing period.
The worst case is significantly worse.
According to a 2015 paper by Professor Walter and Kenneth M. Pollack, a Middle East expert, “Outright military victory in a civil war often comes at the price of horrific (even genocidal) levels of violence against the defeated, including their civilian populations.”
This could bring entirely new conflicts to the Middle East, they found: “Victorious groups in a civil war sometimes also try to employ their newfound strength against neighboring states, resulting in interstate wars.”
This is not a drift that anyone wants, but it is the direction that Syria’s many domestic and foreign participants are pulling the country, whose darkest days may still be ahead.
Bear in mind the UN was created to make a better world and not to satisfy an individual will….
<<<<< Based on Excerpts from various reliable sources.., these are not my words >>>>