VI. Diplomacy: Is this measure possible? Trita Parsi teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He writes,
It’s been clear for some time now, however, that Assad is neither so weak that he will lose, nor so strong that he can easily win. In short there is a stalemate, which provides fertile ground for negotiations to achieve a durable cease-fire. The failure of all sides to pursue talks has now resulted in roughly 120,000 deaths with no other outcome except an unsatisfactory stalemate.
Washington and Moscow have not given Annan or the current U.N. envoy, veteran diplomat Lahkdar Brahimi, the political support needed to succeed with their missions. In Annan’s own words, the diplomatic process “requires courage and leadership, most of all from the permanent members of the Security Council, including from Presidents Putin and Obama.”
This measure might slow or perhaps stop the growing body count in the region. Additionally, the body count will increase while talks continue and there doesn’t seem to be a clear avenue for providing humanitarian aid while talks proceed.
VII. Hybrid View. Perhaps you think some combination of these actions will provide the best course of action.
VIII. Other. I’m quite interested in hearing more options. Fresh thought is much needed in this debate.
While thinking through the options I would encourage you to ask yourself which lessons from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Kosovo are relevant here? Should regime change be a viable option? I ask this question because it seems to some that the power vacuum we created in Iraq through de-Baathification contributed to Syria’s current crisis.
What are our most fruitful options?
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