SYRIA: A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION IN SIGHT?
"The Gulf Cooperation Council, a coalition of six Arab, oil-rich, Gulf states dominated by Saudi Arabia, then issued a statement asking for an end to the bloodshed in Syria.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, in the first such public speech, asked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end the military campaign against protesters and to enact sweeping reforms.
It is very likely that these various statements were coordinated, and that they form part of a process aimed at building a coalition against Syria's government. The next step would likely be for other Muslim and Arab states, prompted by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to become more vocal in their criticism of President al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia, through its connections to insurgents and Sunni tribes in Iraq and to Sunni politicians in Lebanon, will likely provide additional financing for weapons smuggling operations into Syria.
Turkey is the only country with the military capability, national security interests and favourable geographic location that can intervene in Syria.
Turkey is increasingly likely to receive international support, from Nato and the Arab League and possibly from the UN Security Council, to send troops into northern Syria. In its initial stages, this would likely involve the creation of a 10km-20km buffer zone in Hasaka, Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo Provinces.
Further, the statements by the GCC and Saudi Arabia indicate increased Arab support for Syria's Sunni majority, which will likely lead to increased protests against the Ba'ath ruling party".
"Exclusive Analysis: Syria's Neighbours building a coalition against Assad's government," Daily Telegraph. 8 August 2011 in www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria.
"Turkey's foreign minister says he and Syrian leader Bashar Assad have discussed 'concrete steps' Syria should take to stop the bloodshed there.But Ahmet Davutoglu did not say what those steps would be and whether Assad had agreed to consider taking them. Speaking to reporters on his return from Damascus on Tuesday, Davutoglu said Turkey would continue talking with Assad in a bid to halt the violence.
Syria's army has defied international criticism of the regime's deadly crackdown on a 5-month-old uprising, and the soldiers continued their raids on restive areas Tuesday. Davutoglu said: 'We discussed ways to prevent confrontation between the army and the people in the most open and clear way.' Davutoglu said the atmosphere was cordial when he met with Assad for more than six hours in Damascus on Tuesday, including a two-hour tete-a-tete".
"Turkey, Syria discuss steps to end violence."The Associated Press. www.trib.com/news/national/europe/article.
Judging from some of the comments that one reads in the past few days, one would be forced to believe that the diplomatic actions this week taken by many of Syria's neighbors will suffice to effect the overthrow of the Baathists regime 1. Something that the American Secretary of State's comments yesterday seem to strongly imply. Albeit with a soupcon of special pleading (or should one say: faite de mieux?), for outside powers to assist in the ouster of the regime of Assad Fils 2. How plausible is this scenario? Certainly, as has been stated here, if and only if outside powers were to effectively boycott Syrian oil sales and reinforce that with a naval blockade of the same, then there might very well be reason to suppose that this would suffice to push the Assad regime out. Sans that, I for one do not expect that mere diplomatic demarches and recalling of ambassadors to result in anything concrete. Something that the shelling of towns on the Syrian-Turkish border would seem to indicate. Notwithstanding rumors (groundless to my mind) that the regime in Turkey was preparing to resolve the Syrian conflict via a military invasion (if nothing else the recent upheaval in the Turkish military would put paid to such ideas) 3. As a practical matter, having shed over two thousand lives, there is little reason to believe that Assad Fils et. al., is prepared to be eased out `a la the ex-rulers of Egypt and Tunisia. Consequently, in the absence of forceful measures, and with Persia no doubt assisting their confreres in Damascus as much as possible, to remain in power. Therefore, I foresee no early end to the violence in Syria. Any more than I can see an early end to the military conflict in Libya.
1. See in particular: "The World Closes in on Bashar Al-Assad." Syria Comment. 10 August 2011, www.syriacomment.com; Rami G. Khoury, "Middle East vultures circle over a wounded Syria." Syria Comment. 11 August 2011, in www.dailystar.com.lb.
2. See: Anna Fifield, "Clinton calls for oil groups to shun Syria." The Financial Times. 12 August 2011, in www.ft.com.
3. "Syrian forces storm town near Turkish border." Reuters. 11 August 2011, in www.reuters.com.