Kofi Annan has drawn the line. The United Nations special envoy believes that the non-compliance attitude of Syria is resulting in an escalation of violence, and the country could easily slip into a perpetual civil war.
The point, however, is that the crisis-ridden country is already in civil strife, and the writ of the state is weakening with the passage of time. To further fuel the fire is the growing phenomenon of private militias who are being loaded with weapons to fight on the regime. This scenario is driving one of the most strategic and civilised Arab country into a waywardness of its own, and that too with no solution in sight.
Syria is in need of a political solution and these armistice sort of arrangements are only meant to buy time. What Syria is experiencing is no fissure sort of action, but an upheaval that has socio-economic, geopolitical and economic ramifications. The people have taken a cue from uprisings in the region and rightly believe that change could set in if they press on for serious reforms. But the quandary is that Syria is no Libya or Egypt that can be dealt with easily by its neighbours and the international community. Talk of a military option over Damascus is an anti-thesis of peace and tranquility because once attacked the Arab country, situated beside volcanic Israel and Lebanon, is capable of exploding in a catastrophic manner.
All that is attainable at this point of time is to engage in serious persuasion and convince the Baath regime to make room for real change. The reforms strategy that President Bashar Al Assad promises to implement, and of which the parliamentary elections held this week is a component, lacks depth and credibility. The human exodus and defiance factors have made it almost impossible for the administration to pick up threads and work them into a workable proposition. Political pluralism is essential and that can only be practical when the Opposition across-the-board is assembled under one umbrella. Assad cannot make that happen until he promises to climb down and liquidate his reining party’s stake in power. Annan’s caution could turn out to be straws in the wind if the regional states and allies of Damascus don’t succeed in pressurising Assad to follow suit.