The UN monitors in Syria have proved to be ineffective in a country that appears to rapidly be descending into chaos. Depending whom you choose to believe it is either the regime or the rebels that are responsible for the many brutal attacks and fatalities in Syria during this period of civil unrest. It is likely to be te same as so many disputes in this world, six off one and half a dozen of the other. What this old adage means is that no doubt both should and could be held responsible.
In Russia and China leaders have chosen to believe the regime. In the West we have chosen to believe the rebels. The problem is that after all period of violence a resolution has not been found. The bloodshed looks set to continue until one side annihilates the other or full scale war breaks out. Remember that could be a global war involving all of us if we are not careful.
So what can be done? Some are now calling for a UN peacekeeping force to enter Syria. Whether that is practical or even possible is debatable. It would have to be accompanied by a No Fly Zone as there is no way on earth Syrian leader Bashir Assad will allow a peaceful entry into his country.
As we all learned with the Libyan revolution a No Fly Zone is difficult to enforce. It costs in manpower and in hard cash. It will help the ammunition industry grow but other than that such a zone is destructive.
There is no doubt that something may have to be done and soon but there are no easy answers. Just blindly stumbling in as we have so often in the past could prove the wrong option for all of us, not least the Syrian people. Syria is not Libya. That said look at Libya today. Since the 2011 Arab Spring it is one of a long line of countries which has been de-stabilised. Its dictator has gone but he has been replaced by an unknown quantity. One that currently appears to be failing the Libyan people once more.
The UN mission if officially suspended but it is more than likely over. The UN and the world will now move on to the next stage. Just what that will be and how helpful it will be to the Syrian people is uncertain. For sure we should exercise caution this time around rather than interfering blindly in a civil war.
As the western World's eyes turn to Syria it seems that President Assad is going nowhere. There has been violence on the streets of Syria for much of 2011 but no sign of change coming soon.
Although an estimated 3,000 people have died during violent protests President Assad claims that he is still popular. Unlike Gaddafi he lives a fairly ordinary life, or so he claims. Speaking with a UK reporter he seems adamant that he will never suffer the fate of Gaddafi.
President Assad maintains that he has made some changes since protests began in March 2011. The west may refute this but with tight reporting restrictions in Libya the truth is hard to ascertain. It would be easy to believe that the uprising is by a minority of people or even western forces desiring change. Common sense however tells you that only a free and fair election would prove this one way or another.
As the President shies away from such elections you can draw your own conclusions.
The Presidents critics now include, Britain, France, the US, the United Nations and the Arab League. His supporters are still strong nations but they are dwindling. Many feel that he is simply delusional and is not living up to his words.
On protest leader said, “Assad has been talking about reform ever since he came to office [in 2000], and nothing serious ever happens. Killing people is not an act of reform. We aren’t calling for economic or even political reform under Assad, but for the departure of this bloodstained president and free elections.”
President Assad today warned the West about intevention in Syrian affairs. He likened Syria to a fault line. As he put it, mess around with a fault line and you are liable to cause an earthquake. I think he made his point.
The death of Gaddafi, and the nature of it has rallied some of the Syrian protesters but must have shaken leaders, such as Assad, to the core. Will he ever let go of power or will a revolution be needed to change Syrian society for the better?