What Would Real Diplomacy in Syria Look Like?

photo: CNN

photo: CNN

Secretary of State Kerry is off to the Middle East, among other things to press for peace talks to stem the tragic bloodshed in Syria. There’s a refreshing thought: up until now we’ve been hearing that the US’s dilemma is essentially a choice between military intervention or inaction. In this day and age, actual diplomacy too often feels like a quaint endangered species.

I’m certainly mindful that US “peace deals” often have more to do with US interests than real and lasting peace – and I fully agree with journalist Shamus Cooke when he writes:

It’s possible that Obama wants to avoid further humiliation in his Syria meddling by a last minute face-saving “peace” deal. It’s equally likely, however, that these peace talks are a clever diplomatic ruse, with war being the real intention. It’s not uncommon for peace talks to break down and be used as a justification for an intensification of war, since “peace was attempted but failed.”

At the same time, however, diplomacy may well be our best option to stem the horrid violence which just seems to spiral and escalate without end. As Iran expert Trita Parsi, recently wrote in Open Zion:

A peaceful and sustainable resolution to the Syrian crisis is not within reach in the short-term. But a significant reduction in the violence and bloodshed can be achieved because the appetite for diplomacy is stronger now than at anytime in the past two years. The peace summit prepared by the U.S. and Russia can achieve this if they bring all the parties to the table.

Some more wise words on the importance of real diplomatic intervention in Syria. First, from Ron Young of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East:

To have a realistic chance of success, such an international intervention would have to involve Russia — and Iran and China — as well as countries supporting the rebels. Twin goals of the intervention would be to halt the violence and achieve agreement on a political transition involving the rebels and elements of the current regime that would provide assurances for all of Syria’s diverse internal communities and for interests of the major outside parties. The current U.S. diplomatic initiative with Russia is worthy of public support, and should be pursued with creativity and determination.

And finally, Rich Rubenstein (Professor of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University) writes:

Clearly, any dialogue between the warring parties in Syria is better than continuing to destroy and dismember that nation. Talk, by all means! But the most promising process would involve talks presided over by a team of independent facilitators accepted by both the regime and its opponents – confidential dialogues that would help them explore the systemic causes of the war and fashion a plan for a new Syria. The Americans, Europeans, and neighboring states should agree to stay out of the way while the talks continue and to stand ready to guarantee any agreement reached by the parties.


2 Comments on “What Would Real Diplomacy in Syria Look Like?”

  1. Marian Blanton says:

    I’m truly puzzled about what role any nation can morally claim in another’s civil war, Rabbi Rosen. Is there some Jewish wisdom literature or commonly practiced customs that can serve as guidance? My discomfiture is of course related to our 10 year old wars which have achieved only injury and death for both military personnel and civilian life as well as huge expenditures necessarily denied to our own US civilian needs. How do we legitimately define the need for US intervention in foreign wars?

  2. rehmat1 says:

    like in Libya or Iran – US wants a regime change and not “peace” – because powerful Israel Lobby wants that.

    Israeli daily, The Times of Israel has reported John Kerry told a Jewish delegate that Washington see no role for Assad in the new regime in Damascus. Turkey and Israel has already called for imposing no-fly zone over Syria.

    The Zionist-controlled governments in the US, Britain, France, Israel, Germany, Canada and Australia have intensified war-propaganda against Assad regime as the Syrian army has succeeded in flushing-out the rebels of several strategic areas. For example, these regimes accused Syrian military using chemical weapons (Sarin gas) against the rebels. However, a UN investigating team has reported that Sarin gas was used by the rebels against civilians – and not the Syrian forces. The Israeli missiles attack on Damascus airport was an act in desparation by the Zionist regime.

    Last month, speaking at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York City, Gen. Meir Dagan, former head of Israeli Mossad, said that removal of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power “will be highly beneficial for Israel from a strategic point of view; weaking Hizbullah, Iran and Hamas in the process“, reported Israeli daily Ha’aretz on April 29, 2013.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/05/11/john-kerry-no-military-solution-in-syria/


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