New POMED Policy Brief: A Multifaceted Response to Syria’s Brutality
The world has watched with deepening concern as the situation in Syria deteriorates. Protesters, grown increasingly desperate, continue to turn out in the streets in ever greater numbers, but the regime has only escalated the violence of its response. As the death toll climbs, the hope of a peaceful solution becomes ever more remote. In POMED’s latest policy brief, Radwan Ziadeh, director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, provides a thorough assessment of the situation, as well as the important steps the US can take to facilitate a solution. Click here for the full text, and click here to sign up to receive future briefs via email.
Since coming to power in 2000, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has tried to present himself as a reformer by pushing for economic modernization while maintaining the most repressive aspects of his father’s regime in the political realm. When protests began in March, the regime’s initial response consisted of a combination of insincere reforms and brute force. Ziadeh argues that when these measures failed to placate protesters, the government escalated violence to an extreme degree that has cost Assad his legitimacy to rule. The question remains, however, of how the conflict may be resolved. Reports of defections by rank-and-file members suggest that the military could potentially play a decisive role in the Syrian uprising, as it did in Tunisia and Egypt. In addition, although the U.S. has limited leverage unilaterally, there are nonetheless steps that can be taken in concert with the international community to ease Assad out of power. These include continuing to pressure Syria through the UN Human Rights Council, encouraging tough European sanctions and a trade embargo, and working with Turkey to facilitate a transition of power.