The ‘Third Current’ of the Syrian Uprising
On Monday, Syrian state TV reported nine deaths and 100 wounded when a bomb exploded in the Syrian town of Idlib. State TV blamed the violence on opposition suicide bombers, although opposition forces denied involvement. The International Crisis Group’s most recent report stated that the Kofi Annan plan will be used by the Bashar al-Assad regime as an opportunity to drag the process on and shift the focus from regime change to regime concessions.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said on Thursday at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee it was obvious the Annan plan had failed. Head of the United Nations observer forces, Gen. Robert Mood, arrived in Damascus on Sunday promising to “work with all sides of the Syrian crisis” to halt the violence. Paul Salem of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut says, “Without pressure the regime will not look for an exit, but without an exit they are going to fight to the death.”
Jason Diehl argues that the inability of the international community to solve the Syrian crisis proves the U.S. is still indispensible to the region. He cites Turkey’s failed diplomacy efforts with Assad, as well as its calls for humanitarian corridors that failed to come into fruition. Diehl says that Annan has “repeated every mistake” he made in the Balkans: sending in unarmed observers to serve a ceasefire that has yet to cease and responding to the lies of Assad with more attempts at mediation. None of the suggested avenues outside of Annan’s plan would be feasible without unilateral U.S. action; something Diehl says Barack Obama is not willing to do.
Anas Zarzar writes in Al Akhbar about the expanding ‘third current;’ the silent majority of Syrians who are neither complicit in the regime’s violence nor in favor of militarization. Journalist Farah al-Ghashi says the silent majority has “memorized the corruption of the regime…and are shocked by the lies of the opposition,” which keeps them from choosing sides. Political activist Nael Hariri accused the media of deliberately censoring the neutral element of the crisis. Al-Ghashi says that neutral Syrians will be relied on “to save the country from extremism of both sides.”