What to do about Syria?

By Johan Galtung

, by Other News

We all feel desperate watching the horrible killings, the suffering of the bereaved and the whole population. But what can be done?

Could it be that the U.N., and governments in general, have a tendency to repeat the same mistake, starting at the wrong end? They usually apply this formula:

First, get rid of No. 1, as the key responsible figure/actor, using sanctions;

Second, implement a ceasefire, by appealing to the parties, or by intervention;

Third, negotiations among all legitimate parties;

Finally, a political solution as a compromise.

It seems logical. There is a key figure, President Assad, ordering the killing; oust him by all means. Then the ceasefire, negotiations, and finally the solution emerges. This may be logical, but it is not very wise.

No. 1 no doubt matters. But being that important, he may also hold some keys to the solutions. He may later step down, or be ousted, but first listen to him.

Why should the parties accept a ceasefire when there is no acceptable solution in sight? Would that not be capitulation? Would it not give the adversary time for redeployment and rearmament? Though desirable, it is neither necessary nor sufficient as a solution.

Whose agenda will be favoured by negotiations after a major party has been eliminated?

A political solution? Yes, but under the three conditions above, the outcome is predetermined.

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