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Topic Title: The Future of Syria: A North-South Partition under cease fire
Topic Summary: Adding more weapons to the fight to find a single winning side is not the answer
Created On: 24 August 2013 02:22 PM
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 24 August 2013 02:22 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

I think everyone has watched the recent footage of civilians being hit by a chemical attack of some sort.

We appear powerless to do anything, but this increasingly genocidal civil war has to now stop. We cannot standby and watch attacks of this nature escalate and escalate. At the same time there is no longer an appitite for external players to join the civil war on one side or the other as we all know this will just make things worse.

It pains me to write what I am writing below, as I was against the Iraq war, and much of the Coalition's drifting and nonsensical strategy in fighting the Afgan War. What should have been a legitimate fight against Al Qaeda criminals, became a fight against the Taliban and those in the general Afgan population that supported their insurgency cause. The Coalition forcces became part of the problem not the solution because they lost our way and started to fight the wrong fight.

If the UN or a NATO-Russian alliance are to take a military stake in this civil war I don't think going in with all guns blazing against either the Assad regime or those that oppose the regime will help; I think it will just inflame the existing rage and make things much worse for the civilan population who have not take up arms.

I think the best the UN or a NATO-Russian alliance can do now is call for a cease fire and offer a temporary north-south partition of the country (for example along a line starting at the northern border of Lebanon running east just south of Homs). It will be better (compared to other options) for the UN or NATO-Russian alliance to hold and defend a border crossing line just south of Homs, allowing unarmed refugees to pass safely both ways under ceasefire conditions, than to try to occupy whole cities and towns either side of the border.

In that way the Assad regime and those that support it can continue to control and run Damascus, and the other opposition groupings can stick to the northern parts of Syria under the control of some sort of ruling coalition.

There will be a lot of problems with partition, but what other options are there?

Many people would lose property and assets in partition. If Syrians collectively don't want Syria partitioned by the UN or NATO-Russian alliance then they must go to ceasefire and start talking to agree an alternative way of finding peace.

The UN or a NATO-Russian alliance can best help in a humanitarian role and to offer partition so that as many lives as possible can now be saved whilst we wait for the terrible trauma and rage of civil war to subside enough for proper negociations over the future of Syria to begin.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 24 August 2013 11:17 PM
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ectophile

Posts: 544
Joined: 17 September 2001

Your first problem is that there isn't a NATO-Russian alliance here. The Russians support the Syrian government, and would oppose any action against them.

That Russian support also means that the UN security council is pretty much powerless to do anything. It also means that the West is very wary of directly intervening in case they end up starting a proxy war against Russia.

The Western politicians are aware that pretty much anything they do (including doing nothing) is bound to turn out badly. But they don't want to appear weak and admit that.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 26 August 2013 05:45 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

If the UK government spend any more of my taxes on yet another war then I will be joining any protest march that takes place.

Syria is an arab issue and requires an arab solution.

Regards.
 01 September 2013 09:58 AM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

It's interesting how the French who were talking up an attack on Syria are now saying they cannot act alone now the USA is waiting for congress approval. I have to say in all of this much of the media and many senior politicians in many of the the so called advanced countries have been found to be low standard and/or lacking any real competence.

The interesting thing however is that there is a lot of technology and engineering being used at the moment, or else being moved into place. Someone somewhere is working out the engineering of how best to destroy something.

Regards.
 02 September 2013 02:41 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

All this loosely but importantly pertains to engineering.

Engineers tend to learn from their many failures; especially so after repeating the same mistake more than once. The question are there any lessons here for politicians...

Engineering Problem Solving:
1. Get emotional about some problem
2. Emotion or laziness generates motivation to solve the problem; we start to explore our main goals for the solution.
3. Motivation leads to us engaging our imaginations
4. Using our imaginations we visualise the world as we would like to see it with the problem solved and we start to devise some strategies for getting there.
5. We now have to get rational and analytical and ruthlessly compare our strategy ideas, and compare them with other peoples strategies and also with what has been done in the past to solve similar problems. We want to find out if any of these strategies can be practically realised given the resources to hand and our experience and knowledge of nature and our fellow human beings.
6. We then need to think what will happen after we reach our goal and think on some of the unintended consequences arising from our strategy to solve the original problem.
Etc. etc.

(If none of our proposed strategies produces a better outcome than doing nothing, then we may be thinking about the problem in the wrong way.)


In terms of the Syria crisis the western populations got to step one (getting unavoidably and justifiably emotional and upset due to the gassing thousands of civilians in several different suburbs of Damascus). Still at step one and still in the midst of this widespead public emotional reaction, the western executive elites were planning to simply hit out with an ill thought out "punitive" attacks against the Assad regime and its military assets.

This action was not designed in any way to solve the main problem at hand for the Syrian people (helping bring Syria back to peace either as a single country or temporarily partitioned somehow with UN peace keepers), but had a very good chance of further inflaming the rage and harden attitudes on all sides nevertheless.

If we take some time to discuss and tackle difficult political problems as we would try to tackle difficult engineering problems (following the emotional stage), then perhaps the world could become a more peaceful place (even if this was a process that took hold gradually).

I know there are plenty of engineers being paid a lot of money to devise more efficient ways of destroying things, and also killing and maiming people.

There are many many more trying to devise ways of building things up and giving people longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Perhaps some engineers (of the build it up variety) should explicitly go into the field of conflict resolution, to doubly underline this point.

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
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