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The international envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi’s warning that as many as 100,000 people could die next year in Syria if a way cannot be found quickly to end the civil war is the gravest warning yet about the country. Addressing reporters in Cairo, Brahimi made several other warnings. If the crisis continued, he said, the country would not be divided into states ‘like what happened in Yugoslavia’ but would face ‘Somalisation, which means warlords, and the Syrian people will be persecuted by those who control their fate”. His message should be enough to goad the international community, especially Arabs, into action and take tough measures to find a solution to the crisis, but unfortunately no serious efforts are being made in this regard.
The international community seems to have left Syrians to decide their own future, and the rebels to achieve victory on their own instead of forcing a solution from outside. Brahimi has warned against this lethargic attitude which will cost the country and the region heavily. And this could have been prompted by the latest realities on the ground. The UN peace envoy was in Syria a few days ago to stitch together a peace deal and had met President Bashar Al Assad and the opposition. His statement yesterday is an indication that his latest effort hasn’t shown good results.
As 2012 comes to a close, Syrians are staring a bleak future, and what awaits them is a bloody and chaotic end to the uprising. Several regions in the country are facing poverty and starvation and tens of thousands of people are prisoners in their homes. According to unofficial estimates, more than 40,000 people have been killed in the 21-month-old war.
Brahimi’s warning speaks of the appalling consequences of non-intervention in Syria. Syria is a unique case among all the Arab Spring countries due to the complexities of the crisis and the country’s strategic location. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to international intervention in Syria is the US policy. Allies of Syrian rebels, including several Arab countries, and allies of Washington like Britain, France and Turkey have watched with growing dismay as the White House chose passivity over action. With Russia and China determined to veto any UN Security Council action against Assad, all parties are finding themselves in a cul-de-sac and collective action and strong are necessary to escape from this quagmire.
Brahimi said that peace and security in the world would be threatened directly from Syria if there was no solution in a few months. “I warn of what will come. The choice is between a political solution or of full collapse of the Syrian state.” This is not an empty warning.