1- The first option is the use of the United Nation Security Council. This entity has been dismantled with regard to the Syrian civil war, due to the vetoes imposed by Russia and China. In this respect, China might be exception. As I have explored in my essay about Syria, China might make a deal with the US with regard to its territorial disputes in the South East Asia. As such, China might withdraw its support for Syria. But the chance that Russia would withdraw its support for Assad's regime somewhere in the future is almost zero.
2- The second option is the implementation of a no-fly zone over Syria. Would this plan function in an effective and proper manner? I don`t think so, based on the following reasons.
2-A: Syria has high-tech air defense system including S-300 missiles.
2-B: The possible reactions of Russia and Iran. We should bear in mind that current Russia under the leadership of Putin is not like Russia under the presidency of B. Yeltsin in the 1990s, when NATO attacked former Yugoslavia, and Russia did nothing. In those years, Russia was busy with its own major domestic problems, amid the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Now, Russia has passed those critical years. Moreover, the assumption and perception of Putin with regard to the international politics and more generally about the West is not the same as what B. Yeltsin perceived and behaved. In this respect, I can say Putin is unpredictable, thus, we should avoid mirror imaging.
Furthermore, we should not forget the possible reaction of Iran. Iran has repeatedly stated that Syria is its redline. If the West would try to implement no-fly zone, without any doubt, Iran would expand the scope and dimension of the conflict beyond the territorial borders of Syria into some other parts of the Middle East. In other words, implementation of such a no-fly zone over Syria means direct military confrontation with Iran.
3- The third option is launching a type of standoff or limited offensive air strike on some military or industrial or chemical sites of Asad's regime within Syria. This plan might decrease the capability of Asad`s forces to some extent, but it cannot dismantle the Syrian forces in an effective and proper manner. Moreover, the West would not be able to destroy all the military capabilities including the chemical weapons of Syria in such temporary attacks. As such, there is some possibility that after such attacks, again the Syrian regime would use chemical weapons against its own people. Furthermore, we should bear in mind that such attacks would entail the reactions of Russia and Iran from different aspects. In this respect, I can say Russia might avoid direct military confrontation with the West, but it would intensify its military support to Asad`s regime. Such a standoff or offensive air strike mean direct military confrontation with Iran not only within Syria, but also in other parts of the Middle East. More importantly, the implementation of options number 2 and 3 would also affect the nuclear negotiation with Iran within 5+1 group in a negative manner.
Based on brief explanation noted above, I believe these plans do not change anything with regard to the Syrian civil war. Instead, the implementation of each of these options would intensify the scope and dimension of this conflict beyond the borders of Syria from different angles. However, as I have evaluated this conflict from different aspects, I`ve come up with a plan, which might end the Syrian civil war beyond the will, power and authority of those external actors, who are supporting Asad`s regime. Briefly, this is a plan, which should be implemented and performed mostly by the members of the Arab League through a comprehensive road map. I think the negative consequences of this plan would be less destructive than those plans discussed above from different aspects.This plan, moreover, would create more stability in some vulnerable parts of the Middle East in the long term as well.
M. Sirani 26.08.2013