Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Negotiated Settlment' in Syria. Now!

[Guardian] "... Rampant torture and summary executions by opposition as well as regime forces have been condemned by human rights organisations, along with widespread rebel conscription of child soldiers. Last week Channel 4 News uncovered evidence that more than 100 Alawite civilians killed in the town of Aqrab may have been massacred by rebel forces rather than, as initially reported, by government troops.You might imagine the multiplication of such incidents and the advance of fundamentalist groups in Syria would give western governments reason to pause before bolstering their support for the rebels. But in fact that's exactly why they insist they need to step up their involvement.... ,...., ...The western powers and Gulf regimes have so far underwritten the opposition resistance to negotiation. An attempt to sponsor a regional settlement by Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, in conjunction with Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia was scuppered by the Saudis. But in one form or another, negotiation will eventually have to take place.Meanwhile, not only will more intervention by the western powers increase the death toll. It may not give them the control they crave either. Already the mainly Islamist rebel fighters are becoming more mistrustful of their foreign backers. Just as likely is that it will lay the ground for the kind of blowback that created al-Qaida in Afghanistan in the first place – and risk engulfing the region in a still more devastating conflict."

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