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The Ultimate Fate Of Syrian Tyrant - Son Of Tyrant - Bashar Al-Assad

25 September 2015

By Jamal Doumani

Every cloud, as we say, has a silver lining. Does the cloud that has been hanging over Syria since its civil war erupted five years ago has one. Looks like it.

A majority of Syrians have already given up on their country.

We've seen them in recent weeks, in the tens of thousands, streaming across Balkan and Central European countries, on their way to seek safe haven for many of them probably a permanent one in places like Germany and Sweden. The images are gut wrenching, but also telling.

Syria's is no garden variety conflict that has triggered, as traditional garden variety conflicts do, the exodus of a handful of refugees anxious to escape being caught in the cross-fire and fleeing to surrounding countries to await imminent repatriation. Syria's conflict is a calamity of monumental proportions. Four million Syrians have already fled home and homeland and, now five years into their exile, still live desperate lives in refugee camps in Lebanon (where they comprise 25 percent of the population) and in Jordan (where they comprise 10 percent) as well as in Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere.

No less than 8 million others are internally displaced. They have faced malnutrition, acute food shortages, potable water and medical supplies. Those who stayed put, in besieged towns held by rebels, unable to flee for fear of risking their lives, are compelled at times to dwell in the open fields in partial return to the manner of a beast. From Duma, for example, outside Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo, men, women and children, the old, the sick and the infirm, spend their days foraging for food and burying the victims of indiscriminate barrel bombs dropped on their homes, market places, mosques and fields, by government helicopter gunships.

In Duma, where last month alone 550 people 123 of them children were killed, four out of 5 residents have already left their once bustling town of half a million. Aleppo is a ghost town, much of it resembling a latter-day Dresden. In between, Syria lies in ruins. This is what happens when the rules that define a government's moral compass are let off the leash. It's also the time when something must give. Someone must find a solution.

This is why the news, that President Putin of Russia, who is expected to address the General Assembly on Sept. 28 during the United Nations annual heads of state gathering, may meet with President Obama to discuss the Syrian conflict, is welcome.

Of course, next to Bashar Assad, Putin, who has steadfastly supported the Syrian regime financially, militarily and diplomatically since the outset, bears great responsibility for the calamity in that sad land. Without that support, the regime in Syria a country that represents Russia's last military outpost in the Middle East would not have survived. Russia is clearly complicit. What is equally clear is that for there to be a solution both Washington and Moscow should be involved.

President Obama has had little to do with the Russian leader since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, and is reportedly weary of the man's intentions. Obama is no George W. Bush who, in June 2001, at his first summit meeting with Putin in Slovenia, claimed that ''I looked the man in the eye, and I was able to get a sense of his soul.'' And Obama no doubt recalls John Kerry's trip to Moscow last May (and later Sochi) where the Secretary of State sought, and failed, to get the Kremlin to ease up on its support for the Syrian dictator.
Today while Russia remains rigid on the terms of what to do with Assad, Washington which remains fixated on Daesh has shown flexibility: Kerry proposed in London last Friday that Moscow and Washington find ''common ground,'' perhaps the formation of a ''transitional government'' in Damascus that would keep the Syrian president in power for an ''agreed period of time'' during that transition.

Meanwhile, the US should be clear that its obsession with Daesh does not trump its commitment to see the Syrian dictator ultimately and definitively ousted this is a man, after all, who has waged full war on his own people and killed no less than 250,000 of them.
One has to be optimistic. Russia has already agreed on the need for an ''equitable solution,'' including the need for a transitional government, and thus though a compromise may not, at first blush, seem obvious, it is nevertheless possible.

As the New York Times editorialized last Monday: ''America should be aware that Mr. Putin's motivations are decidedly mixed and that he may not care nearly as much about joining the fight against Daesh as propping up his old ally. But with that in mind there is no reason not to test him.'' 



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