By Radwan Ziadeh

Bill Clinton, reflecting on his decision to intervene in Kosovo, wrote: “The burning of villages and killing of innocents was history. I knew it was a matter of time before Milosevic was history, too.” In Syria today, we see history repeating itself. The international community’s reluctance to act is prolonging atrocities against Syrian civilians. And it continues to act as if it has no clue what to do.

But Syria’s situation is not very different from that of Kosovo at the beginning of 1998, when western leaders were calling for an end to the violence but a brutal crackdown by the Serbian regime continued. The death toll among Kosovar Albanians increased and hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their homes. The Assad regime has adopted a similar policy to that of Slobodan Milosevic, targeting civilian populations in flashpoints such as Homs and Hama. At this critical juncture, where it is clear that Bashar al-Assad will not stop the killing and the massacre has in effect ruled out any negotiations, those members of the international community looking to save the Syrian population can learn some valuable lessons from Kosovo: both what to do, and what not to do.

Despite the Russian and Chinese vetoes of an Arab League-backed UN Security Council resolution, there is still hope that something can be done for Syria. The US was able to help create an independent Kosovo outside the UN Security Council, without losing any American troops.

The European Union is debating a new round of sanctions against Mr Assad and his cronies. But sanctions, as most know, are a mixed bag. While bodies such as the EU have worked to target sanctions on the regime, and to spare civilians and infrastructure, the Assad regime has built an isolated existence similar to that of North Korea. Thus, the government in Damascus is likely to weather any sanctions and pass on the burden. Already victims of terror and humanitarian devastation, the last thing the Syrian people need is an international campaign that further weakens the economy and makes rebuilding more difficult.

It is important, though, that the international community mount all possible efforts to pressurise the Assad regime and undermine support for the status quo. A well-rounded intervention strategy would involve the following. First, as in Kosovo, the international community – be it a joint UN-Arab League High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/745bf824-5701-11e1-be5e-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1mak5K5Z0

mission or a coalition of “Friends of Syria” – must designate safe zones to be protected by air power. An air campaign would minimise the risk for intervening actors. The international community, though, must help enforce these havens, or risk their bombardment from a brazen and emboldened Mr Assad. Air-based defence from such a coalition could also be used to protect humanitarian corridors.

Critics of intervention worry that such a campaign could fuel terrorism and sectarian tensions across the region. The Syrian opposition, however, has had almost a year to plan for a post-Assad Syria, and the Syrian National Council has organised itself in such a way as to answer these fears of sectarian strife. First, the SNC leadership includes members of every ethnic and religious group in Syria. It has also mapped out a plan for transitional justice, forecasting that the Alawite minority will probably face retribution. Secularists and Islamists are united in the name of forging a peaceful, democratic future for Syria.

Fears of sectarian tensions spreading across the region as a result of intervention in Syria are misplaced. It is the international community’s inaction that threatens to push Syria towards full-scale civil war, which would inflame divisions in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, among others. If Syria falls into civil war, so will the surrounding region. The US may be tired of war but it can still join the right side of history by supporting an international coalition to help save the Syrian people. Thus far, Syrian civilians have been victims of international politics. Now, only an international intervention will stop the atrocities.

pornjk, pornsam, xpornplease, joyporn, pornpk, foxporn, porncuze, porn110, porn120, oiporn, pornthx, blueporn, roxporn, silverporn, porn700, porn10, porn40, porn900