Can Assad end up like Saleh?

June 14, 2012 10:52 am0 commentsViews:

Baraa Shiban looks at the chances of the ‘Yemeni Solution’ working in Syria.

The New York Times revealed a plan that shows that the US President Barack Obama is seeking to remove Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad from power, in a manner similar to what happened in Yemen, in an attempt to stop a blood bath in Syria for more than a year.

The plan requires political negotiations in Syria that would satisfy the opposition by removing the president while keeping some of the Assad regime in power, which allows the transfer of power in the same way that moved the Yemeni ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The plan’s success depends on Russia, seen as one of the strongest allies of the Syrian regime. Moscow had previously prevented any international sanctions on the Syrian regime by using its veto at the UN Security Council. Russia stood against any tough sanctions on the Assad regime for fear that it would force the Syrian president to fall, and thus face a similar fate to the Libyan Colonel Mummar Gaddafi, who was killed, or the Egyptian ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The New York Times also pointed out that there is international pressure on Russia to force it to use its influence to oust Assad, due to the continued killings in Syria, like the attack on the town of Houla in Homs Syria, which killed more than ninety people.

Officials in the American administration said that Obama will announce the US plan along with the Russian President Vladimir Putin by the coming month, during the first meeting between the two presidents since Putin assumed the presidency on the 7th of May.

What is the difference between Syria and Yemen?

The delay in resolving the situation in Syria makes the solution very taxing, maybe further than any party can afford to go. In the Syrian case we’re not talking about the president’s son, his nephews and a group of his family like Yemen, but we’re talking about a significant number of military leaders at all levels, between one hundred to one-hundred thousand at the very least, all with blood on their hands. They won’t accept the resignation of Assad to face un unknown fate.

This huge number is much bigger than any immunity can cover, and we also should not forget the different players who have deep interests in maintaining the current regime, especially Iran.

Russia might prefer the transfer of power under its supervision, but it’s important that Assad won’t just use the proposal to gain more time, so any approach should be considered carefully before making any step forward.

Baraa Shiban