Analysis: Sympathy, but few solutions, regarding Syria
September 29th, 2012
09:10 AM ET

Analysis: Sympathy, but few solutions, regarding Syria

By Elise Labott

Hillary Clinton painted a chilling picture for the 20 or so foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria group meeting Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

"We see more bodies filling hospitals and morgues, and more refugees leaving their homeland and flooding into neighboring countries," Clinton said in her address. "The regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin."

Yet ideas on how to bring about that new dawn are in short supply, as the international community remains unwilling to act. Proposals by Qatar to establish an Arab force to stop the bloodshed, and calls by France and Turkey to create a no-fly zone to protest "liberated" areas have met lukewarm resistance by the U.S. and other nations without a U.N. Security Council resolution.

The meeting discussed efforts to create an all-inclusive transitional government and increase aid to address a growing humanitarian crisis. Clinton pledged $30 million to help Syrians affected by the violence - both those inside the country and the tens of thousands of refugees pouring into neighboring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Clinton also announced $15 million in additional non-lethal aid for communications gear and training. The funding for activists, students and journalists will be used to help the opposition communicate and prepare for political transition. But it will also help train civil servants to deliver essential municipal services in areas that have been abandoned by the regime. That could mean, officials say, anything from ensuring electricity flows to homes, to rebuilding schools to baking bread.

More than eighteen months into the conflict, which activists say has killed around 30,000 people, diplomats say the lack of unity among the opposition regarding a vision for a post-Assad Syria remains one of the greatest challenges. One of the main goals at Friday's meeting was to discuss ways to strengthen coordination among Syria's fractured opposition groups. Members of local groups from across Syria and exiles with the Syrian National Council attended the session.
But complaints about Syria's splintered opposition have been matched by frustration over the international community's own paralysis.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League representative for Syria, warned the Security Council that the situation in Syria continues to worsen. Five weeks into the job, he acknowledged he had a few ideas but no new plan to stop the bloodshed.

Brahiami's predecessor, Kofi Annan, resigned in frustration after Russia and China vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad to end the violence and begin negotiations over a political transition. A framework transition plan agreed to in Geneva by the permanent members of the Security Council remains on the table, but can not be implemented before an agreement is struck with Russia over how it's implemented.

"It is no secret that our attempts to move forward at the U.N. Security Council have been blocked repeatedly, but the United States is not waiting," Clinton said. She issued a stern warning to Hezbollah, and its backer, Iran, to stop supporting and arming the Syrian regime.

"There is no longer any doubt that Tehran will do whatever it takes to protect its proxy and crony in Damascus," she said.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil ElAraby told the meeting that it is time for a political transition in Syria because the situation is becoming "more explosive."

"The Syrian people are looking for us here," he said. If those at the meeting truly are the friends of the Syrian people, they must "take concrete and practical steps to end this tragic and indeed dangerous crisis, to save the lives of innocent people and to save Syria and the whole region from the scourge of a more expanded civil war and more tragedies of massive proportions."

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  17. LR

    So, let me get this straight. Muslims destroy other religions shrines, and ancient statues and that's ok, but if a single Koran is destroyed, it's alright to kill.

    I just want to make sure I'm understanding this.

    September 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • Falcon Eyes

      That depends on which temples you are talking about. Here is one.

      In many Hindu temples there are sculptures depicting men having s@x not only with men but also cows. What is the meaning of this? Is not the cow sacred? If it is, then it should be worshipped not s@xually assaulted!

      This seems more like a brothel. Would you like to have one next to your house? I am sure you understand it now.

      In the name of our Lord.

      September 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • marc


      September 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  18. Amit-Tacoma-USA.

    With such "Dark Age" culture still in existence in India how can the world be healthy and the neighbors prosperous. India poses a grave danger to the world and its deities and leaders set a bad example. Mahatma Gandhi, a pedophile, needs to be exposed and tried posthumously for his child molestation crimes just like the Penn State crowd Sandusky et al. Gandhi's statutes need to be knocked down everywhere they have been put in USA. The hindu deities need to be shattered and trashed. Disgusting figurines of ugly and scary looking characters with demonic personalities. How can hindu children grow up mentally stable looking at such atrocious representations of evil in its most heinous form.

    September 30, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • Monsignor Tyler

      Sounds good to me. We should fix this. In God We Trust. In the name of our Lord.

      September 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  19. zaqaz

    The Arab League: making the UN look competent by comparison.

    September 30, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • marc

      stop arming these fanatic they kill people d they say ALAH AKBAR THESE PEOPLE TYEY DOESNOT KNOW GOD good moem doesnot kiull so if the american and theeian they care about the innocent people of syria they should stop arming and start negotiation with the regime thats the best solution so please stop the suffering of these ordin peoples

      September 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  20. Anthony

    It is not our war. So long as Assad is no threatening our interests and he is no position to these days, leave it be. Does anyone know who these opposition fighters are?

    Give assistance to Turkey and Jordan to deal with the refugees, but otherwise we should all stay out.

    September 30, 2012 at 5:59 am | Reply
    • marc

      THATnot the soluantony they are human the only way is to sitd negotiate not killing the ameri they shold do it

      September 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  21. Mark

    It is funny that US and Britain says that they are just providing non-lethal equipment. But actually they are providing weapons, but it’s just doing it through third parties. The $45 million of aid from the US is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the weapons and the funding for the West's proxy war against Syria is being channeled through Saudi Arabia and through Qatar. Britain alone for example, last year provided £1.75 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, and much of it is now ending up in the hands of these proxy militias. So that $45 million figure is actually just the tip of the iceberg.

    September 30, 2012 at 5:02 am | Reply
  22. George Patton

    There is but one solution to the Syrian crisis and that solution is to have all the outside parties stay out of this conflict and let the chips fall where they may. The problem here is that neither the Arab League nor the West will think of that!!!

    September 29, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • Omar

      If it wasn't for the French , the USA would have been a British colony today.

      September 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  23. Uber News Network (UNN) ©

    We subscribe to the school of thought (as propagated by many commentators on this forum most prominent being @krm1007 ©™) that UN, NATO, Eurozone have all played their roles but have become redundant in current times. We need to think out of the box. A global democratic body embodies our political aspirations. We can't go back to the old paradigm that gave us several world wars. An elected world government should emerge based on democratic principles of one person one vote. There will be no veto powers. The center of seat will be based in developing countries

    September 29, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Don't you think that the British, the French and the Americans will take advantage of the organization that you're proposing above and try to become dominant, (UNN)? The policies of these three countries is driven by greed. We do not need to have all the power concentrated in the hands of so few!!!

      September 29, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
      • Joe M

        The power is already concentrated in the hands of a few. USA is the big dog, UN Security Council has a few permanent members that has veto power. It is not working. I suppose UNN is proposing a democratic setup where others may have a chance and hope of breaking this current dogmatic setup that is resulting is so many wars and cannot solve the probems existent in the world today.

        September 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • krm1007 ©™

      "The regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin." Hillary hits the nail on the head. I don't see any other solution but al-Assad must go. World must unit behind opposition forces and provide them weapons and training. US/UN must keep a watchful eye on chemical weapons before being smuggled into Iran.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
      • Amit-Atlanta-USA.

        We continue to monitor the economic, political and cultural bubble burst/malaise in India and are very concerned with the continued state of deterioration. At this point, we restate our view that India is in a precarious situation and that a geo-political implosion is imminent (if not already in process) and the need of the hour. As you will recall, India has an unmanageable large population mired in poverty and we are spinning our wheels trying to prop it up. Additionally, it is also too big of a geographical unit to govern. Americans now need to focus on its own people and cannot afford to handout more financial and technological aid to India.

        September 30, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • marc

        ITS NOT THE AMERICAN OR THE EUORPIAN HAVE TO DECIDE for the syrian or any other country people of these cpuntry they decide for them selves aand its funy you speak about democracy IS THAT YOUR DEMCRACY ANOTHER COUNTRY WILL DECIDE WHAT A KIND OF PRESIDENT THEY SHOULD HAVE THAT NOT DEMOCRACY

        September 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

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