June 10, 2012
As the Syrian opposition officially abandons the ceasefire and calls for foreign intervention and the imposition of a no-fly zone , US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a new transition plan that would topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, signaling the increasing possibility of intervention outside the mandate of the United Nations .
Following clashes between militant rebel groups and government forces that claimed the lives of 80 Syrian troops , rebels in Aleppo have reportedly taken 11 hostages and vowed to release them only when a new state is established .
While Bashar al-Assad attributes the perpetuation of Syria’s crisis to outside forces , Iran has expressed its readiness to mount an armed resistance against foreign military forces in Syria .
Regardless of who perpetrated the recent killings in Qubayr and Houla, the profoundly disturbing images of lifeless children begs the question, has the Syrian crisis reached a point of incorrigibility?
Western media has largely relied on unconfirmed opposition accounts crediting the Shabiha, pro-government Alawite militias with carrying out massacres across Syria as a result of the Assad government “brainwashing the militia into believing the Sunni majority was their enemy,” as reported by The Telegraph. 
Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has recently reported that anti-Assad Sunni militants carried out the massacre in Houla, targeting pro-government Alawi and Shia minorities,
Human Rights Watch has also released a report entitled “Syria - Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses,” documenting the outstanding cases of violence exercised by the Syrian opposition, who have been accused of kidnapping, detaining, torturing and executing of members of the Syrian military and civilian government supporters .
HRW reports that attacks by opposition groups are conducted largely on sectarian grounds, motivated by anti-Shia and anti-Alawite sentiments, citing abuses committed by militant Salafist groups and members of the opposition Free Syrian Army.
Although UN observers admit they are unable to determine the perpetrators of the recent massacre in Qubayr with no firm evidence to inculpate the Syrian government, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has declared that the Assad government has lost its legitimacy , channeling calls by President Barak Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron for Assad to step down .
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has recently accused external forces of inciting violence by providing arms and material assistance to militant opposition forces, stating,
Following the killings in Qubayr, US Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner called on the world to exert "maximum
financial pressure" on Assad's government through strong sanctions that “can
help hasten the day the Assad regime relinquishes power," while assuring
that the US would support the use of force against Syria as authorized under
Chapter 7 of the United Nations charter. 
Former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has reported that NATO/American-affiliated troops have conducted operations on Jordanian soil near Syrian border in the village of Albaej , as US troops reportedly train members of the Free Syrian Army along with Jordanian forces in order to prepare them for an international military drill in the country .
Syrian officials report the presence of
intelligence operatives from Mossad and the CIA, as well as employees of
private military contractors such as
Blackwater in Syria; security forces
have reportedly detained French, Turkish, Gulf, Iraqi, and Lebanese gunmen
operating inside Syria. 
The United States has admittedly spent $6 million training opposition journalists and activists between 2006 and 2010, while funneling approximately $6.3 million to the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based dissident organization that broadcasts anti-government news into Syria . As a further indication of foreign elements at work in Syria, members of the Syrian opposition have also adopted tactics seen by Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Reuters reports in their article, “Outgunned Syria rebels make shift to bombs,” that rebels have adopted suicide bombing, booby-trapped car bombs and roadside explosions.
Joseph Holliday of the US-based Institute for the Study of War adds:
While the editorial policy of The New York Times permits the publication of pieces such as the ostentatiously titled “Assad, the Butcher,” which incongruously accuses the foreign ministries of Russia and China of living in a “fantasy world” before calling on those nations to receive “comprehensive punishments” for being complicit in “more than 12,000 Syrian deaths,” the Western and Gulf capitals’ strategy of arming militant opposition forces and extremist groups has worked to foment atrocities and further enflame regional sectarian tension, invalidating any attempt to abide by Kofi Annan’s Peace Plan. 
Publications released by The Brookings Institution, a US think-tank noted for its influence on American foreign policy, provides further insight into the nature of Washington’s objectives in Syria.
Brookings’ March 2012 Middle East Memo titled
- Assessing Options for Regime Change,” is a testament to the
underlying politicization of the “Responsibility to Protect” in Syria, as
atrocities are orchestrated as a pretext to protect civilians, to warrant
toppling the Syrian government and furthering Washington’s geopolitical
objectives in the region.
Brookings’ Memo meticulously theorizes ways to overthrow the Assad government, including the use of crippling economic sanctions to further incite unrest and the leveraging of human rights abuses to aggressively intervene in Syria,
Due to budget restraints and a public wary of fighting wars overseas, Washington’s strategy is to lead from behind by prompting other countries to lead the charge militarily,
While Hilary Clinton and others pay lip service to supporting the ceasefire proposed by the Annan Plan, Brookings’ advisers suggest Washington,
The US continues pressuring neighboring countries like Jordan and Turkey to provide support for the militant Syrian opposition,
Brookings’ Memo highlights Washington’s commitment to overthrowing the Syrian government using the most cost-effect means possible,
The toppling of the Assad government would offer the United States and its allies in Tel Aviv and Riyadh substantial strategic advantages, as the underlying object of supporting insurgent activity against Damascus is to undermine Iranian influence in the Arab world.
Syria under Bashar al-Assad is the fundamental channel that links Hezbollah with Iran, serving as a transit point for conducting training operations and distributing material assistance to the Palestinian resistance.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has theorized that the toppling of Assad would,
Although Syria’s opposition in power after the downfall of Assad would be a compliant entity to the foreign powers supporting it, the SNC would likely be unable to conjure the political leverage needed to enforce order, and heinous violations of human rights would no doubt occur under it.
If Salafist elements were able to usurp
authority, Syria’s Alawite, Druze and Christian populations would likely be
subject to sectarian violence and persecution.
Over time, resistance movements in Lebanon and occupied Palestinian territories may be unable to defend their territory without outside support, allowing the Netanyahu government to more effectively pursue its aspirations to create a "Greater Israel".
Saudi Arabia is motivated by the prospect of becoming a dominant regional power and the ideological aspirations of quelling the expansion of Shia identity through neutralizing the governments of Tehran and Damascus, as adherents to Sunni Islam recognize Alawites as part of the Shia sect.
Turkey is also determined to increase its
influence in the region and possibly expand its territory by annexing
northern regions of Syria under appropriate circumstances.
The immediate cessation of violence in Syria through diplomatic and non-abrasive means should be the ultimate objective of those individuals charged with enforcing the Annan Plan, even if it means drastically increasing the presence and financial expenditure of a neutral United Nations peacekeeping mission.
For all its shortcomings and adherence to
aggressive policies of the United States, Israel, and others,
Nations is the only institution currently established to undertake such a
mission in Syria.
Although both the opposition and the Syrian government have exercised inappropriate and excessive force indiscriminately throughout the conflict, the government of Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate legal authority in Syria.
The Assad government has issued reforms allowing
for multi-party competition, the establishment of an independent judiciary,
a two-term limit on the presidency and political pluralism through
inaugurating a new constitution passed in a referendum held in February
2012. If a ceasefire can be upheld through a power-sharing agreement between
representatives of various opposition groups and the current government in
Syria, the international community should rightfully encourage such a
The United Nations or any other legitimate neutral institution must investigate the nation states and institutions responsible for illegally exporting arms into Syria and issue substantial fines and sanctions to those responsible parties. Neutral institutions must secure Syria’s borders and thoroughly inspect all incoming and outgoing persons and cargo; in addition, an arms embargo must be established and respected by all sides with a focus on subduing illegal smuggling.
Both sides must be encouraged to use the maximum amount of restraint, no matter how severe the provocation. In the case of successful dialogue between the Assad government and representatives of the opposition, the creation of UN-administered “arms-free zones” can be established in population centers if opposition leaders can be persuaded to call for the gradual disarmament of rebel forces.
Neutral external individuals and institutions could encourage inter-faith dialogues between regional spiritual leaders, and perhaps influential clerics can be persuaded to issue fatwas or the equivalent against the further perpetuation of violence in an attempt to cool sectarian tensions. If the Syrian government and members of the opposition can come to a conducive transitional agreement where all parties have a degree of influence, joint security coalitions can be formed comprised of UN personnel, Syrian soldiers and former rebels to ensure that the ceasefire is exercised.
Those who act outside the ceasefire using
illegally procured arms and explosives could be individually prosecuted or
dealt with by force if they pose an immediate security threat.
All efforts must be made to transition the Syrian people into a climate of normality, including the removal of economic sanctions. At this crucial stage, the Syrian government should exercise strict curfews to ensure the safety of civilians, making it more difficult for terrorist groups to operate. Even if an agreement can be reached between Bashar al-Assad and representatives of Syria’s various opposition groups, terrorists groups would likely continue to provoke violence for whatever their purpose.
Until both the Syrian government and the
opposition can unite under the common goal of providing security to the
people of Syria, no viable political transitions can be agreed upon.
Even if internal actors agree upon a solution, it will take years for the people of Syria to recover from this conflict and begin to forgive each other.
If the majority of Syrian people desire a change in leadership, the world must respect their aspirations, however such a decision can only be reached once the domestic security situation has transitioned to appropriate levels by both sides respecting the ceasefire.
Those individuals who value stability founded on
the pillars of peace, compromise and conflict aversion must make their
voices heard and stand with the Syrian people to help steer them out of
these dark times, and eventually, help them heal.