UN envoy: Without deal in Syria, think Somalia not Yugoslavia
The United Nations' envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi argued against hopes that the country could find stability by devolving into a set of smaller states.
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Middle East Editor
Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog.
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After a week of attempting to craft a peace plan that both President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition would agree to, the United Nations' envoy to Syria said the situation will not stabilize on its own and that a political deal is no closer.
“People are talking about a divided Syria being split into a number of small states like Yugoslavia,” Lakhdar Brahimi said, according to The New York Times. “This is not what is going to happen. What will happen is Somalization – warlords."
“The situation is bad and it’s getting worse,” Brahimi also said, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “I can’t see anything other than these two paths: Either there will be a political solution that will meet the ambitions and legitimate rights of the Syrian people, or Syria will turn into hell.”
He warned that the violence could claim as many as 100,000 lives in 2013.
According to the New York Times, Mr. Assad did not respond to Mr. Brahimi's proposals and a Syrian opposition leader declined an invitation to Moscow to meet with Russian officials. Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said Assad could not be convinced to leave the country, which the opposition has insisted is a precondition for talks.
Speaking about the yawning gap that has to be bridged for the two sides to sit down for talks, CNN reports that Brahimi said, "The Syrians disagree violently. On one side, the government says we are doing our duty to protect our people from ... terrorists. On the other side, they say the government is illegitimate," Brahimi said. "They are not talking about the same problem. They are talking about two different problems."