It’s Time to Engage Iran, Russia on SyriaPosted: 26/07/2012
The battle for Syria is best understood as the epicenter and early stages of a regional sectarian conflict, rather than the last days of President Bashar al-Assad, writes IISS-US Director Andrew Parasiliti in his latest piece for Al-Monitor. The Syrian president has taken some hits in the past week but has settled in for a no-holds-barred fight to hold onto power. Syria’s civil war is inseparable from the broader regional conflict – ‘many in the Gulf Cooperation Council states consider Syria a sectarian battlefield to check Iranian and Shiite power and influence,’ he explains.
The US has no easy options or answers in Syria, but if it seeks to prevent Syria’s collapse, reduce the prospects for further bloodshed and facilitate as stable a transition as possible, then Washington needs to open an urgent new diplomatic front with Russia and Iran, the two countries that retain the most leverage with Assad.