Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sanctions are not enough. Assad must go - CNN (blog)

Sanctions aren't enough; Assad must goThe brutal repression of the Syria on anti-Government protests sparked demonstrations everywhere in the world, as seen here in Turkey.Editor's note: Michael Young is editor of the opinion of the daily Star and author of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: life struggle of An Eyewitness account of the Lebanon, published by Simon & Schuster, and ranked 10 2010 notable books by the Wall Street Journal. He tweets @ beirutcalling.

By michael young - CNN special

US sanctions that have simply been imposed on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are useful, but not enough.

Assad regime has lost any legitimacy. He cannot continue in power. Something is fundamentally broken in Syria, and the time has come to ask the President to leave the Office. The United States can and should, develop a roadmap to achieve this result. Rather than focus on sanctions, in his speech Thursday, President Barack Obama should call Bashar al-Assad to resign. He demanded the same of Hosni Mubarak, who was responsible for much of his own people to kill.

US authorities have said they have little leverage over the Syria.  It is absurd. The reality is that if someone has means of pressure above the Syria, it is the United States. However, leveraged is something that you accumulate. You choose only it ether.

How to develop means of pressure on the Syria is to mobilize an international coalition to isolate the Syrian regime and convince that his time has come to depart. This is essential to prevent a further exacerbation of sectarian tensions in Syria, which the Assad regime has manipulated to increase opportunities for violence, this way saying: "We are in power or chaos." Sectarian conflict could affect neighbouring States with mixed companies, especially in the Lebanon and Iraq.

First of all, the Administration of Obama should convince the Arab countries - especially Saudi Arabia and the Egypt - they need to encourage change them in Syria as a means of weakening Iran's influence in the Levant. Both have a great incentive to go hand in hand with this and would like, finally, a US strategy to contain the influence of Tehran.

The Russia and China may also be influenced to start support Assad. Remember, the two countries authorized sanctions against the Iran, a country much more vital to their interests than the Syria. They argued against the conviction of the Syria to the Security Council on the ground that the situation does not constitute a threat to peace and security. But the brutal methods Assad are heightening sectarian tensions, which in turn could spread across the borders of the Syria.

If this does not constitute a threat to regional stability, therefore international peace and security, nothing does. Their reluctance to condemn the brutal repression of the Syrian regime is more inexcusable.

The European Union, with the British and the French taking the lead, can also be committed to impose sanctions on the Syria. Indeed, the two countries are now working to prepare a resolution on the Syria to the UN Security Council. German resistance is step may be enough to block the wider European Agreement, especially after the Germany was recently embarrassed for has refused to run against the regime of the Libya.

But this package must be broader that just isolate the Assad. It must involve persuading the family in the Syrian power to leave the country, even if the officials must be held accountable for their crimes. The Turkey can play a key role in this process, the scheme does not necessarily want to fight to the last man and its members can be recalculated once they see that they are isolated, regional and international.

I do not think that the Syrian opposition is sectarian. It is not only a Sunni phenomenon and certainly not a Salafi phenomenon. Demonstrators faced weeks of actual bullets peacefully, without resorting to sectarian mobilization. However, the regime has done its best to exacerbate sectarian relations, and unless this is soon curbed, there is a real risk of an uncontrolled deterioration of the situation and therefore inter-community relations. An opposition which acted in so a responsible way, with great courage, merit certainly give a chance to put in place a democratic, sovereign of the Syria.

The United States, with the Arab States and the international community, to develop a roadmap for a smooth transition in Syria - a to ensure that the Syrians determine their destiny as soon possible. The change has swept the Arab world. It is now the turn of the Syria. Obama must take the lead in showing Assad the door.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of Michael Young.

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