What can be done about Syria?

Quagmire doesn’t begin to describe what the Mideast has become. So many factions, so many competing interests, so many deaths. As the United States is about to get serious about IS the question comes up: if we attack IS in Syria and degrade their ability to wage war, are we doing Assad’s work for him? Will he be able to focus more on the moderate Syrians fighting him and barrel-bomb them into oblivion? The answer is obviously, yes.

Is there any way out of this? Yes again: Split that country up, for God’s sake! All the players in the region and the United Nations should get together and say enough is enough: clearly there are a lot of people who want to live under an Assad regime and a lot of people who don’t. Syria should be divided into two countries, or even more, difficult as that may be, and anyone who wants to move should be compensated. There is a report now that half of all Syrians have been displaced. One half! They’re living with relatives, living abroad, living in refugee camps. The partition has already begun. People have already been forced to move. Let’s try to make it more orderly, more humane, save the money we’d spend on weapons, and give the money to help those who want to start a new life in a safer place.   Self-determination should be permitted, as much as possible, and creating two Syrias will allow people to make a choice.

There should be no illusions that it won’t be a bloody transition, as it was with India and Pakistan.   It will be messy, but could it be worse than it is now?

What about IS and self-determination? IS has forfeited any claim to rule.   Their disregard for the most basic human rights, for the Geneva Conventions, their funding based on kidnapping, their campaigns of ethnic cleansing…in the modern world this cannot be part of any legitimate movement or any government.   This group of men (and are there any women on board with this?) should be considered pariahs by the entire world.

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