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NYT: In Syria, We Need to Bargain With the Devil

Author: Nicholas Noe
February 6, 2012


Nicholas Noe argues that an internationally led reconciliation effort and subsequent peace-keeping presence in Syria would bypass the resulting destruction of a military intervention or civil war, while still keeping the diplomatic upper hand.

Almost one year after anti-government protests began in Syria, a disaster of enormous moral and strategic proportions is fast approaching. Full-scale civil war is now likely. And a multifront, conventional and possibly unconventional war ignited by events in the Levant is also increasingly plausible.

However, many in the West, in some Arab governments and even in the Syrian opposition still think a "controlled collapse" of Bashar al-Assad's government is possible.

According to this view, increasing pressure from all around will, at some point, fracture the government and its supporters both at home and abroad. Any resulting death and destruction, as well as regional blowback, will be within acceptable limits.

Unfortunately, there are at least three problems that make a controlled collapse unlikely.

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