The United Nations and a peace process strategy for Syria

The United Nations and a peace process strategy for Syria

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:15 am

The United Nations and a peace process strategy for Syria

[ https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awak ... -for-syria

Leila Hilal 26 June 2015

A NOREF policy brief providing a series of recommendations for the development of a peacemkaing strategy for Syria, led by the UN with support from key countries.

The counterterrorism effort launched by the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition has sidetracked international attention away from a political resolution to the Syrian civil war. Officials, analysts and peace practitioners alike are latching on to quick fixes aimed at mitigating violence at the local level. Although stakeholders are mindful of the need to match bottom-up de-escalation efforts with top-down interventions, a comprehensive approach is as elusive as ever. The United Nations (UN) secretary-general’s appointment of a new special envoy for Syria presents an opportunity for building an inclusive peacemaking strategy for the country. This policy brief provides a series of recommendations for the development of a strategy led by the UN with support from key countries.

Introduction

The appointment of the third special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, follows the resignation of former envoys Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi. Both the latter were seasoned diplomats. Brahimi held the post the longest, serving for nearly two years and presiding over the only direct talks held between the Syrian government and the formal opposition in early 2014. The talks, based on the Geneva Communiqué adopted by the international Action Group for Syria in June 2012, failed to produce common understandings between the parties or change in the status quo. Brahimi subsequently resigned, faulting proxy warfare and international and regional discord.

De Mistura has embraced three priorities of comparative modesty: "anything to contribute to reduce the level of violence, anything we can do to increase the access of aid even across the borders and inside Syria, and promote the political process". [ http://www.sputniknews.com/politics/201 ... d-for.html ]

Since outlining these priorities, de Mistura has been promoting a plan to freeze military hostilities in areas of Syria (“freeze zones”), beginning with the highly contested Aleppo governorate and working “bottom-up”. [ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29999157 ] Following his second visit to Damascus, the Assad government indicated that it might accept the proposal while opposition representatives have expressed reservations.

An agreement to hold fire in Aleppo could bring some much-needed relief to Syrians fatigued by war. But a partial de-escalation of violence would not fill the political vacuum, which the Islamic State (IS) and other armed factions have been exploiting.

A negotiation pause is warranted. The U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq and Syria marks the convergence of anti-jihadist interests among external powers fuelling the Syrian civil war. These interests could be leveraged into a deal to force leading warring parties to accept a political transition and a complete end to armed hostilities. The five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+) are best placed to shepherd a deal.

Sufficient Syrian national consensus will, however, be needed for a durable resolution to the conflict. The UN special envoy is the appropriate interlocutor to begin building the foundations for productive Syrian negotiations while feeding into international and regional diplomacy for a grand bargain. De Mistura should adopt and purse a peace process support strategy in parallel to his efforts to freeze fighting in certain locales.

MORE:

[ https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awak ... -for-syria

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Leila Hilal is a senior fellow at the International Security Programme at New America, currently focused on governance, political dialogue, and civil society in the MENA region. She has led conflict assessment missions including for Chatham House, the International Centre for Transitional Justice and the Euro-Med Human Rights Network. She holds a JD from SUNY Buffalo Law School and an LLM from Harvard Law School.
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Re: The United Nations and a peace process strategy for Syri

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:30 am

Harper must be held accountable for failing Syrian Refugees

[ http://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=22221 ]

• Posted on September 4, 2015 • by Ceasefire.ca

Outrage continues to mount in the wake of the tragic drowning of a three year-old Syrian toddler, Ayan Kurdi, [
http://ipolitics.ca/2015/09/03/on-the-r ... t-napping/ ] his 5 year-old brother and their mother, refugees fleeing the war in their country, and in light of the ever increasing evidence that Canada has put almost impenetrable bureaucratic hurdles before those seeking refuge in Canada. [
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e26223762/ ]

Much of the criticism has been deservedly laid at the door of the inept and grossly insensitive Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, who yesterday put his campaign temporarily on hold and flew to Ottawa. [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada- ... -1.3213869 ] His stated reason was to address the immigration crisis, but it soon became clear that the real reason was to engage in largely futile damage control, in the face of the damning evidence that the Kurdi family had sought help from Canada – his help in fact – and had received none.

What is lacking to date is equal amounts of Canadian public and pundit outrage over Prime Minister Harper’s blatant attempt to change the channel [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harper- ... -1.3215028 ] by alleging that the real solution was not better Canadian refugee asylum procedures but increased bombing of Islamic State. Even if the military air strikes against Islamic state were proving effective, which anti-ISIL Coalition spokespersons admit is not the case, [ https://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-roge ... nd-reality ] it would take a very long time to produce decisive results, thus doing absolutely nothing to help refugees fleeing the war and in desperate need right now and, in the meantime, creating even more refugee flows.

But even if increased military action against Islamic State were to prove effective in the short term, this still would do absolutely nothing to stop the flow of refugees fleeing bombings and other attacks from the other parties to the conflict in Syria, namely the Assad government on the one hand and the array of opposition forces, in addition to Islamic State, fighting against Assad on the other hand. Additionally, since Islamic State is the most capable force fighting against President Assad, one can make a strong argument that their elimination would lead to even more, not less, refugees fleeing Assad government bombings. If Harper is really looking for an end to the war, the answer lies where it always has, in a UN-brokered peace deal with Assad, however unpalatable that might be. [ https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awak ... -for-syria ]

Prime Minister Harper’s assertion that the real solution to the Syrian refugee crisis is greater military action against Islamic State simply does not stand up to scrutiny. It is a diversion, a case of bait and switch, and the sooner he is called to account for it, the better.
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Re: The United Nations and a peace process strategy for Syri

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:36 am

Statement by Elizabeth May on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

[ http://www.greenparty.ca/en/media-relea ... gee-crisis ]

September 03, 2015

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and candidate (Saanich - Gulf Islands), issued the following statement about the Syrian refugee crisis and the recent death of a three-year-old Syrian refugee and others:

“As a mother and a grandmother, I was devastated to see the photo of that poor child. I cannot imagine the unbearable grief of his father, who also lost his other boy and his wife. I offer my condolences to him and his family.

“As the Green Party leader, I expect Canada to take on its share of the responsibility in the Syrian refugee crisis, so we never see these types of images again. Stephen Harper has no credibility whatsoever on this issue, having failed to honour previous announcements. We should ramp up the number of refugees welcomed to Canada to 25,000 and we must do more to end the conflict, including living up to our commitments to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

“The current system is almost impossible when compared to sponsorships at the time of the Vietnamese 'boat people' when Canada welcomed refugees with open arms. Now, it is expensive and loaded with obstacles."

“I condemn the inaction of Conservatives on such a pressing matter. I have been pleading with them to take action. We have dozens of cases just in my own constituency: people in Cyprus, in Turkey and Syria who urgently need help. I get direct messages from families whose children are stuck indoors all day, for days on end, because it's unsafe to play outside. Simply put, this situation is a nightmare.

“As the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, I have directly assisted in re-uniting families and the effort that it takes is extreme. I have worked directly with the embassies and I know how understaffed they were for this crisis. It is unconscionable.

“I was so happy to reunite two families by getting the husbands of two women out of Syria. I can say from experience of helping people in Saanich Gulf Islands that our system for immigration and refugees is broken as a result of Harper's actions.”
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Re: The United Nations and a peace process strategy for Syri

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:43 am

Migrant crisis weighs as party leaders respond to Canada's refugee policy

[ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e26226003/ ]

Bill Curry OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail Published Friday, Sep. 04, 2015 11:36AM EDT Last updated Friday, Sep. 04, 2015 5:35PM EDT

Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair traded attacks over the merits of Canada’s military efforts in Iraq and Syria as the Conservative Leader repeated Friday that refugee policy alone is not the answer to the region’s escalating humanitarian crisis.

All three major political parties resumed their regular campaign events Friday after a dramatic day as Canadian refugee policy suddenly attracted international attention. The shocking image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s dead body and the revelation that the Kurdi family had hoped to come to Canada continued to weigh on the campaign as party leaders put forward their positions as to the best government response.

Mr. Mulcair, the NDP Leader, criticized Mr. Harper for focusing his comments this week on highlighting the importance of Canada’s bombing campaign in the region.

“No amount of military action would have saved that child on that beach yesterday. So let’s start acting to save lives immediately,” said Mr. Mulcair, who repeated his call for the Canadian government to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year.

The NDP Leader argued that the region’s troubles date back to the misguided military invasion of Iraq in 2003 and that there is no role for the Canadian military in attempting to choose sides in a Syrian civil war.

“The NDP disagrees with the use of Canada’s Armed Forces in that conflict. We’ve been clear on that since the beginning,” he said at an event in Brossard, Que.

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[ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e26226003/ ]
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