|Extracts from "Grim Prospects for the Middle East in 2013" - by Patrick Seale|
|Written by Patrick Seale|
|Thursday, 03 January 2013 12:14|
...What New Year resolutions would I dare to recommend to Arab leaders?
*First, do everything possible to heal the crippling Sunni-Shi‘i rift, which gravely weakens the Arab world. An early move would be to summon a grand conference in Mecca of ulema of all sects and tendencies – and keep them there until they hammer out their differences.
*Secondly, protect what is left of Syria – and its central role in containing Israel. Stop the killing by bringing the regime and its opponents to the negotiating table, whether they like it or not. There is no military solution to the crisis. The only way to end the orgy of destruction is to impose a ceasefire on both sides, halt the delivery of funds and weapons to the regime and the rebels, isolate murderous extremists in both camps, and mobilise the United States and Russia, as well as the European Union, Egypt, Turkey and Iran, in support of a political transition. The key issue is not whether President Bashar al-Asad stays or quits. At stake is the preservation of a unitary Syrian state. This must be done to protect Syria’s unique historical heritage, its state institutions, its ancient minorities, and its vital regional role in defence of Arab independence.
Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East. His latest book is The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge University Press).
|Last Updated on Thursday, 03 January 2013 12:22|