How to Fix the Syrian Mess

The bloody conflict in Syria since early 2011—whether we call it a civil war or by any other name—has brought in its wake actual disaster with vast destruction of the country and its infrastructure and over 200,000 dead, 6.7 million internally displaced, 3.8 million refugees and 13 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Staffan de Mistura, the third in a series of United Nations envoys tasked to find a solution for the Syrian conflict, has introduced an “action plan” aimed to make 2015 the year in which movement toward a political settlement of the conflict takes place.

As things stand, and given the factors that pushed the previous efforts and initiatives, including Geneva I and II, to failure, success of the new plan proposed by UN special envoy depends on a much larger political orchestration. As I see it, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) and the five relevant regional players—Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia/ GCC and Egypt (R5)—should adopt a fresh look and approach to the Syrian crisis. Overall, agreement on the following steps could pave the way for an exit from the current deadly impasse.

There are six steps that must be taken.

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“How to Fix the Syrian Mess,” Hossein Mousavian, The National Interest, March 24, 2015