Syria’s sanctions: France says too late for reforms

Damascus earlier agreed in principle to let international observers enter the country, apparently to comply with an Arab League ultimatum for the regime to stop the violence by Saturday.

­France and Turkey have called for greater international pressure on Damascus, claiming the time for implementing reforms has come and gone. Pressure on Damascus is growing as the UK has reportedly been asked, by the King of Jordan, to lead a diplomatic offensive against President Bashar al-Assad.

The move echoes the build-up to the recent Libyan operation – a direction Moscow vehemently opposes. Russia and China have previously vetoed UN Security Council resolutions that would allow an international military presence in Syria – but as political science professor at Paris West University Dr. Pierre Guerlain told RT, “the desire for military intervention is there, but political conditions are not right”.

Guerlain also said that “it’s quite likely that the solution for Syrian leaders, to give up power, can be worked out by the Syrians themselves, helped by some outside forces. But neither a Turkish or a Western intervention would be a good thing, because military interventions cause chaos”.  

Political cartoonist and author Ted Rall told RT that an intervention in Syria is not so foreign a concept – especially for France. Speaking from New York, Mr. Rall said that “France has some sort of neo-colonial designs on the Assad regime, they see some opportunities there – but I don’t think any of the people involved here are really truly looking to greenlight a full-fledged bombing offensive, on the same scale that we’ve seen starting in March in Libya. It could happen because of what they’re doing right now – but I don’t think it’s what they have in mind”.

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­‘The fuse is lit’

­As Turkey and Jordan are reportedly preparing to create two buffer zones for civilian refugees on Syrian territory, though it is still part of a sovereign country, Eric Margolis – Toronto-based war correspondent and columnist  says this looks like the beginning of military intervention. “Certainly, the fuse is lit,” he notes.

“I am surprised that Turkey has decided to go so far after being very cautious and trying to maintain good relations with all of its neighbors. Jordan in a sense is sticking its neck out too.”

The UK is being called on by Jordan to lead the diplomatic offensive against Assad. What the two countries are trying to achieve, according to Margolis, is to oust the Assad regime without perhaps provoking a full-scale civil war inside Syria.

“There is no doubt that the civil war has begun, but so far it is minor and it is repressed. But we also see a sort of formula of action being followed by the Western powers in Syria that we saw unveiled in Libya, and in fact, that we originally saw in Georgia and Ukraine – that sort of a ‘soft revolution’, a lot of publicity behind the action, trying to cultivate opposition groups and at times exaggerating the importance of the Free Syrian army and other resistance groups.”

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