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Days of Assad regime numbered
Dr Philip Cunliffe, an expert in international peacekeeping at the University of Kent, predicts that the days of Syria's Assad regime are numbered, but suggests that Western military intervention would not benefit the Syrian people.
Dr Cunliffe comments: 'With the reports of the most recent massacre in Syria, it is clear that the Syrian people are increasingly trapped between the brutality of the Assad regime on the one hand, and the humanitarian posturing of the Western powers on the other. The sound of war drums in the West are also getting louder.
'But the anti-Assad opposition would be misguided to place their trust in the Western powers, and no one should be deluded into thinking that freedom falls from the bomb bay doors of a NATO jet. Western powers have their own regional strategic interests in choking the regime in Damascus and channelling the course of the Arab Spring, and the interests of the Syrian people are far down their list of priorities. The more pressure that the Western powers and United Nations place on the regime, the more likely they are to push it in the direction of brutality and to strengthen its nationalist credentials.
'The days of the Assad regime are numbered: Syrian President Bashir al-Assad's credibility as a pluralistic liberal reformer is long gone, and his dictatorship will become increasingly isolated in a region where the indigenous forces of democracy are growing stronger. To launch a military intervention against Syria and risk civil war for the sake of Western states' regional power play would be catastrophic for the Syrian people.'
Dr Cunliffe, a lecturer in international conflict within the University's School of Politics and International Relations, is currently working on two book projects that examine the theme of liberal intervention and imperialism from two different perspectives. One is entitled The Legions of Peace: UN Peacekeepers from the Global South and is based on his doctoral research. The second book is entitled The Legacy of Humanitarian Imperialism.
Story published at 11:49am 29 May 2012
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