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Just Say No To Bashar

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 27/10/2015 Dr. Charles G. Cogan
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In the peaceful gardens of academia, far from the Syrian battlefield, I hear increasingly an extraordinary formula for bringing a halt to the wreckage that has wreaked on Syria: keep Bashar al-Assad in power and, if need be, collaborate with the Russians to bring about this end.
Apart from the problem of the immense ill will that Vladimir Putin harbors toward the West, and especially the United States, there is the fact that, as they say in French, Bashar al-Assad is infréquentable. How can we say to history that we helped maintain in power the man ultimately responsible for the repression of an uprising that began peacefully and which has caused the deaths of more than 200,000 people, amid gas and barrel bomb attacks, and has produced four million externally displaced and eight million internally displaced persons. If he is not to answer to this tragedy, he can at least leave power. He doesn't represent the majority of the country -- his Alawite sect comprises around 10 percent of the Syrian population while Sunnis represent between 70 and 75 percent.
While we can reproach President Obama for being too straightforward ("Bashar Must Go", "Chemical Weapons would be a Red Line"), and for lacking the fine guile of an Otto von Bismarck, the decision not to bomb Syria in 2013 and instead follow the British example of a referral to the legislature, was a wise one, especially coming after the protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - clearly unnecessary in the case of the latter.
Despite his over commitments, President Obama's formula is still valid: "Bashar Must Go." The representatives of the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who met on October 23 in Vienna to discuss Syria, and are likely meeting again at the end of next week, should bear this in mind.

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