No matter how complex and religiously driven the conflict in Syria may seem, its basic constellation is this: A regime with powerful allies wages a war of annihilation against wide parts of its own population. How could it get to this point? And what is the very least we can do?
While the privileged few may cross legitimately by simply presenting their passport, for most, borders present difficult if not insurmountable hurdles. Furthermore there are plenty of other lines of division: social, ethnic, religious and ideological. Any border is a painful memory of the fact that it is not an individual’s choice to define which side he or she is on.
Within the last days, Russia has accused Ukraine in “state terrorism” and started massive military drills along Ukrainian border. Our office in Kiev answers the most pressing questions on the recent escalation in Crimea.
The conflict, which has flared in the South Caucasus around Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia serves as a reminder that there are other regional conflicts that demand Europe´s attention. And Europe’s response will be no less important than in the case of Ukraine.
Prominent voices, such as former White House Coordinator for the Middle East Phil Gordon, have advocated for striving for a negotiated interim solution in Syria that defers the question of Assad’s fate. Bente Scheller, director of our office in Lebanon, addresses some of the underlying myths and arguments shaping the current debate.
At the beginning of March, international experts discussed at the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in Berlin Europe’s response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. They all agreed on Europe lacking a long-term strategy.
While Russia is redrawing the European map, Ukraine needs to move forward: A hybrid war cannot be ended with a hybrid peace and an economic crisis cannot be overcome with hybrid reforms. Changes have to be fast and radical.