Analysis: Combat fatigue may finally spell the end of Syrian civil war

Syrian civil war may very turn out to be mirror-image of the 15-year civil war in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990.

February 17, 2014 01:38
1 minute read.
A FIGHTER from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra

A FIGHTER from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Geneva 2 peace talks between the Assad regime and a non-Islamist rebel group collapsed on Saturday.

For the losers of President Bashar Assad’s blood-drenched war – the Syrian people – the result was largely predictable.

“Geneva 1 will turn into Geneva 20.There is no hope in Geneva. Every time there are no results,” Rana, a female Syrian teacher living in a hotel on the outskirts of Sofia, told The Jerusalem Post last week. Flopped peace talks suggest the war is moving toward a deeply protracted phase that might push the conflict into a double- digit phase of longevity.

The Syrian teacher’s deep frustration with the UN-sponsored talks was echoed by dozens of Syrians seated in a communal area of the hotel.

Hossein, who made candies in a confectionery shop in Aleppo, told the Post it would take “three to four years to refresh” for the situation in Syria to overcome the hostilities.

Writing in The Washington Post last October, Max Fisher noted that based on a “review of the political science on the duration of civil wars, Syria’s conflict will most likely last through 2020 and perhaps well beyond.”

What is disturbing about the Syrian civil war is that it may very well turn out to be a kind of mirror-image of the internecine 15-year civil war in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990.

Anti-interventionist governments in the US and Europe (with the exception of France) show a lack of interest in stopping the war.

US President Barack Obama’s interventionist Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has been reduced to Twitter diplomacy.

The major democratic powers invoke the grammatical form of the imperative (e.g, stop dropping barrel bombs!) to influence a change in Assad’s behavior. Meanwhile, the number of deaths has surpassed 140,000 since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011.

Pure exhaustion helped contribute to the end of the Lebanese civil war. The possibilities are continued stalemate, victory by Assad or the rebels, or the parties’ collapse into utter fatigue, leading to hammering out a peace agreement.

Benjamin Weinthal reports on Syrian refugees for The Jerusalem Post and is a Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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