Monday, January 27, 2014

Syria's road to peace is littered with our errors; The Geneva II peace conference has noble aims, but its flaws are obvious with Iran, Hezbollah and Russia absent

    Monday, January 27, 2014   No comments

Editorials from the Observer
The third anniversary of the start of the Egyptian revolution is an appropriate moment to consider the lessons of what was once – too hopefully, perhaps – dubbed the "Arab spring". It was briefly hailed as the region's equivalent of the fall of communism in Europe in 1989; these days the closest historical equivalent seems like 1848 – the so-called Year of Revolutions.

That is certainly most true in Egypt, where the revolution that started three years ago this weekend has been followed in quick order by counter-revolution – as occurred across Europe in 1848 – with the reimposition by the military and its supporters of the same autocratic "deep state" over which Hosni Mubarak once presided.

The view from Cairo is grim. On Friday a wave of bombs struck the capital, bringing the simmering violence already visible in the northern Sinai to the country's very centre. The present regime has fostered a climate of fear that has seen activists, Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and journalists targeted and thrown in jail, often on trumped-up charges.

The picture is also grim in Libya and Syria. The western-led intervention that toppled Libya's Colonel Gaddafi has produced a weak, violent and fractured state whose problems led to the dangerous destabilisation of a neighbour, as happened in the case of Mali.

Syria too has become embroiled in a long and bloody civil war that has led to a massive displacement of refugees to neighbouring countries, fuelled a proxy conflict between Shia and Sunni in the region and been an exacerbating factor in the increasing violence in neighbouring Lebanon and Iraq.


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