Thursday, April 20, 2006

Endgame Looming!

The last few days seems to have witnessed an expected resuscitation of the international campaign to isolate the Syrian regime. The move comes in the heels of the report issued by Terje Rod Larsen with regard to UN Resolution 1559, and is not really unexpected. For as most observers realize by now, a lull in pressures against the Syrian regime does not mean a reversal of policy on part of the international actors involved. Frankly, the anti-regime policies seem to be set in stone now, for the regime is defunct and the fact of it has become all too visible.

As such, lull-times seem to come more as a reflection of the fact that the international community has plenty of other fish to fry and cannot solely remain preoccupied with the Syrian regime. But they could also be seen, at times, as necessary preludes for new campaigns. Meanwhile, some process by which costs and benefits are being weighed seems to be involved as well – the world is simply not ready yet to bring down the end of another defunct regime in the Middle East, especially when the alternative is still unclear.

But, and if the Iraqi example reveals that the costs of chaotic change could far outweigh those of ugly stability, the Syrian example has clearly demonstrated that stability at any cost is no longer that sexy and desirable, not to mention useful. For a consistently threatened and threatening stability, stability on knife-edge and continuously fraying nerves for all concerned is very hard to live with.

But and with formation of the National Salvation Front, the days of frayed nerves might be coming to an end, as a long-awaited endgame seems to be nearing completion and will be ready for play-mode soon. But two things need to be taking into consideration here: the proposed endgame could still fail, and this particular endgame still requires several months before it is set in motion, and the showdown itself could drag on for many more months after that.

Still, things are going to heat up in the world’s most infamous kitchen, and despite the good reputation that Middle Eastern cuisine has, I am not sure how this particular dish is going to turn out. Let’s hope our endgame will not be a recipe for another disaster. After all how many disasters can one region endure, no matter how voracious the appetite of its citizens happens to be?