Would Partitioning Syria Be Folly?

I have read many reports and papers that call for the partitioning of Syria after the hostilities calm down……that is if that ever occurs.

I wrote a couple of articles awhile back on this very subject……

Back in the glorious year of 2003 and the invasion and the following occupation of Iraq there was an answer floating around to all the sectarian violence……partitioning.

The idea was first floated in the media by Sen. Joe Biden…..he stated that this would make all units or factions in the country happy….in essence a power sharing deal for all people.

Source: The Partition Of Syria – In Saner Thought

I offer my post as a bit of background for something that I read in The American Conservative……..

Bret Stephens wants to partition Syria:

The best option is to partition the country. The idea isn’t new, and critics point out that partition plans have been known to fail, that drawing boundaries is messy, that new borders won’t necessarily solve (and could aggravate) internecine rivalries, and that outside actors—Turkey above all—would have the grounds and the means to object.

All this is true, but it needs to be weighed against the likely alternative, which is some variation of the diplomatic efforts now taking place.

Stephens touts “success” in the Balkans as proof that this can work. That conveniently omits two important details: during the Balkan wars, many people in the seceding states actually wanted Yugoslavia to be broken up, and in order to be “successful” the break-up of Yugoslavia required large-scale forced expulsions and killings. It is notable that no one on any side of the Syrian conflict, except perhaps the Kurds, has any desire to see Syria broken up into rump statelets. Unlike in the Balkans, splitting up the country along some arbitrarily-drawn lines would be something outside governments try to impose on the people living there over their objections. This would not only fail to resolve the conflict, but would render all of the successor states illegitimate in the eyes of a substantial percentage of the people living in them. That makes it very likely that one or more of the successor states would seek to reunify the country that had been partitioned, and so it would make a durable peace settlement even more elusive because outside governments would say that the rump statelets’ independence must be preserved. Instead of “pacifying” the country, it would simply make the civil war an international one, and it would almost certainly guarantee that the states carved out of Syria would immediately be failed states and international wards. It would replicate the failure of creating South Sudan, but it would have none of the temporary benefits.

Source: Partitioning Syria Would Be Folly | The American Conservative

I hold with the same opinion that I held with my original post……partitioning of Syria would create more problems than they have now…..will do nothing to rid the region of terrorism.

But that does not matter for the European Council on Foreign Relations is calling for a peaceful Syria to become more “decentralized“……

  • Syria should adopt a decentralised political system based on the transfer of power away from Damascus and towards the governorate and district levels. Kurdish regions should get a special status with enhanced powers, as part of asymmetric decentralisation.
  • While decentralisation is implemented and communities are recognised as political actors, the central state should retain a monopoly on a number of key sovereign attributes including defence, foreign affairs, and the printing of money.
  • Syria’s official name should no longer contain the word “Arab”. This symbolic move would be in line with the overwhelming number of Arabic countries, including Iraq and Lebanon, and would send a positive signal to non-Arab Syrians.
  • The state should teach all children from minority groups in their mother tongue. In Kurdish areas in the northeast, and Kurdish-majority districts of Damascus and Aleppo, schools should teach in Kurdish as well as Arabic.
  • The state should ensure that it uses its available tools to limit geographic disparities in economic development. For instance, access to employment in each governorate should be based on its share of the country’s total population. Where possible, the same rule should apply to public investments.
  • Oil export revenue should be reallocated, guaranteeing a proportion equal to each province’s population, on the principle that oil resources are equally owned by the entire country.
  • Sectarian and ethnic communities should get some form of political representation at the central level. A bicameral system could be a solution. However, the Russian proposal to appoint government members on the basis of their religious or ethnic affiliation would go too far in terms of institutionalising these divisions, and would be a recipe for gridlock. Instead, community representation should be pushed at the legislative level, in an upper house tasked with monitoring and control and with preventing discrimination. At the executive level, there should be no appointments or allocation of official positions based on sectarian or ethnic affiliations.

Still I do not see this as an answer to the problems of Syria.

The Kurds have to get the jump on nay partitioning…..they have already divided up the north of Syria…….

Syrian Kurdish groups and their allies will approve a constitution for a new system of government in northern Syria next month, a top Kurdish politician said, defying a Turkish incursion aimed at curbing Kurdish influence in the area.

The new system will be established in parts of the north where Kurdish groups have already carved out autonomous regions since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, alarming Turkey which fears the rise of Kurdish influence on its border.

We have decided to convene a meeting of the founding assembly of the federal system at the start of October, and we will declare our system in northern Syrian,” Hadiya Yousef, who chairs the assembly, said in an interview.

Source: Syrian Kurds, Allies to Approve Federal Plan Despite Turkey | World Affairs Journal

No what about the non-Kurd people of the area….will there be blow back against them?

Once again people making decisions for all Syrians without their participation….does anyone else see this situation as a problem waiting to happen?

All Syrians should have a voice in the future of their country…..but the big question is……WILL THEY?

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