France is exploring its options for alternative solutions to the crisis in Syria, as the Assad regime continues to resist international efforts to stop the bloodshed. The newly elected French government is seriously considering sending advanced communications equipment to the Syrian rebel forces.
The situation on the ground in Syria is absolute chaos. Civilians continue to be butchered and the Syrian Armed Forces have shown little to no concern for the safety of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission. U.N. observers have been harassed by the regime and there have been several incidents in which U.N. personnel have come under direct fire from Assad’s troops.
Discussing the need to assist the Syrian Rebels, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius said, “There is Annan’s (Leader of the U.N. observers in Syria) effort, but we are also considering – and the Americans have done this – not giving weapons but providing communications equipment so that a stronger revolt develops amongst the population.” The Minister stressed that no decision would be made until talks were held with France’s European partners.
Fabius voiced the need for caution, as he warned against open war in Syria between Assad and the Rebels, saying, “The other idea is that there could be a clear victory of the opposition on the ground, but that would be through extremely violent confrontations. The rebels could not achieve this on their own.”
The Western powers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the entire situation. They are being countered at every turn by Russia and China, who have been adamantly opposed to any direct, outside intervention. American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed concern that President Vladimir Putin may be planning to send attack helicopters to Syria. Assad is a long term client of the Russians and the U.N. has been complaining for months about weapons shipments to the Syrian military.
For their part, the Russians have continued to play their familiar game of stalling and obstructing, while hinting at possible concessions to the Western Powers. Mr. Putin’s government has strongly denied that there are any plans to send new military helicopters to Assad while the Russian U.N. Ambassador continues block every U.N. Security Council effort to sanction Syria. Adding to the overall confusion are reports that Russia is willing to “discuss” the possibility of Assad leaving power and handing over control to an interim leader until elections can be held.
One thing is sure. There is no solution in sight. Every player in the political arena has their own peace plan and their own agenda. The game of politics is being played relentlessly while helpless Syrian civilians, caught between Assad and the Rebels, continue to die.