#Peacekeeping #Mission Is Key to Ending the Syria Crisis #HappeningNow #Syria #CNN7
What is desperately needed is a regional mandate under chapter VIII of the UN charter to maintain international peace and stabilize the conflict in and around Damascus: a mandate to administer and defend this multi-faith capital city and provide for a transition over a couple of years to restore a stable state and prepare for democratic, internationally supervised elections.
Such a mandate for Damascus cannot be physically or politically run by the UN or NATO, nor by Russia, which supports Assad. It can only come from one country in the region — Jordan — with a credible military and administrative capacity that could be supported and backed by regional countries. A mandate with the full international authority of the UN Security Council has a reasonable chance of being successful.
The mandate must provide for and recognize the need for the simultaneous withdrawal of President Assad and his forces to Latakia as Jordan moves into Damascus. Also recognize that Jordan can call on full regional assistance in and around Damascus down to its own border. Also recognize that Jordan must be able to call on military assistance from all five permanent members of the Security Council, whose forces can fly in immediately to defend Jordan’s own borders, but with no authority to enter Syria.
Such a mandate for Damascus cannot be physically or politically run by the UN or NATO, nor by Russia, which supports Assad. It can only come from one country in the region — Jordan.
The cynics will say it is impossible. Jordanians will have great and understandable reservations over becoming embroiled. But who else? King Abdullah has the personal qualities of courage and honor to conduct this dangerous peace mission and to maintain the long-term integrity of Syria.
What of Turkey, the other key regional player? Not since Turkey became a NATO member has there been a more important moment for a specific EU initiative to bolster Turkey. An election is due in November of this year, and President Erdoğan’s AKP may well once again be deprived of an absolute majority.
It would be a tragedy for Turkey, a NATO country and for many years an associate member of the EU, to slip away from both Europe and NATO in 2015 or 2016. Yet this could easily happen.