a transition towards a new political dispensation is threatened by Islamist
violence, drone strikes, southern secessionism and tribal militancy. But
concentrating on the first alone and failing to understand the wider context
will not secure it.
Since the protests in Gezi Park eight months ago
freedom of expression has coming under increasing attack, both on and offline. A
new law now threatens digital civil society further, handing the government
excessive and arbitrary power to monitor the web.
The military-backed government has sought
to enrol journalists as foot-soldiers in its battle against the ousted Muslim
Brotherhood. But when editors met this week in Cairo, a collective spirit stirred.
With the larger substantive issues of ceasefires and political transition at an impasse, the ground broken over humanitarian access has suddenly become a metric for whether the first phase of Geneva II will be considered a success.
The recent conclusion of the National Dialogue
Conference in Yemen might seem to point to progress in that fractured state.
But the absence of the rule of law and impartial authority is allowing violence
to fester and the international community needs to act decisively.
The interim nuclear deal between the
western powers and Iran faces significant domestic and international
challenges. But after long hostility it may prove a trust-building
stepping-stone to a larger agreement.
After narrowly avoiding military intervention
in Syria, it is time for decision-makers to realise that there is a way to
strengthen and reinforce the norms behind humanitarian intervention: systematic
civilian casualty recording.
An agreement in 2011 averted dissent
developing into violent conflict. The National Dialogue Conference has made
progress against a backdrop of drone attacks and terrorist strikes, but as the
process draws to a close there is all to play for.
As direct military intervention has been ruled out for the UK by the Commons, we must turn to our non-military options to see how the UK can now push for peace and make an impact for the good in Syria.
Neither ending the bloodshed nor preventing the further use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria is served by military intervention. Amidst speculation over the US-UK special relationship, the Iranian reaction points a way forward.
Part Two of an analysis of the geopolitical sectarian dynamics and possible fall-out of military intervention in Syria, looking at prospects for meaningful change, and summing up on intervention. Read Part One here.