February 24, 2012 | Quote

Tunisian President Marzouki Against Military Aid to Syria

“A peaceful solution is a fantasy – we are talking about a war. The opposition needs weapons and funding. We need to start talking about arming the opposition; until then the international community is not having a serious dialogue on this issue,” stated Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.

Though Badran recognized the need for economic and diplomatic pressure to be brought to bear upon the regime in conjunction with the provision of humanitarian aid, he stated his conviction that military support will be essential in bringing an end to the violence and ensuring Syria’s democratic transition.

“A military component to the aid is imperative. The other forms of pressure and aid are needed as well, but without this component there is no mechanism to remove the Assad regime from power,” Badran stated.

The international community has been wary of arming, or even formally recognizing, the opposition, for fear of exacerbating a conflict that could potentially spread throughout the region. However, Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president of research from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies – an organization focusing on national security and foreign policy related issues in the United States – described the position of the international community as a catch-22, with action or inaction both inevitably leading to an undesirable outcome.

“Extending recognition to the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council will not cause Assad to step down or draw back military action. It is more likely that he would ratchet up the conflict, recognizing that he has a greater need to quell these opposition groups. However, if no consensus is reached at this conference, then it sends a message to the Assad regime that it can continue to resort to violence without consequence. Either way, what we are looking at is an interim, albeit necessary, step that will inevitably lead to more conflict,” Schanzer concluded.

Read the full article here.