This week, I began to write the portion of my paper that will be on the history of the conflict in the greater picture of the Arab Spring, and the history of the Assad regime. In writing this I’ve been extremely interested by the Cold War ties that the Assad regime has and the effects that period is having on the region today. The history of United States support or lack thereof for the Syrian regime has been a revelation to me, and the ties that Assad’s Baath party had in its founding explain a lot about its allies today.
Also this week the Obama administration continues to tone down its rhetoric on Syria asking Congress to stop debating the issue on the floor while waiting to see the merits and possible strengths of diplomatic solutions proposed by Russia. The United States government admitted to being pleasantly surprised with the depth of the weapons list disclosed by the Syrian government. The fact that United States is showing a positive reaction to this at all is very promising for supporters of this diplomatic solution. This week Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad gave an interview for a Western TV station it which he claims that this possible diplomatic solution would cost the Syrian government $1 billion. The merits of this claim have yet to be independently verified, but it is certainly a start.
So far the negotiations have begun in slightly good faith, and although I believe President Putin’s op-ed could have harmed relations, luckily the US seems to have let that issue slide to the side. I am planning on reaching out to my mentor early in this week (now that he is back in the country) to set up a longer-form, in-person meeting.