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Heed Balkan lessons for a fragmenting Syria and revise Kofi Annan plan

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It is not only defiance that comes from the regime now, there is also the element of fear: Those who have killed so far fear the retribution of the future, especially if the opposition continues requesting the head of the president as an unrealistic precondition.

Indeed, the regime is not only continuing to kill, monitors or no monitors, but it is also claiming that within this framework of violence it is conducting a reforming process, through multiparty elections.

Mr. Annan's six-point plan, therefore, is failing to both stop violence in Syria and ensure a political dialogue. The Assad regime is assuming that it can drag its feet with the implementation of the plan for as long as there is no other alternative on the horizon. It is assuming, as did former President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia throughout the Yugoslav disintegration, that the West has no stomach for an international intervention against it.

And it seems that the Syrian regime is presently right.

The calculation is that the West fears that an intervention will move the country toward disintegration along sectarian and ethnic lines. This Balkan nightmare scenario of carved out mini-states of Alawites, Kurds, and Druze, among others, associated with waves of ethnic and identity cleansing would be exponentially more threatening as the international environment is taken into account.

How will all this reflect on Turkey, the Kurdish question, the Golan Heights, Lebanon? And, who would run post-Assad Syria? Even if there were a will for intervention, would it have to go the Kosovo way, without full international legitimacy?

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