The conflict in Syria is now a serious regional problem, requiring – ideally – a regional solution. That's why the Kofi Annan suggestion to create a Syria 'contact group' of world and regional powers is a good starting point. But such a group would also face tremendous obstacles.
Warnings that the crisis in Syria will spiral into a serious regional problem have been sounded since the regime of Bashar al-Assad began to forcibly put down protesters over a year ago. Those warnings have turned out to be true – meaning that a solution to Syria should also involve the region.
International envoy Kofi Annan, then, is right to suggest the idea of an international “contact group” that can influence both sides in Syria – including regional players such as Iran. As the former UN secretary general himself admits, his six-point plan is not working and the country is in “imminent” danger of “full-scale civil war.”
But as Syria is divided, so is the region, and the obstacles confronting a contact group of world and regional powers are high indeed.
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