Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/07/2014 -- BMI's Syria Defence & Security report for Q114 examines: the country's civil war; the domestic, regional and international ramifications of the conflict; and Syria's place in the Middle East and the wider world. It also examines the country's armed forces and its military procurements.
The report argues that realistic development of the Syrian economy and its political structures is all but impossible while the country's civil war continues. Both outcomes of the conflict are fraught with risks. Should Assad remain in power, Syria will face isolation from the international community and be perceived as a pariah state. However, his ousting could usher in a renewed bout of violence as disparate factions, united only in their opposition to his regime, fight for political control. Furthermore, there is every chance that should Assad eventually be removed from power, an Islamist regime would take its place.
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Matters came to a head regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war in August 2013, when perhaps over 1,700 Syrian civilians may have been killed following a Sarin gas attack against the Ghouta suburb of Damascus by government forces. The attack triggered international condemnation, although despite the Obama administration describing the use of such weapons as a 'red line' which could herald US intervention in the conflict, military action has been postponed for now in the face of domestic opposition in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom and France; both of which were expected to participate in any US-led military action.
Instead, a diplomatic solution is being pursued led by the Russians which will see the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the United Nations organisation charged with enforcing the Chemical Weapons convention collecting and destroying Assad's chemical weapons. As of October 2013, the OPCW was said to be half way through its task of checking Syrian sites reportedly involving in the stockpiling, deployment, design and production of chemical weapons. The OPCW said in October 2013 that the Syrian government was fully cooperative with the efforts to remove the country's chemical weapons capabilities.
There are some hopes that the new Iranian government of President Hassan Rouhani could strike a more conciliatory tone, to assist a negotiated peace in Syria. While it remains too soon to say what Iran's role in the crisis, in the wake of Rouhani's election will be, there are guarded grounds for optimism in this regard.
As of November 2013, the Syrian government remains in control of a number of areas in the west of the country. These include the cities of Latakia, Hama, significant parts of Damascus, Tartus and Jableh.
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