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Masyaf Castle is seen near the town of Masyaf in Hama province, in Syria

Yugoslavi-zation: Ex NATO Chief Urges Dividing Syria Into Three Parts

© AP Photo/ Pavel Golovkin
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NATO's former supreme allied commander James Stavridis has become the latest high-profile backer of dividing Syria into several parts although the strategy hardly enjoys support in the war-torn country and could well lead to Islamic extremists overrunning the greater part of the Arab Republic.

"Like Humpty Dumpty in the children's nursery rhyme, the odds of putting Syria back together again into a functioning entity appear very low. It is time to consider a partition," he suggested in an opinion piece for Foreign Policy. Syria could then be divided into three regions governed by Alawites, moderate Sunnis and the Kurds.

The retired four-star US Navy admiral, who currently serves as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, offered three cases that could serve as a model for Syria. All of them hardly tempting.

"Obviously, the approach for a partition could range from a full break-up of the country (much as Yugoslavia broke up after the death of Marshal Josip Tito); to a very federated system like Bosnia after the Dayton Accords; to a weak but somewhat federated model like Iraq," he detailed.

These are by no means good options. Take Iraq for instance. The country has not seen peace since the 2003 US invasion. In the years that followed Baghdad has largely unsuccessfully tried to tackle an insurgency that has the potential to break up the country.

A U.S. Army Soldier from the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment conceals himself with smoke Oct. 18, 2007, after one of his regiment\'s vehicles was hit by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq.
A U.S. Army Soldier from the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment conceals himself with smoke Oct. 18, 2007, after one of his regiment\'s vehicles was hit by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq.

Stavridis himself admitted that partitioning is an extremely dangerous scenario to explore. Firstly, it would set what he referred to as a "bad precedent" that would encourage disenfranchised minorities all over the world and potentially lead to "chaotic scenarios."

Partitions are "also difficult to negotiate, requiring detailed knowledge of the human terrain in a failed state and carving out complex compromises that often leave no one satisfied and can plant the seeds of conflicts yet to come," he added.

In addition, granting greater autonomy or independence to ethnic minorities could cause major tensions in neighboring countries. Ankara is already carrying out a military campaign against Kurdish militants at home, in Iraq and Syria. One could only guess what steps Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his allies would take if the Syrian Kurds form a state of their own.

Partitions are also "difficult to implement, because most of the parties are unhappy with some aspect of the final deal. Finally, partitions are cumbersome under international law, which generally sides with sovereign states and seeks to support existing unified territory," he added.

In essence, there appears to be no need to consider dividing Syria, taking into account that the UN-backed ceasefire is largely holding and peace talks are slated to start on Monday. Moreover, Syria's fate could only be determined by its people and should not follow a plan introduced from outside.

Furthermore, in Syria's case partition could lead to greater violence and misery in a country that has already lost 250,000 lives. "Unfortunately, an immediate partition would effectively cede much of Syria to Sunni extremists," Stavridis observed.

Related:
Plan B: Clumsy Attempt to Justify Washington's Political Fiasco in Syria
What 'Plan B'? Syrian Crisis Resolution Has No Viable Alternatives
'Plan A': Why US Should Aim to ‘Preserve Territorial Integrity’ in Syria
Hidden Motives: What's Behind Kerry's 'Plan B' on Syria?
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  • armor
    The arrogance of the man from across the Atlantic.
    Sputnik should ignore that type.
    Big mouth, big talk, big ideas, to decide , to suggest what others should do in their backyard.
    Enjoy your pension, Mister, stay away from the M.E. You, your ex-organization are not wanted in the M.E. Your time to make History is past, more intelligent, more capable, more thoughtful leaders have emerged, they are writing History now. Toughie.
  • jas
  • margaridaoulman
    But who the hell do these peoples think they are? It will never happen. Keep on dreaming James Stavidris!
  • margaridaoulmanin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
    anne00marie, Russia will never allow it
  • margaridaoulmanin reply toowlafaye(Show commentHide comment)
    owlafaye, So so true never trust these crazy peoples, who only value money and power. They HATE HUMANITY!
  • margaridaoulmanin reply toarmor(Show commentHide comment)
    armor, So so true these peoples with their crack theories really get others angry.
  • margaridaoulmanin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
    jas, Thank you
  • jas
    Gee, shucks, it's terrible. But we have no choice but to split Syria in a way that allows Qatar's pipeline to go through as planned. It's a grand coincidence, honest. *sarcasm*
  • IranianExpat1916
    There are only 2 nations, Iran and Russia, that can stop the Plan-B, devised by the usual bastards of the planet.

    However, between Iran and Russia one can always be bought. Guess which one.

    Here is a hint: Which country is suddenly talking about giving Kurds a seat at the negotiating table about Syria?
  • marcanhalt
    "Now coming to a theater in your neighborhood,..."
  • greg2u
    All part of the Oded Yinon Plan for a Greater Israel.
  • ivanwa88
    Iranianexpat.....You really think so? it seems your extremely bias and somewhat ignorant!
    to make that statement after Russia's voluntary intervention at great cost and personal sacrifice is sacrilegious and unfounded.

    There has not been one shred of evidence to even suggest Russia is going to concede on Syria! wanting to include Kurds is both humane and justified or in your opinion would you just let them be exterminated by the Turks?

    Really I think you should put a lot more thought to your opinions before posting rubbish!
  • IranianExpat1916in reply toivanwa88(Show commentHide comment)
    ivanwa88, My dear Russian, you obviously are much more learned about world politics, particularly the Middle East.

    Illusion of knowledge is worst than ignorance!
  • ivanwa88
    In the desert when a sand storm blows over all is blind to what they can see! in Geopolitics there is a virtual sand storm daily.

    The trick is not to let those storms blind you permanently!

    Your presumption that I am Russian is incorrect although a branch of the family lived in Saint Petersburg and operated as the chief surgeon and later with his brother founded a medical research Institute in Saint Petersburg.
    They were of Slav descent.
  • renfer
    why nobody will learn from the past????
  • backfromthegraav
    Urg diving AmeriCun into 2000 new countries ... none with AmeriCun leaders .. all with Jihard, pro ameriCun ISIS etc
  • peaceactivist2
    Really, Rusdia and China, can both of you combine voice, war tools and demand to divide Yukoslova- into three smaller ethnic nation ones too?
  • Cal Drein reply tomargaridaoulman(Show commentHide comment)
    margaridaoulman, I guess Erdogan should send in some "little green men", hold the Syrian Army at bay, and allow a referendum of the various parts, what?

    Or is Putin every bit the hypocrite he always claims Western leaders to be?
  • Cal Drein reply toIranianExpat1916(Show commentHide comment)
    IranianExpat1916, Lots of groups get a seat at the table in Geneva. In particular, 34 Saudi-backed groups and some Russian-supported "moderates". Why should Kurds not get a seat at the table, they are fighting too. Well, it is because Turkey loves to step on the Kurds and crush them whenever it can. Really, if anything, Turkey should be split up, and the Kurds allowed to leave, Turks hate them and they hate Turks.
  • GwanSoon Lee Tattoos
    Lucky for Russia and Irans backing that the Atrocities that happened while US and Nato were bombing Yugoslavia does not have a chance to repeat itself with Syria . This time they Have already been Checkmated.
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