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Turkey should be helped to intervene over Aleppo.

“The humanitarian imperative is for the region to act and the world to help.”

Read the full piece as carried by the WorldPost section of the Huffington Post here: syriahuffpost27-9-16

Extracts: In repeated interviews and articles on the deepening tragedy that is Syria, many carried by the Huffington Post, I have argued that a necessary element for peace in Syria is an initial partition or zones of influence from neighbouring states.

This has not been a fashionable view in diplomatic circles in most countries wedded to the concept of keeping Syria as a unified country. Turkey in particular was understandably very reluctant to move militarily across the border into Syria.

When Russia extended an airfield close to Latakia not far from the naval port they had had in Syria since 1971, and put sophisticated airplanes in to protect the Assad forces, everything changed…..

Only Turkey is in a political and military position to intervene on the ground in Syria and they have demonstrated this by a limited cross border initiative this summer against ISIL. But Turkish tanks were also pre-empting a planned Kurdish advance. Turkey can now because of changed circumstances create a crucial balancing factor in Syria by taking urgent humanitarian action with their troops and air power in relieving the siege of Aleppo…

Potentially in NATO there is the necessary support for such an intervention by Turkey. But since the failed military coup against President Erdogan in Turkey, a very damaging strain emerged in NATO’s relations with their fellow member, namely the role in this latest coup of the Iman Fethullah Gulen.

…..On Friday 23 September Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag announced in Istanbul that US Vice President Joe Biden had accepted that there is “concrete evidence” that Gulen was behind the failed coup. Assuming there is substantive evidence in relation to Gulen the political path is therefore open for early and decisive action over Syria between Washington and Ankara.

Turkish military action should and could be mounted within hours of a decision by President Erdogan to move a considerable number of Turkish tanks, artillery and ground to air missiles into Syria within range of Assad forces around Aleppo. They would have the power to implement a No Fly Zone crucially given what is already happening in the air from the ground with protected land corridors for humanitarian aid and the flow of people both ways into Aleppo. This should be accompanied by a demand for the withdrawal of Assad forces to a line between Hama and Aleppo..

NATO forces would guard Turkey as they conducted this humanitarian operation. Air activity outside the NFZ would continue against ISIL in Syria and Iraq by Russia, NATO and Assad forces. A Kurdish area of influence in Syria in relation to ISIL would continue de facto. Areas of influence would apply, if they are prepared to exercise them, by Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan over the borders of Syria predominantly against ISIL. This whole initiative should be discussed at the highest military level in the NATO-Russian Council before going to the Security Council.

When the time is ripe, UN supervised elections should take place in Syria and a single government be chosen for a unified but probably federal country. To try to anticipate when this can happen is at present impossible given the complexity of the conflict between anti-Assad Syrian fighters and the nature of ISIL. The humanitarian imperative is for the region to act and the world to help.

 

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The UN needs to recognise four semi-autonomous regions of Syria

Writing to The Times, Lord Owen proposes several concrete steps in dealing with Isis that should be taken after the Paris attacks. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Timesletter17_optTimesletter17.11.15

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Lord David Owen on restructuring the EU and saving Syria

“The Eurozone is fundamentally flawed. It needs substantive changes. That means going towards a more federal, integrated Europe.

“… We have a real problem in that we could face a collapse in Damascus. So-called Islamic State…(are) already in the suburbs and could become the owners of Damascus. That would be an absolute tragedy.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMmMFHtQ3nc

 

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“Why will the world not focus on doing more to stop the war?” asks Lord Owen.

“The refugee crisis that dominates Europe’s TVs and newspapers is the product of the horrendous civil war that still rages in Syria. Why will we not focus our attention on this? The reality in Syria is that the war creates the refugees. Do more to stop this war is my plea. While we focus on our own necessary response to refugees in Hungarian or Austrian railway stations, the humanitarian situation worsens in and around Syria. Refugee camps are struggling to cope. This civil war has to be stopped.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted meetings on Aug. 25 with King Abdullah of Jordan in Moscow and is also talking to Saudi Arabia. The Security Council in New York should be making a contingency plan for what happens when Assad suddenly leaves Damascus to move to his Alawite coastal stronghold on the Mediterranean.”

Read the full text of Lord Owen’s article in the World Post here: Why Jordan is key to ending the Syrian crisis

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David Owen calls for Damascus to be saved

Letter to The Times, published Thursday 27 August 2015

 

Timesletter_opt

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Declare Misrata A Safe Haven

Article on Libya by The Rt Hon Lord Owen Published in the The Times Tuesday, 19 April 2011

When I first advocated on Monday, 21 February a no-fly-zone over Libya to protect Libyan citizens from the overwhelming military superiority of the Gaddafi regime, liberation forces were in control of most of the cities and towns that bordered the Mediterranean coast apart from Tripoli. read more…..

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Lord Owen on the Tory government’s “schizophrenic” approach to the Middle East crises

Published in the Daily Mirror Friday, 18 March 2011

If you are watching the crises unfold throughout the Middle East, Britain’s approach might seem ­schizophrenic.

While the UK’s official response to crackdown in Libya was vocal against the Libyan authorities and in favour of the rebels, in Bahrain the response has been almost mute by ­comparison.

In part this is becauseof vested reasons Britain has deep interests in ­maintaining links with some Arab countries and not others. read more…..

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