Grand Strategy for Syria. But where is the EU?

Foreign Affairs wrote an interesting article on a strategy for dealing with the seemingly hopeless Syria, entitled Syria’s Collapse, authored by Andrew J. Tabler.

He sees a three-tier solution to the crisis — to be solved primarily/solely by the United States of America.

  • Firstly, he proposes the US to deter the use of chemical weapons and surface-to-surface missiles, by destroying them. If done effectively, this would decrease the death toll and give civilians fewer reasons to flee their homes.
  • Furthermore, establishing a 50-80 mile-deep safe zone along the Turkish and Jordanian borders. Installing patriot missiles to bring down the regime’s planes and missiles would greatly increase safety in the reason and allow for the large-scale humanitarian aid much of the population needs. Civilians would be able to stay in the safe zones instead of leaving the country.
  • Direct co-operation with opposition forces on the ground, while keeping in check further advances by radical Islamists. “This should include the provision of arms to vetted armed groups on a trial-and-error basis, with Washington monitoring how the battalions use the intelligence, supplies, and arms they receive.”

Tabler sees partners in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the UN or Switzerland/Norway.

But where is the European Union? Surely, the EU has had an unambiguous voice on the issue, and was less resilient than the US to openly criticise al-Assad’s humanitarian abuses. A recent report on Syria by the EEAS is in the typical diplomatic language of the EU,

The European Union has responded decisively to the violent repression of anti-government protests in Syria, which began in March 2011. The EU called for an end to the deteriorating situation in Syria and the unacceptable levels of violence, which continue to cause suffering to millions of Syrians and destruction of infrastructure and cultural heritage.
The EU is seriously concerned by the deterioration of the conflict in the last two months, which puts at serious risk the stability of the neighbouring countries and has worsened the humanitarian catastrophe. The latest figures estimate the number of deaths at 80,000 and the number of refugees at 1.4 million.
The last Council Conclusions of 27 May 2013 reflected these concerns. The EU has strongly urged the regime to stop targeting civilians, halt airstrikes and artillery attacks, and called for an immediate end to all violence. The EU has also expressed its concerns of a spill-over effects of the Syrian crisis in neighbouring countries and reiterated its attachment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.

I bolded some of the expressions so common to official diplomatic text you will find in the EU and the UN. Despite the nice language, the EU doesn’t seem to be an influential partner in dealing with international affairs or conflicts. It fails to be taken half as serious as the United States.


Turkey in the European Union would make it a much more credible actor in Middle Eastern affairs, especially with the active and proactive diplomacy of the AK Parti.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s