Asher Kaufman: Only Russia, China Can Stop Carnage in SyriaRoundup: Historians' Take
Asher Kaufman is associate professor of history and peace studies and the director of doctoral studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Kaufman's research and writing focus on the history of conflict, national identity and society and culture in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. His latest book, "Contested Frontiers: Cartography, Sovereignty, and Conflict at the Syria, Lebanon, Israel Tri-Border Region," will be published in the spring of 2013 by the Woodrow Wilson Center Press.
(CNN) -- Some observers have been careful not to name the violence in Syria a civil war, lest it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Well, the child has to be called by its name.
The violent turmoil has turned into an asymmetric civil war, where the Syrian military and pro-government militias on one hand and opposition forces on the other are using extreme violence, not only against each other but also against civilians suspected of being sympathetic to one camp or the other. The civil war is asymmetric because government forces are far better equipped, organized and mobilized than the opposition....
Given this bleak reality, the only way to put an end to the violence in Syria is by working with those who support al-Assad's regime from the outside. Russia and China need to be convinced that it is in their best interest to bring down the regime and that this is the only way to move forward in this crisis. Once this happens, Iran may also be willing to give up on its ally....
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