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News Analysis: Yemen-style hard to be applied in Syria

By Wang Qiuyun (Xinhua)

09:10, June 12, 2012

CAIRO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The recent killings in Syria's Houla town touched off a chorus of condemnation around the world, which put the country's crisis at a turning point. As the West proposed a Yemen-style power transition plan to end the sizzling unrest, observers argued that the Yemen model holds little hope in Syria.

Dr. Hassan Abu-Taleb, researcher of Egypt's Al-Ahram Center for political and strategic Studies, said in an interview with Xinhua that the success of Yemeni power-sharing plan was based on a series of conditions which Syria is short of.

First, although they allegedly refused to negotiate with Yemeni government, the opposition kept touching and bargaining with the ruling party under the table for months before the step down of ex- strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

However in Syria, the opposition has been strongly rejecting to open dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Second, both Yemeni ruling party and opposition agreed to appoint Saleh's deputy as the president during the transition period, who is also accepted by most of the Yemeni people.

However in Syria, a number of high-ranking officials along with Assad belong to Alawites, a branch of Shiite group, they strongly support the president and fear losing their benefit if Assad steps down.

They may even appeal to some extreme means to protect their interests in the future,according to Hassan.

Third, as one of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen highly relies on the financial aid from its oil-rich neighbor Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, which played an important role in mediation to resolve the country's crisis.

But the geographic strategy of Syria is much more complicated, its neighboring and adjacent countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, etc., belong to different religious groups and have different interests in Syria. Their power game playing will absolutely increase difficulty in ending Syrian crisis through dialogue.

Dong Manyuan, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, told Xinhua that the possibility of West's military intervention to Syria is enlarging since they expelled the Syrian ambassadors and blamed Syrian government for the massacre in Houla.

The possible intervention will impose potential risk of next wave of unrest in Middle East, Dong warned.

He added that the country will suffer severe losses due to armed confrontation, the two sides should drop weapons and launch a comprehensive dialogue to reach compromise in good faith in order to address the crisis.


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