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MORE than 7,500 people have been killed in the uprising in Syria and international opinion is now favouring an effective end to the confrontation.
Former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan has been appointed by the Arab League and the UN to work out a solution to end the bloodletting.
President Bashar al-Assad appears to think he can quell the revolt by force.
The UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Arab League have been divisive on the issue and this has emboldened Assad. The veto in the Security Council by Russia and China shows the gridlock the council faces when tackling pressing international issues. The Russians want to support Syria as it is their last sphere of influence.
China, being new to the Middle Eastern diplomatic game, feared another Libya-like bloody end to the Syrian leadership. China has since modified its stance in favour of a Syrian people-centric resolution of the crisis.
The Arab League wants the Syrian episode to end quickly because if the crisis is prolonged, it can affect other nations in the region.
What we are seeing is possibly the tail end of the Arab Spring as it is running out of steam due to the difficulty in dislodging the well- entrenched regimes as seen in Bahrain and Yemen, and the high death toll in Libya and Syria. Many regional nations have already taken pro-active steps by ushering in socio-economic reforms and easing political restrictions to avert any uprising by the people inspired by the Arab Spring.
The unsettled situation in Egypt and Libya have also begun to disillusion the champions of democracy. It is now more of an organised chaos in some of these newly liberated countries.
Annan's attempt is possibly the last chance of finding a lasting solution, considering that Syria now is a powder keg of sectarian and religious tensions that could blow up into a full-scale civil war.
V. Thomas, Sungai Buloh, Selangor