Will Reports of Chemical Weapons Spur Global Action on Syria?

Salman Shaikh
Salman Shaikh Former Brookings Expert

May 2, 2013

Content from the Brookings Doha Center is now archived. In September 2021, after 14 years of impactful partnership, Brookings and the Brookings Doha Center announced that they were ending their affiliation. The Brookings Doha Center is now the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a separate public policy institution based in Qatar.

In an interview with Voice of Russia’s Kim Brown, Salman Shaikh says resolution of the Syrian crisis must be a Syrian, regional, and international effort. Shaikh warns that the Syrian uprising has the potential to create regional chaos, in part due to the burgeoning humanitarian crisis. On this basis, Shaikh says the United Nations Security Council has a responsibility to form consensus between Russia and the United States, as well as to assure that the United Nations inspection team enters Syria and conduct its investigation on the use of chemical weapons. There is, Shaikh concludes, a collective responsibility for the international community to take action.

Shaikh says rising terrorist threats in Syria are the consequence of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” by the Assad regime. Increasingly, the situation on the ground reflects a chaotic environment, characterized in part by militarization of Islamist groups and jihadist involvement in the crisis. Shaikh notes the Assad regime is partly responsible for these developments, which demonstrate the need for the international community to more actively respond to the crisis, and to do so quickly. Shaikh notes the sooner Syria reaches its process of national reconciliation, the better.

Shaikh argues that if and when the United States takes heightened action toward the Syrian crisis, it must do so alongside the international community. Although the international community is hopelessly divided on the issue, Shaikh says the United States has the potential to serve as a unifying force for the international community.

Listen to the full interview on Voice of Russia »