Syria lies along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The conflict in the mentioned country started in March 2011. Protests for democracy erupted in the Southern city of Deraa and as a result of the protests the battle started. A group of youths painted revolutionary slogan on a school wall. Security forces intervened and killed several people while others took to the streets. The social unrest caused nationwide protests with the masses demanding the immediate resignation of President Assad. Mass demonstrations and protests all over the nation was a matter of great concern to the opposition supporters.
The use of force from the government triggered opposition supporters to use arms and weapons to defend themselves and then later barred security forces from the local areas. Violence increased across the country and then descended into civil war (McHugo 83). During this time, some security rebels in the army joined forces to fight the government forces. The main aim of this battle was to take full control of major towns, cities and countryside. By 2012, the fighting and protests had reached the capital city of Syria (Damascus).
The conflict made neighboring countries raise concern about the situation in Syria and the entire world. It became a war between the president’s Shia Alawite sects against the country’s Sunni majority.
The conflict erupted when the peaceful protests that were stimulated by the earlier revolution in Egypt and Tunisia raised the country’s leadership. They were challenging dictatorship that the government was using to rule its citizens. The response of the government was very harsh and unexpected. It all began by first of all security forces killing the activists and dumping them. The security forces kidnapped, raped, tortured and harassed the activists and all their family members. Many women and children were killed and dumped by the roadsides (Carter et al 250). Additionally, the military began shooting the protests. The civilians were not happy, and they responded by shooting and fighting back. Fighting escalated into civil war and the armed civilians organized into rebel groups. Notably, overreactions of the security forces against peaceful demonstrators’ dictatorship style of leadership of President Assad were the activities that triggered the conflict.
Communication styles from the sides can be said to have become confrontational. The main reason why communication styles used were confrontational was that the involved parties were not able to develop a strategy for solving the Syrian conflict. Both sides involved in the conflict took a hard stand and therefore making negotiations difficult. The communication breakdown was evident when the second phase of negotiations hit the deadlock. Chief mediator Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people after the second round of negotiations ended in a failure. The mentioned country has held a series of negotiations, mediation talks and even public debates, but they have not been successful.
The main problem was that they mainly focus on the wrong issues in the public debates rather than focusing on the peaceful ways of resolving the existing civil unrest and war. The most urgent need was to resolve the Syrian civil war. In the public debate, they discussed only three issues that included: the group that used the chemical weapon, the extend results of the intervention the issue of legal and moral norms. The concerned parties should change the communication style and adopt the one that involve convening peace conference and involve all the conflicting parties in the negotiation and then give all parties chance to give their suggestions and conditions. They have played power politics and gave hard bargaining grounds during negotiations.
In order to resolve the Syrian conflict, USA and European policy makers should focus on the objectives of Geneva II conference in Syria which was held in the year 2014 and develop a comprehensive strategy to settle the ongoing conflict. To start with, Western stakeholders must find a way of expanding the Syrian opposition base to create a united base that will help the next government (MacQueen 132). In addition to the mentioned point, the Syrian opposition governance capacity should also be strengthened to aid transition government.
The negotiation team should also involve the Syrian Arab Army figures in the dialogue to reduce the likelihood of power vacuum after President Assad departure. The concerned body should provide weapons to the opposition group in order to protect them from the current government harassment and help the fight jihadists. Corporate countries should end external support given to jihadist groups. They should use the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran as a base for further Syria deal. Furthermore, the outreach Assad’s rule can be brought to an end by claiming that jihadists are in cooperation with terrorists.
There exist two approaches to conflict. The approaches include constructive and destructive conflict. In constructive conflict, the benefits are higher than the costs. The mentioned type of conflict generates productive, mutually beneficial and shared decision. In constructive conflict, the conflicting parties come together in the end to strengthen their relationships for the better part of their future. In constructive conflict, both the parties involved strive to win. When the parties involved discover a common link, they may start working towards a shared decision instead of continuing the conflict (Davies et al 70). Destructive conflict usually operates from very rigid and narrow goals. In most cases, the result of this type of conflict is usually negative. Each party involved believes that the opposing party must suffer defeat. One the main cause of this type of conflict is the power struggle. One party always believes that it must remain in power to continue surviving. The mentioned type of conflict is being experienced in Syria.
Religion normally plays a big role in trying to resolve conflict. In any form of negotiation, mediation or even public debate, it was worth involving religious leaders for spiritual nourishment, and since everyone fears God, and through the convincing powers of religious leaders, the conflict might stop. Social response aspect was very vital when the conflict occurred in Syria (MacQueen 132). The main social aspect of the conflict was to develop a framework that emphasizes on peace and justice. Right relationships and social structures should be built and respect for human rights and nonviolence accepted as a way of life. The political aspect was the most common phenomenon and cause of most of the conflicts that occurred in Syria. Political leaders normally scramble for positions in the ruling government and opposing party may end up inviting its supporters to fight the government. Leaders should come together to the dialogue table and develop strategies and ways for ruling and protecting their citizens.
In the case of Syria, all parties involved in the conflict should come to dialogue table find a proper way of solving the conflict so as to protect civilians from further killings. The government and opposition should soften their hard stands and put the interest of citizens at heart.
Carter, Terry, Lara Dunston, and Amelia Thomas. Syria & Lebanon. Ediz. Inglese. Lonely Planet, 2008.
Davies, Patrick T., and E. Mark Cummings. "Marital conflict and child adjustment: an emotional security hypothesis." Psychological bulletin 116.3USA: (1994): 387.
MacQueen, Benjamin. ISS 3 Political Culture And Conflict Resolution In The Arab Middle East: Lebanon and Algeria. Vol. 3.Australia: Academic Monographs, 2009.
McHugo, John. Syria: From the Great War to Civil War. UK: Saqi, 2014.