THE SYRIAN WAR: HIDDEN HANDS AND THE CHALLENGES TO PEACE PROCESSES AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENTAbstract:
Perhaps, the war in Syria which began in 2011 can be described as one of the deadliest conflicts in the 21st century. In attempting to end the war, a number of institutional, regional and global efforts and initiatives in forms of peace proposals, negotiations, diplomatic peace initiatives and mediations were put in place. The purpose of this paper is to examine these peace mechanisms and the factors that act as undercurrents and/or impediments. It argues that various actors, interests and agendas act as impediments to the numerous peace processes. And, that the complex intertwines of internal and external factors are fundamental to the outcome of the various peace processes and conflict management initiatives. The sordid back stories and activities of hidden hands such as the United States (US) and Russia using the war as pawn to fight a proxy battles including the roles of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other groups are the challenges faced by the various peace processes. It is concluded that though political solution is appropriate mechanism for solving the quagmire but the influence of exogenous interests and the complex internal factors which impacts negatively on political diplomacy may continue for a long time. Therefore, if political approach must work effectively, there must be consideration for, and synergy among the various domestic and exogenous interests.