With U.S. and western help, the Kurds, Christians and Arabs who populate this region can establish a liberated zone with its cities and rivers and expanded airports that should serve as the receiving area for aid. The current FSA and other opposition groups can be invited to aggregate in this region. This pluralist “smaller Syria” would become the basis for liberation of the country—and the establishment of a pluralistic and peaceful society for all Syrians.

Sound unrealistic?

I would argue this is no more unrealistic than the hope that Vladimir Putin and the Russians and will broker an honest peace in Syria. In fact, if you examine the three current Beltway solutions to the Syrian crisis, we should recognize why turning to this plan will offer a real, long-term hope for a pluralistic and peaceful Syria. President Obama has made the case for a “limited strike” against Assad and the forces who are presumed responsible for the horrible chemical gassing of more than a thousand civilians—after more than a hundred thousand Syrians have already been brutally killed in the civil war. 

The president wanted this limited strike to force a weakened Assad to negotiate a settlement to the conflict. But seasoned observers know there will be no mediated solutions to this conflict. It has gone too far and divisions are too deep. But I would argue that other Beltway solutions offer no more hope than those offered by Obama.