Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed in the Times last month advocating for an end to the Syrian civil war. He offers a detailed analysis of the situation while providing us with a strategy for ending the war. This piece is much less strategy as it is a plea for help. “When talks resume in Geneva later this month, the primary focus should be stopping the killing. Discussions about the core questions of governance — when President Bashar al-Assad should step down, or what mechanisms might be used to replace him, for example — should be deferred.”
Mr. Carter writes that we need to drop our demand that Assad leave power, the most contentious point in negotiations between Russia and the U.S., and instead focus on an agreement that will stop the fighting. The former president goes through all the stats; nearly half a million killed, half the country displaced, millions in need of humanitarian aid, and says that we must put the Syrian people first. Assad would never agree to anything that leads to a him out of power. The longer we go without a viable ceasefire agreement the longer the Syrian people will suffer. American diplomats would be wise to heed the former president’s advice – stop the killing.