Founding director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian recently joined reporter Lara Setrakian online for a 25-minute talk about Syria in a Google Hangout. Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, explained the longevity of the Assad regime; the long historical relationship between Russia and Syria, as well as Russia"s current role in Syria; and what the United States should or could do to minimize the bloodshed in Syria and the risk of instability in the region at large.
"We should always leave open the option of a strategic political track ... and that's getting the Russians on board especially," Djerejian said. As difficult as it may be, it is also crucial to explore "a communication between representatives of the regime and representatives of the opposition to start talking about what their vision of a post-Assad era will be. I would hope it would be structured on a multi-confessional society following, according to their culture, a democratic structure of governance."
The Syrian opposition is currently getting arms and financial and humanitarian aid from many disparate sources, Djerejian added. The assistance should be consolidated because "it is so disparate it is not serving the cause of a unified opposition against the regime." In addition, Djerejian said, "we have to take a close look at the humanitarian tragedy in Syria ... What can we do to more effectively provide structured humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people."
Watch the full discussion above with Ambassador Djerejian and Lara Setrakian, an ABC reporter and founder of Syria Deeply, a single-issue news website covering the civil war in Syria.