Why The Kosovo Model Won’t Work

by Patrick Appel

A reader rejects the comparisons of Syria to Kosovo:

Kosovo may be a good model for a military intervention carried out in the face of Russian opposition, domestic skepticism, and lacking UN approval, but it hardly offers a roadmap for success in the case of Syria. Kosovo worked because Milosevic’s ouster was not the purpose of the operation. He could relent in the face of our airstrikes because he had a way out, literally: all he had to do was withdraw Serbia military and paramilitary forces from Kosovo. And it wasn’t the Kosovars that eventually took out a weakened Milosevic: it was the Serbian people who decided over a year later that they’d had enough of him.

This is not a model for Syria unless we are willing to declare a de facto partition of the country and demand that Assad withdraw forces from this rebel safe zone. Given that the fighting is taking place within some major cities, I don’t see how such a partition is possible. Moreover, if such a safe zone is expected to be a launching point for further attacks against the regime (in a way that Kosovo was not), then Assad has little reason to agree to it.