Analysis

Should Syrian President Assad be Offered Immunity to Step Down?
Screenshot from Syrian state TV of President Bashar al-Assad addressing the Syrian parliament, June 3, 2012. (DSK/AFP/GettyImages)
June 22, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
A reported controversial plan by the United States and the UK to offer clemency and immunity from prosecution to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will outrage many inside and outside of Syria, but it may be the only solution to end the bloodshed. LIGNET looks at this issue with comments from former UN Ambassador John Bolton and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

This story stems from an article that appeared in the London Guardian newspaper on June 20. The possible U.S.-UK offer reportedly was in response to meetings at the recent G-20 summit in Mexico with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed the view that Russia is not wedded to Assad remaining in power indefinitely.  Russian officials later disputed that Putin made any statements about Assad’s future at the G-20 meeting and U.S. officials yesterday denied that the United States is considering offering Assad either an immunity deal or safe passage to attend peace talks in Geneva. However, LIGNET believes the leaks to the Guardian were a trial balloon floated by the United States and the UK to gauge the international reaction to a clemency deal for Assad.   

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