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A third way in Syria

With pressure rising in the United States for greater military involvement in Syria, former British diplomat and executive director of Independent Diplomat Carne Ross mentioned Waging Nonviolence in the Guardian recently as a go-to source for the many nonviolent alternatives that do exist, even against regimes as ruthless as Assad’s. As Ross writes:

So, I propose a new paradigm of intervention, one that transcends the binary conundrum of doing nothing or all-out military intervention. Many are aware of the seminal work of Gene Sharpe (pdf) in propagating techniques of internal nonviolent resistance against dictatorship. His work is now supplemented by the research and training of other advocates of nonviolence, including CanvasWaging Nonviolence and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

He also references An Outsider’s Guide to Supporting Nonviolent Resistance to Dictatorship, an important document resulting from discussions over a two-day workshop in New York that involved more than a dozen activists and scholars. In the end, they enumerated more than 120 nonviolent tools and tactics that can be employed by external actors to aid nonviolent movements around the world. It can be downloaded for free here.

And to get a deeper understanding of the evolution of the opposition — both armed and nonviolent — within Syria in particular, Syrian activist and WNV contributor Mohja Kahf has just published a special report through the Friends of a Nonviolent World that would be a good place to start.