Could Russia help push out al-Assad? | CNN
By Jill Dougherty
Last December, media reports surfaced in the Middle East that Russia had a plan to solve the Syrian conflict: have President Bashar al-Assad step aside for a transitional period and let his vice president, Farouk al-Shara, take over until elections could be held. Moscow would give al-Assad political asylum or find him a refuge.
Russian officials refused to confirm those reports but the plan got a spy-novel name - the Yemensky Variant - because of its similarity to the transition plan that led to the ouster of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh who handed over power to his vice president, clearing the way to elections.
Now, it appears, the “Yemensky Variant” is picking up steam.
After talking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “he (Lavrov) himself has referred to the Yemen example.”
With Yemen, she noted in her comments while in Stockholm on Sunday, “it took a lot of time and effort with a number of countries who were involved at the table, working to achieve a political transition. And we would like to see the same occur in Syria.”
“My message to the foreign minister was very simple and straightforward,” Clinton added. “We all have to intensify our efforts to achieve a political transition and Russia has to be at the table helping that to occur.”