Multinational Talks Produce Preliminary Deal in Syria

Multinational Talks Produce Preliminary Deal in Syria

The United Nations, working with representatives from Iran, Turkey, and Russia, has brought Syrian strongman Bashar Assad and key rebel groups to the bargaining table. An agreement could mean the end of the long-running civil war in that country.

In announcing the results of a trilateral summit in Ankara, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said that a “credible, balanced and inclusive Constitutional Committee” will meet at U.N. facilities in Geneva. The U.S. State Department acknowledged “the U.N. Secretary General, U.N. Envoy Pedersen, Turkey, Russia, and the members of the Small Group,” but noticeably omitted Iran.

In addition to the Geneva talks, Assad is talking with American-backed rebel groups in Damascus. These on-again, off-again talks have shown little progress, especially since the State Department has accused Assad of war crimes.

War in Syria

Foreign interest in Syria is not unique to the current civil war. These roots are very deep.

In the mid-1850s, the British and French joined the Ottoman Turks in the Crimean War against the Russian Empire. This conflict sought to check Russian expansion into the Middle East in general, and specifically the fringes of the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey.

Roughly 60 years later, as World War I still raged in battlefields across Europe, Africa, and Asia, France and Great Britain once again acted to check Russian expansion. Since Russia was technically France and Britain’s ally at the time, the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement remained a closely-guarded secret for quite some time.

The two government emissaries essentially carved up the Ottoman Empire and split it between themselves, without any thought to the people already living there or the ripple effects the division might cause. Instead, Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot drew a line in the sand. This line happened to straddle what soon became Syria.

Today, the players have changed slightly, but the game remains the same. Russian mercenaries have fought a mostly losing battle to prop up longtime Moscow ally Assad, but they have done enough to keep him in power. The Americans want to check Russian expansion, the Turks want to keep the war from spilling into their territory, and the Iranians want to improve their image in the region.

Russian mercenaries are not the only private military forces in Syria. American military contractors are there as well, but in a much different capacity. Even though their mission is purely defensive, they are still greatly at risk. So, injury compensation is available, as outlined below.

Peace in Syria

The United States has learned the hard way that winning the peace is probably more important than winning the war. Contractors play a vital role in both processes.

When the fighting ends in Syria, Russian mercenaries will go home. America’s private military contractors will not go away. In fact, if anything, their presence may increase. While armed contractors stay in-country to help secure American installations and American interests, unarmed contractors will arrive to assist in the needed rebuilding projects.

The Syrian Civil War has lasted years and cost billions. According to some estimates, rebuilding the country may last much longer and cost much more. Liberal use of contractors makes these temporal and financial costs more manageable.

Foreign rebuilding projects usually focus on big-ticket items, like regional hospitals, large government buildings, universities, and major roads. Once these things are in place, local governments can usually handle local projects, like side streets, local hospitals, and primary/secondary schools.

Generally, American contracts handle planning. They also supervise site construction. Physical tasks usually fall to local laborers. This division of labor keeps the project on target and on schedule, while it boosts the local economy and gives residents a stake in the outcome. Because of that local stake, fewer militants try to disrupt construction activities.

Nevertheless, armed contractors must stay behind to provide security. Otherwise, the project is at risk and it is difficult to recruit local laborers. So, the entire effort falls apart, and fighting may resume.

Injury Compensation Available

There is no rear area in the War on Terror, and attackers do not discriminate between contractors and servicemembers. Since everyone shares the risk, the Defense Base Act provides compensation for all these victims.

Medical expenses coverage may be the most important financial benefit. Injured servicemembers can turn to the Veterans Administration, but injured contractors have no such resource. That is the reason the DBA exists.

Injury-related treatment, especially for head injuries and other serious wounds, may cost several hundred thousand dollars. The logistical difficulties of treating overseas injuries may add tens of thousands of dollars to the total. So, the DBA covers all reasonably necessary medical expenses, such as:

  • Initial injury treatment,
  • Follow up injury treatment,
  • Subsequent injury-related doctor visits,
  • Medical devices,
  • Occupational or physical therapy,
  • Prescription drugs, and
  • Related costs, such as transportation expenses.

The same coverage is available for occupational diseases, like repetitive stress disorder. In both situations, victims can usually pick their own doctors and change physicians at any time during the course of treatment.

“Reasonably necessary” is usually the key phrase. DBA insurance companies look for ways to deny medical bills. For example, if victims hit a plateau during physical therapy, many insurance companies try to pull the financial plug. An attorney helps keep the money flowing, so victims may continue to recover and eventually get back to work. That outcome benefits everyone.

Contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen & Frankel, P.A. to learn more about the DBA’s lost wages benefits.