Sunday, June 26, 2011

Monday: A Chance to start National Healing

A meeting this Monday between Syrian opposition figures in Damascus is sure to start the trend of open political discussion outside of the official government controlled realm. It is a start.

More than a hundred and twenty intellectuals will gather to discuss and introduce ideas on how to end the violent upheaval and address the demands of the protesters. How to transition to a democratic pluralistic state is the major headline of this meeting. This meeting includes Syrian opposition figures from all walks of life, religions and ethnicities. This group is a better representation of current Syrian communities; their concerns and aspirations.

The head of the Civil Society Revival organization in Damascus expressed today his opinion that a National dialogue is the only hope for an inclusive approach to introducing the practical measures that would insure the institutionalization of the protesters' demands.

All the best to the people meeting tomorrow in Damascus.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why a Libyan Scenario is Unlikely in Syria

The much talked about Jisr-Ashughur, on the outskirt of Idlib, which was a focal point of heavy confrontation between armed groups and the military, is under military control now. The same story that unfolded in Dar'a, Banias and Tal Kalakh, of demonstrations and armed groups conftronting security and miliraty forces, ended with the military retaking control of the city.

What is remarkable about the unrest in Syria is that the unrest erupts heavily in boarder towns: Dar'a is in the south of Syria on the Jordanian boarder, Banias is a shore line city in the west, Tal Kalakh is a village on the Lebanese boarder, and Jis-Ashughur is on the Turkish north western boarder. Some analysts have voiced the correlation between the armed unrest erupting in these cities, and the ability of groups to smuggle weapons across the boarder and prolong the bloody confrontation.

Syrian opposition outside of Syria (there are no organized or institutionalized opposition in Syria other than indiviuals who are counted as opposition) is comprised of mainly the Syrian Muslim brotherhood, which was brutely oppressed in 1982, Syrian Kurds, as well as Syrian communists which were also imprisoned and exiled in the 1960s. This Syrian opposition has mounting grievences against the regime stretching back to the 1960s. Although the opposition is not strongly organized, it does enjoy a heavy international governmental and media support.

Two Syrian opposition conferences have been held in Turkey, the second was held in Anatolya with 300 in attendance and a predominantly Muslim Brotherhood overtone. Considering that Turkey was Syria's strategic ally, hosting the Syrian opposition by Turkey is a glimps into where officials in Turkey, Qatar, and the United States are willing to let the confrontation against Bashar al -Asad go. Now that Erdogan seems to have won re-election, it would be possible that he would return to reassert his support for drastic poltical reform led by the Syrian regime. Erdogan has been talking in concert with the French, English and American's against the regime in Syria during his re-election campaign. Turkey, however, does not desire an overspill of turbulence on its southern boarders.

Creating a replica of Banghazi in Syria is unlikely. The outcome of every violent confrontation with the security and military forces by armed groups has been won by the regime. Furthermore, the towns like Dar'a, Banias and Tal Kalakh have returned to relative calm. The Syrian army despite some media interviews with alleged deserters, seems to be intact. The major cities, Damsacus and Aleppo are remarkably uneffected by either the protests or by the armed groups.

If the international community condemned the brutalty by which the regime is cracking down on protesters and armed opposition, what, if any, is the ethical responsibility of the Syrian opposition?

Is what one Syrian opposition MB leader residing in Australia said true? " 50,000 Syrians dying is a small price to pay to get rid of the regime in Syria"

Syrians who have left Syria in pain in the seventies and eighties are carrying this pain to their country men and women of today. Some Syrians in exile do not want to admit that their communities back home have changed over the period of fourty years. Syria has changed, and that change is painful to accept if your life's purpose is to avenge a past tragic loss and voice a longing to a homeland that does not resemble your memory of it anymore.

Two principles remain:The Syrian opposition has the right to demand reform. The Syrian regime is responsible for the management of the crisis, considering that the window to accept reform by the current government establishment is nerrowing.

All Syrians agree on the following however:
Stop the violence and free the political prisoners.

In addition to:

Political pluralism, independent judiciary, free press, a new Syrian constitution that establishes a new social contract between citizens and government.

"In Syria.. all are one"
"One party system is not for Syrians"