Saturday, November 2, 2013

Syria: Rising from the Ashes of the Arab Spring

In the past three years, Tunis, Egypt, Yemen and Libya experienced the Arab Spring triology of uprising, regime change and political stagnation marred with instability and terrorism. The Syrian crisis is closer to one long episode of political and ideological rivalry concerning the future identity of Syria, carried out through a history making carnage. 

What the Syrian crisis has revealed, although not for the first time, is that the Syrian opposition does not understand politics, coalition making, or what negotiations are meant to deliver. The illogical stubbornness of demanding US military intervention, and the failure to come up with plan B other than insisting on depleting every last drop of Syrian lives, treasure and dignity, is a symptom of intellectual and moral deficiency. 

On a practical level, the Syrian opposition, as in the SNC, is still not capable of negotiating a common thread linking all the outside opposition factions, from the leftist to the Islamists. If they are not capable of producing a united group to represent the SNC at Geneva 2, how can we expect them to find common ground with the Syrian Coordination Committee (inside opposition), let alone finding common ground with government representatives?

Well the answer came today from the SNC as they opted against attending Geneva 2. Their insistence on Bashar alAssad ouster before attending Geneva 2 is just a thin veil covering their internal turmoil.

Whether the SNC attends Geneva 2 or not, there are other opposition groups with real on the ground connections to Syria and Syrians; groups committed to putting an end to the crisis, start the rebuilding efforts, and fight the terrorist groups that have spread across Syria.

The international dynamics, after the chemical weapons agreement with the Syrian government, which actively re-legitimized the Syrian government internationally, and the subsequent regional maneuver of Turkey, Iran,Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are reactions to a critical threshold reached by the Syrian government.

1- There is an international consensus that president Bashar al Asad will complete his presidential term until June 2014.
2- The Syrian military is gaining ground, not just in the Damascus suburbs, but also up north near Aleppo. The infighting amongst the Islamists  militia is increasing.  
3-Qatar has played a critical role recently in freeing the nine Lebanese hostages (kidnapped for more than a year) , sending a message of reproachmant to the Syrian government.
4-Turkey has announced that it is actively combating the presence of ISIS and Nusra Front in the north, and no longer allowing the boarder infiltration of weapons and militants.
5- Jordan has sent messages that it is supporting the efforts of fighting terrorism and combating the terrorist groups active in Syria. 
6- Saudi Arabia is slowly adjusting, with some diplomatic fanfare,  to the realities of US-Iranian dialogue and to the increased US support for the Maliki government.   
7-Iran emerged more powerful after the democratic elections which ushered Rohani's presidency that started with a proactive diplomacy towards both US and Saudi Arabia.
8-Egypt, and the counterrevolution of June 30th hastened the departure of the Muslim brotherhood from Arab politics, not just in Egypt. 

The geopolitical developments of the region are not in the SNC's favor, considering that some SNC members still insist that the ISIS and Nusra are fighting for freedom, and that deserting them is deserting the Syrian revolution. 

It is quiet possible that the SNC lacks organizational flexibility to adjust to the facts on the ground. One possibility is that we might see the dissolution of the SNC  and the emergence of individuals from the outside opposition, which later merge with an opposition representative group comprised of the Syrian Coordination Committee and Kurdish representatives. 

The Syrian developments influenced US, Russian and EU diplomacy, and changed the dynamics between regional states. What is clear by now is that the final straw that broke the Arab Spring was delivered in Syria. The ashes of the Arab Spring are most visible through the daily violence and bombings  of al Qaeda affiliated groups in Libya, Sinai,Tunis, Yemen and Syria.

The fallout of the Syrian crisis is slowly merging past adversaries on mutual interest grounds. US and Iran, Turkey and Iran, Egypt, Syria and the Arab states interests are slowly converging and redirecting the compus of the region towards the most pressing security issue of our time, and that is terrorism. 

سوريا حبيبتي...الحرية و الكرامة

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