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Step by Step in Parallel!
Many years have passed since the debate over which is first: the political solution or the fight against terrorism. That debate proved to be futile. Subsequent developments have shown that the extremists on both sides, who held up to one of the answers, implicitly agreed to extend the duration of the crisis because of the immaturity of "quelling" [the opposition by the regime] nor "overthrowing" [the regime by the opposition] – as their slogans claimed, at a time when the obvious answer was that the two processes [of political solution and fighting terrorism] constitute one integral whole, and cannot be approached except together and in parallel.
Despite the many years that passed, and the evaporation of this debate, but it is repeating itself again today in new forms;
The complexity and multiple facets of the Syrian crisis have raised a great deal of issues that need to be resolved: fighting terrorism, detainees and missing persons, returning refugees, reconstruction, removing sanctions, the various items of the political process including a constitutional process, elections and necessary changes... and so on. In fact, what was true in the previous debate, is also true in the current one. These are all priorities, with no privilege of one of them over the other, but rather they all must be worked on in parallel, and making advances in them stepwise, otherwise, the same destructive vicious circle would be the only fate.
Westerners insist that the issues of the return of refugees, the removal of sanctions, and reconstruction are deferred issues, and this is clear from the way they deal with other files, and their focus on the elections alone. Behind the scenes now, they are seeking to reach elections in the current circumstances without any change, Which allows the division of control over the results of the elections, and on the future of Syria, at least its near future, between the influential parties wherever there is presence of Syrians; Inside Syria, the influence would be divided between the regime, Al-Nusra Front, and an opposition that has at least two political forms. In the areas of asylum, it would be divided between the countries of asylum according to proportion... Thus, the electoral process which is supposed to be the gate of the Syrians to self-determination, could become an international and internal bazaar, where the voices and rights of the Syrians are divided, and perhaps there would be a consensuses from above between the these elites and those elites, in a way that makes the will of the Syrians disappears from the scene.
If these three issues – the return of refugees, the reconstruction and the removal of sanctions – are interlinked and necessary primarily to secure the return of as many Syrians as possible, in order to ensure as minimal foreign intervention as possible in the political process as a whole, they will not move towards a solution as quickly as required without ensuring the sufficient economic and security warranties, not only for returnees but also for those in Syria itself. These warranties need a sufficient extent of internal changes for liberating the political life and protecting it, and, and restricting the big corruptors and stopping their murderous plunder.
Internal changes within sufficient limits are also necessary for the political process itself. What is needed is not only to prevent the outside from stealing the right of the Syrians to self-determination, but also to prevent the assault by the power of the state's apparatus and the forces of money on this right. All of these operations can not go the wanted way, without continuing the fight against terrorism and constantly diminishing its influence, leading to its elimination, which will never be achieved in a complete form until the political solution is completed.
There is no substitute for a step-by-step advance, and in parallel paths in all files simultaneously. This is what the patriots of all parties should push forward with all their energy, to bring the country back to life.
Kassioun Editorial, Issue No 922, July 15, 2019