Kassioun Editorial 1126: The Opportunity for a Solution and the Syrian Sides’ Responsibility
Over the past 12 years, extremists from the Syrian sides have wasted many opportunities to solve the Syrian crisis and to spare Syrians suffering, bloodshed, and destruction. We had said since September 2011: “Going to dialogue today will be with a tally that may reach 5000 martyrs; and going in a year will be with tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of martyrs”. Unfortunately, what we had said happened, where Syria has endured the loss of hundreds of thousands of martyrs and millions of refugees. This is in addition to the massive destruction in all aspects of life that requires many years to be restored, extreme overall poverty, unemployment, disease, hunger, lack of electricity, a paralyzed economy, and on top of all that, drugs, the black-market economy, and other calamities.
Today, we say that not going now to dialogue and the political solution, and benefiting from the new international and regional circumstances, will not only mean more destruction and losses, but will also mean a comprehensive existential threat to the survival of the Syrian state and the Syrian people.
The internal Syrian scene is bleak with its various aspects, which is made worse by the positions of the extremist sides, which imagine what they think are their victories, and thus making them completely detached from reality and from the pains and sufferings of the people. Despite all this, Syria and the Syrian people are before a real opportunity for a solution, which is certainly the most important opportunity since the crisis began.
More clearly, what has deepened and prolonged the crisis is not limited to the narrow interests of the extremists on both sides. Rather, and perhaps more important than that is the involvement of the extremists on all sides, regardless of their declared slogans, within the Western plan to destroy Syria, directly or indirectly, and the ability of that plan to take big steps by virtue of the international balance of power during the past years, in which the West was still capable of sabotage, with clear and tangible energy.
Today a new circumstance is taking shape, internationally, regionally, and even locally. Those on the Syrian sides who are ignoring it are one of two things: either ignorant people who are unable to see and understand the reality as it is, or arrogant people clinging to the old reality to despair the people and discourage them, perchance of the door to a solution and change closes and the can keep their old and new “acquisitions”.
The new reality says that the West continues to retreat, and the internationally rising powers have reached a point of translating their new weight at the regional levels, and before too long they will translate it at the local levels. Some examples of this reality are things like the Chinese-sponsored Saudi-Iranian settlement, the steadily developing relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the one hand, and Turkey on the other.
In the Syrian context, there is progress of the tripartite Astana track towards the Syrian-Turkish settlement, despite all the clear and exposed obstruction attempts, as well as rebellion of key Arab countries against the US through the new Arab track towards Syria, which has a positive outcome despite some “back door” attempts to sabotage. Above all, there is an increase in coordination indicators between Astana on the one hand and the main Arab countries on the other hand. All this means that the West’s ability to sabotage has become weaker, and therefore we are before a real opportunity for a solution through UNSC Resolution 2254. However, the opportunity will not be realized without patriotic Syrians seizing it.
Since we are before a real opportunity, the responsibility of the various Syrian parties is multiplied. The keyword in confronting this responsibility is “consensus”. The path towards reaching an understanding, national reconciliation, and a solution is the difficult path of consensus, which has not been previously traversed neither mentally nor epistemologically; and it is inevitable to learn and follow this path.
Consensus means “neither a winner nor a loser”, and it means that none of the contradictory opinions that will be put on the dialogue-negotiation table will prevail as is, unless everyone is convinced thereof. Otherwise, a third opinion should be formulated based on the two contradictory opinions. This third opinion would be a more mature and deeper opinion, capable of achieving consensus around it by making all political sides making concessions, not to each other, but in the interest of the Syrian people and to end their catastrophe.
Every opportunity has its own time frame after which it expires, and what is dangerous this time, as we mentioned above, is that what threatens Syria and the Syrians is not only more destruction, but the survival of their country is itself threatened if this opportunity is not capitalized, and within a realistic time frame. Therefore, the patriotic Syrians from all sides must push towards a political solution to reach a comprehensive and radical change and bring Syria back to life, starting with the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254.