A Call For Direct Talks With Alawite Sheikhs


"If you wish for a space where logic and reason rules, the political opposition should negotiate with the Alawite Sheikhs"

Due to the unlikelihood of a military solution between conflicting parties in Syria, the forces and figures of the silent majority have demanded conducting a dialogue between the two parties; a dialogue supported by Arab or international powers to stop the widespread massacre of civilians.


Negotiations in Geneva failed after opposition members’ conflicting allegiances to supportive states caused major political divisions – as some members were imported to serve projects often contrary to the objectives of the Syrian people. As a result, we have now requested a dialogue with the armed opposition leaders – the managers of a possible cease-fire agreement, who not only rely on words.


An Alawite comrade from al-Hiffa area, a leader in the National Movement, claims to be against a dialogue between armed forces, because their madness does not allow a chance for dialogue.

"Ignore the military groups of pro-regime forces whose hands are contaminated with blood, either through conviction or the following of orders. Do not negotiate; they dream of victory over the other. The same argument applies for the armed opposition; some of them wish to not only eliminate the regime and its army, they also wish to eliminate the Alawites", he said.


"If you wish for a space where logic and reason rules, the political opposition – supported by national figures known for their wisdom and moderation – should negotiate with the Alawite Sheikhs, as they are also renowned for their wisdom. They are looking for a political solution that saves the Alawites from a handful of military men", he added.

I asked, “Do they have the ability to convince the military, and are these military men going to carry out this peaceful ruling of the sheikhs, whatever it be?”


“Yes, 75 percent of them will, and this percentage may increase”, our comrade replied.

“How can we build bridges between the two parties and gather them on a national – and secret – dialogue table?” I asked.


He replied by stating there are Alawite leaders, and other national and moderate figures, whose hands are not contaminated with blood, and these people must make the communications.


I asked him if he thought the sheikhs would accept being a substitute for the regime's military men – could they escape the regime's terror?


No one intimidates the sheikhs, he said. Even the military men are looking for a solution, just like all the nationalists who are concerned about the country and its unity, he added.


He said there are no wise men, only the lunatics are covering the squares with blood. We need a rational space, where people think beyond weapons as a solution, where someone can penetrate – at least partially – the case of insanity among the two parties. He believes that it is the military that fights, and the sheikhs that should negotiate. There are wise sheikhs, he said, but they need to talk to a sane partner on the other side.

Come to them and rule out the idea that all of them are supporting the regime, as most of them are looking for a solution, he said. You should build direct bridges with them, and there you will find more than one Saleh al-Ali, national and adherent to the unity of the country.


After our talk, I pushed for the National Coalition and the Coordination Commission to call on a national meeting with the sheikhs – in any place or time, to prevent the division of Syria, stop the killing and to agree on an internal political solution.

I wish an invitation would be extended to the sheikhs to attend Moscow II – or any other conference in Paris or Cairo – because they represent the civil war’s ‘other’ party. They do not represent the regime, nor the military, nor do they even represent some individuals from the community, despite their patriotism.


Will the opposition and its backing-countries invite the sheikhs, and will they accept the invitation?


That is the question.

Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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