In yet another round lost for the Syrian people, an initiative has been crafted by the Norwegian government and the American Institute for Peace, Brookings, in coordination with the new international envoy, De Mitsora.
The idea is clear: Create a new space for dialogue among Syrians on a neutral land, with the goal of building the Syrian state, and prevent the collapse of the country.
This means that the meeting is no different from the dozens of meetings held in Europe this year to reach a solution may end the sufferings of the Syrian people.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry is concerned with the Syrian tragedy as thousands of Syrian refugees are seeking asylum in Norway, and the ministry has a special department for the crisis in the Middle East.
The method followed is considered "second track" diplomacy, which means unofficial representation from both the regime and the opposition.
Geneva tried to gather the representatives of the regime and the opposition, but in an emotional and pessimistic environment, the regime came with its barrels and the opposition came with its fury, and the art of peace was lost. The Americans and Russians were just watching, and Kerry and Lavrov spent a beautiful night in Montreaux to attend the opening session and preach about reconciliation. The Russians didn’t put pressure on the regime to send a reconciliation delegation with a responsible program, and the Americans didn’t put pressure on the opposition to bring a delegation that really represents the Syrian people and has a real rescue plan. Lakhdar Brahimi couldn’t do anything but to apologize to Syrian people and resign from his position.
According to the organizers of the second track meeting, the meeting aims at gathering unofficial national figures from the regime and the opposition. The goal was partially achieved, as national independent figures from the opposition attended the meeting, but the regime didn’t allow its supporters to participate.
The same conspiracy fears have been raised by both the regime and the opposition, with preconcluded accusations against anyone who thinks of working for Syria. These kind of accusations are unavoidable, as there is no public figure in Syria left without accusations.
The Norwegian government offered the Syrian regime many options to participate; by sending an official delegation and allow its supporters inside Syria to attend, or to send an official observer to record what is being said in the conference. Unfortunately, all these options were deemed an interference to the "national sovereignty" of the regime – the sovereignty protected today by the Iraqi, Lebanese and Iranian militias, supported by Russia and recently America which shells Syria without international permission. Nonetheless, Walid al-Moallem assures that the right permission is ready to fight terrorists.
Thus, the regime refused the positive suggestions and saw it better not to respond to any of them. The reports written by its spies among the opposition attending the conference are enough.
The Islamic State didn’t attend and wasn’t invited, as there is no postal box, email or official spokesperson for it. However, the State has never shown any interest in any dialogue with anybody.
There is no explanation for the absence of the regime except irresponsibility. The regime appears to believe that everything goes on according to a wise plan and that everything will be over by the end of the month. We were told the same thing in parliament three years ago: "Everything will be over by the end of the month".
The figures participated in the meeting were in fact representatives of most of the movements inside and outside Syria – except the regime – including the soft and hard opposition, and the armed and peaceful opposition.
Certainly we cannot say that the attendees were representatives of every independent or dissident in the country, but it was a collected sample that was enough to understand the scene, and showed the regime that many Syrians do not support it, but the country, and are willing to work to prevent the collapse of the state.
I frankly wished that intellectuals and academics supporting the regime could have attended the meeting to tell their brothers in the country: We are partners in protecting the state and we need your support to do our duty in securing the return of Syrians to rebuild the country.
I wished to hear them providing the excuses of the regime in applying the security solution, I wished they had listened to their brothers explaining their sufferings from the military and security solution. Only then, we could have found a new base for dialogue, a base to gather the sons of one nation.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer