By Abulwahab Badarkhan
No matter what Valdimir Putin, Barak Obama, Ali Khameni, Hassan Nasrallah, Lakhdar Ibrahimi, or Michael Bogdanov are saying; nor what Kassem Suleimani’s soldiers, or Hezbollah or the Lila Abou El Fadel Al Abbas Brigade –which is imported from Iraq with the approval of Nouri Al Maliki– are doing…
And no matter the accession of Ayman Al-Zawahiri to Iran, nor his ironic attempt to judge between “Dae’esh” and “Al Nusra” combatants after al-Qaeda’s loyalty to both Iran and Syria was exposed…
Not even the diplomats who sit with members of the “coalition,” pressuring them to participate in Geneva 2 conference; nor those pro- and anti- regime who call for the formation of some other “coalitions”…
…None of this is of interest to the Syrian regime because it is aware that its problem is not with the terrorists created in its jails, but with the Syrians who are still resisting, confronting the regime’s brutality and refusing any end to this crisis unless it is the end of the regime as well. [The regime’s problem lies with] those Syrians who were motivated by the regime to raise their weapons against it, in the hope of crushing it. They have become the strong core for Syria after Al-Assad era. They are putting up with the harshest suffering and with the most primitive of living conditions without electricity, food, allies or “friends.” But their will is becoming unbreakable whenever they realize the large and unforeseen sacrifices they must make.
Those Syrians are only betting on the power emanating from their weakness, they are the hard to exchange currency in Kerry and Lavrove’s calculations. A person who thinks these Syrians are undisciplined or disorganized is completely mistaken. If that was the case, they would not have withstood until now, and the “Shabiha” and their spies would have eliminated all civil and military activists, for there is not one week that passes without one or more of them getting kidnapped and returned as a mutilated corpse, or not returning at all.
Those are the people who are sacrificing their dignity and freedom, whose families and kids are also suffering as displaced exiles. The people who derived and continue to derive the formula of confronting the regime and its allies, not “Dae’esh,” or “Al-Nusra,” nor even the Kurdish “Ocalanians,” they are the people who will give legitimacy to any “solution.”
It became certain to Bashar Al-Assad and his regime that the irreversible reality they have imposed through iron and fire won’t bring them the solution they desire—not from Geneva nor from any other source, only because of the counter irreversible situation set by the opposition.
Although Assad is certain that his government will represent him at the Geneva 2 conference, that isn’t enough to reassure him. Assad is aware of the communications between the Americans and the Russians with “anti-” and “pro-” regime dissidents, with Assad’s frightened relatives, and with vengeful opponents from within the sect itself. These communications hint that Assad is no longer an option in the search for an alternative.
And although these communications also imply that the American-Russian duo are trying to construct any scenario just to get a Geneva 2 conference going with the attendance of those willing to negotiate, it seems like their first priority is discovering new faces that accord with certain specifications in order to obtain a procedure to a “transitional authority” that includes acceptable loyalists, dissidents and opponents. It became understood that no matter how this scenario was ordained, it aims at ending the rule of the [Assad] family and the sectarian domination—in other words, the “minority rule”— and in obsessing about establishing a system for “minority protection.”
It is true that although the revolution has not yet overthrown the regime, it has highlighted injustice and tyranny. And it’s also true that although the regime did not quash the revolution, its forbidden humanitarian and moral acts ended up cracking social cohesion and endorsing the sectarian issue.
What was feared in the abstract became a worrying reality with the amount of bloodshed in massacres and field executions, the sectarian cleansing and the sectarian displacement to “purify” the areas, and the regime’s desire to draw borders among all the components of society in case they continue to live together in this country.
Since the start of the revolution, the regime’s “shabiha” were the first to initiate the killing, torture and detention, and to invoke sectarianism with all its symbols, in the conflict. But nowadays this dreadful polarization is no longer a secret, although rejected by the elites who are trying to avoid slipping in it.
But since the end of 2011, all the interested parties in various capitals have realized that the regime’s lack of response to waves of change has endangered the coexistence of the sects.
After the international forces failed in deterring the regime violations against the people and in securing “civilian protection,” the international community turned toward the opposition to seek pledges and guarantees that they would not oppress minorities. At that time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted that not endangering minorities was one of the conditions to support the National Council. Some European references stated that the “Islamic-Ikhwan” character was predominant in the opposition. After that, this demand was restated to the Coalition as well. At the present, with the crisis drenched in blood and sectarian divisions, the international forces need to manage their impotence by pushing the Coalition to negotiate with the killers, in the hopes that they would abdicate some ministerial portfolios in a government managed by threats and terrorism.
Syrian society was never a sectarian one, not due to the fake secularist regime, nor to its alleged “fairness” that spread equality and respect to co-existence, but only because of the historical changes that formulated a national Syrian Islam, used to the existence of the “Other.” On the contrary, the regime’s role was negative. It gambled on the issue of sectarian differences to solidify the family reign and the ruling of a single sect, and used the Baath party to gain a reputation of “Nationalism,” and illegally purchased loyalty through corruption, extortion and bullying. And as in the case of Saddam Hussein’s regime, it would be natural for the fall of the Assad regime fall to bring out sectarian and social frictions, to make real the recognition of that schism, even to make it appear more “merciful” with all options, measures and adjustments resulting from it.
As the Assad regime is still claiming the need for a “Syrian solution,” it has abolished all other solutions that do not guarantee its permanence. It has even vetoed elements of a predicted “Syrian solution,” counting on Russia and Iran (who are using it as human and political shields) to defend their interests. Unfortunately, the solution—if it exists— be a Syrian one. It’s all being cooked up abroad.
Since the beginning of Kofi Annan’s mission, and the announcement of his six points which remain at the heart of the Geneva 1 conference statement, the proactive suggestions given to him by Syrian specialists (regarding a stage to find for a political solution after imposing an end to the violence normalizing the security situation) have indicated that the search for figures from within the regime only leads to security people from the same sect being guaranteed a minister position, or any other essential position, in military or civilian sectors.
And based on this reality, the suggested formulae of “governments” have been concerned with giving a sectarian distribution of ministerial portfolios. And since the “reassuring” of different sects and minorities became a priority, this plan is seen as possible through the participation of figures (from different sects and minorities) in any transitional government.
And although it is unrecognized by the Syrian regime or the opposition sources, the truth is that the recent communications in Geneva (with Qadri Jameel, Ref’at Al-Assad, Manaf Tlass or others) indicate that the Americans and the Russians who are creating the “solution” are practically trying to choose candidates on the basis of “reassurance” eligibilities, like choosing from subsided regime following people who delusively dissented from it, or formed a “fake opposition,” with the know-how and willingness to manage the difficult transitional experience which will definitely have to take into consideration the issue of restructuring the security and the army.
These [candidates] are people like former Minister of Defense Ali Habib, who left the country a few months ago and still hasn’t appeared in the media. They also include the dissident prime minister Riyad Hijab who remains firmly in the picture. Meanwhile, lots of real opposition figures are being examined.
Even the regime feels that this approach is starting to construct its special formula, by contacting people and offering them “safety” to return and manage posts.
And rumors are spreading that Manaf Tlass received a call of this kind, but his answer was: “It’s too late.”
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer