Tuesday 18 December 2012
If Farouk al-Sharaa is not a dissident, then I wonder what dissidence is. The man, who is still officially the “vice-president,” clearly and directly criticized every single decision taken by the Bashar al-Assad regime in the last talk that he reportedly gave. His criticism even extended to the “security solution” adopted by Al-Assad as the sole means to terminate the “terrorists.” Al-Sharaa criticized this solution and refused to call the oppositionists terrorists. He further considered that what the security forces and army units are doing will not lead to settling things down (this was also what the former Prime Minister Farouk Hijab said when he broke away). He also did not hesitate to clearly designate the man responsible for the events in Syria, as he said that the Syrian president controls all matters in the country and that general directors and officials sometimes make their decisions by designating a photo of him hanging in their offices!
Wishing to uncover the regime’s politics of lies, Al-Sharaa said: “At the beginning of the events, the Authority used to aspire for seeing a single armed man or sniper on the rooftop of a building. Today, the Authority and all its services are complaining about the many armed groups.” These words depict the real image of the early peaceful Syrian revolution before the regime turned it into an armed confrontation with the oppositionists who reverted to the use of every possible means to defend themselves, their families, and their homes in the face of the oppressive regime. Al-Sharaa, the son of Deraa, which saw the birth of the revolution, transmitted this image in an exceptionally loyal manner.
Al-Sharaa then moved to describing the solution. He agreed with Lakhdar Brahimi that matters are proceeding from bad to worse. He insisted that the political solution is moving further away on a daily basis and that there is a need for a historical settlement including the main regional countries and the Security Council’s states. When he alluded to the regional countries, he most certainly meant the countries that the Al-Assad regime is accusing of supporting “terrorism”, mainly Turkey and the Gulf States. Furthermore, he did not simply limit himself to seeking the support of Russia and China the way the regime is doing. He further saw the need to include the other three western countries in the solution. These are the countries that oppose Al-Assad’s persistence in power and that call for an interim phase which must see the establishment of a cabinet of national unity with wide jurisdictions. These are the same (almost literal) terms that Al-Sharaa employed to describe the necessary terms for the needed settlement to solve the crisis. He then stressed: “We must defend Syria’s existence. We are not in a state of war against one individual or one regime.” The object of this statement was quite clear.
There might perhaps be some analysts who will say that Al-Sharaa’s latest statements indicate that he is bracing himself to hold some specific post in the interim phase; or that Al-Assad has asked him to make those statements and to play that part in order to preserve the regime and prevent it from collapsing on them all. However, the extent of the criticism that Al-Sharaa directed at the regime, more precisely at its head, implies that this kind of analysis is not a realistic one.
Bashar will not be pleased with the statements of his “deputy” and he will only smell the stench of betrayal. Indeed, Al-Sharaa said that, ever since Bashar accessed power, the state institutions have become weak and inert. This statement means that Farouk al-Sharaa rejects any personal responsibility for the degradation of the situation in the past decade on the hands of the young president who accessed power amidst promises of an early “Damascus Spring.”
Farouk al-Sharaa’s probable mistake is that he kept silent for too long and merely observed the events. However, his latest appearance makes up for that. Unlike all the others, he made his appearance from the heart of Damascus. This will have many repercussions on the man’s situation and position. The regime that mistakenly believes that the “security situation” is the only thing that will prevail will not be sparing anyone in its endeavor to achieve this so-called “victory.”