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Syrian Political Landscape: A Call for a Comprehensive Approach

The regime's unwillingness to engage in genuine dialogue, combined with its strong position, makes negotiation an unlikely path for change, Hazem Nahar writes in Al-Araby al-Jadeed.
Syrian Political Landscape: A Call for a Comprehensive Approach

Syrian political efforts have been limited to responding to fleeting moments, driven by regional and international circumstances. This approach lacks long-term vision, rendering Syrians vulnerable to external influences. In contrast, a strategic approach would focus on building resilient actions, accumulating strength, and shaping reality.

Negotiation: A Closed Door

The regime’s unwillingness to engage in genuine dialogue, combined with its strong position, makes negotiation an unlikely path for change. The regime’s agreements are mere responses to external pressure, followed by procrastination and disengagement. Its goal is to minimize negotiations, focusing on the consequences of its actions rather than its existence, structure, or nature. This mirrors the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with the regime seeking to co-opt the opposition into “combating terrorism.”

Understanding the Regime

The regime’s nature is inherently non-negotiable, and its expertise lies in maneuvering and avoiding pressures. As the Syrian situation moves towards regime control and regional normalization, the door to change through negotiation remains closed. It’s time to shift focus toward building a robust, resilient political framework that prioritizes long-term vision over short-term gains.

Understanding these general trajectories is crucial to abandoning illusions and slogans. The regime dragged Syrians into militarization, knowing they couldn’t sustain it. Channelling all energy into this domain, including that of “political and cultural elites,” and reducing the revolution to armed Islamic factions was an act of folly, gradually destroying the revolution by sidelining organized political, civil, or other forms of work. With military defeat, Syrians were left with nothing substantial to support their aspirations for a democratic national state—only WhatsApp groups and fragile institutions.

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Today, it is necessary to acknowledge that there are no quick solutions to the Syrian catastrophe. It is crucial to affirm the significance of foundational work, not by turning our backs on the current moment, but by understanding that actions initiated today will not bear fruit quickly, as we are not the only actors in the Syrian reality. We must improve the overall national balance of power, not limited to the military sphere, but encompassing political, cultural, media, and civil aspects. A compromise solution favouring the Syrian regime may emerge, but it will be temporary and will not address the central problem. Therefore, creating real change paths different from the compromise solution logic is essential for Syria and Syrians.

Cultural Enlightenment Path: Syria needs a qualitative initiative from Syrian intellectuals concerned with public affairs to launch a process of creating Syrian public opinion on building a democratic national identity. This includes fostering the national spirit and presenting rational visions on contentious issues that fragment the political and societal fields, such as ethnicity, nationality, and the relationship between religion and state. Intellectuals should also play a significant role in monitoring the performance of the Syrian political field.

Political Path: Rebuilding politics is essential, as life begins and ends with politics. The focus should be on constructing a coherent Syrian political field with rules, determinants, controls, and taboos that regulate political work and monitor political actors. Despite the current fragmentation and weakness of political forces, building a national state and democratic system ultimately depends on their growth and effectiveness.

Civil Path: Most existing Syrian organizations lack the combativeness and voluntarism essential for creating a true civil society. Many resemble private companies, with members as employees and beneficiaries limited to its members, often fragmented and influenced by religious, sectarian, ethnic, and ideological considerations. Genuine civil society development is necessary.

Economic Path: Syria needs an economic miracle. Organizing Syrian economists and businessmen to participate in economic revival based on democratic nationalism can mitigate the disaster’s severity.

Military Path: Building a unified Syrian national army is central to establishing a national democratic state. The army must be a tool for removing armed groups and foreign forces, ensuring Syrian territory’s safety. However, this process will be influenced by regional and international conflicts unless a Syrian military initiative, driven by political, civil, and economic fields, ensures the army plays its role compatible with a national democratic system.

In conclusion, the cohesion and organization of these paths will play a role in adjusting the balance of power and impacting negotiations, even to a small degree, under regional and international pressure. Ultimately, they will significantly contribute to building a national democratic state and a unified Syrian spirit.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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