Syria And The Idea Aiming To Halt The War
01 April 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
There isn't a decisive winner or loser in the Syrian crisis which has become
out of control and transnational. In a world that is supposed to be governed
by norms and international laws, this weakness and failure has pushed the
superpowers to what we see them doing today – negotiating a ''non -solution''.
As soon as I saw the pictures of the Syrian regime's delegation at the door of
the negotiating hall as a full team, and the opposition's team an acceptable
group made up of individuals who previously opposed its formation, it was not
difficult to conclude that these negotiations would not produce a real result
or end the war.
As for how the mediator succeeded in convincing the two adversaries to sit
down together, it appears that his skill lies in the idea. Each party was
convinced to engage in the negotiations meetings by being told that they would
not be forced to do something they did not want to. In exchange, they would
agree to a series of measures including a ceasefire and allowing humanitarian
The mediator succeeded in stopping the fighting, or reducing its severity.
Some prisoners were also exchanged and aid was delivered to those blockaded on
both sides. To UN mediator de Mistura's credit, these are important
achievements but they are not a solution and will not lead to a solution.
In order to convince the Syrian regime's delegation to go to Switzerland and
participate in negotiations, the delegation was told that the removal of
Bashar Al-Assad is no longer a US requirement. The opposition, on the other
hand, was told that the Russians were not opposed to them governing. It is for
this reason that the initiative succeeded. However, in my view, the
negotiations will not solve any problems because there isn't a major plan that
can end the crisis.
Mediators may suggest the idea of restructuring the system again, according to
which Assad would remain the president of the country but would not have
executive powers, and the prime minister would be a member of the opposition
with broad powers. This is similar to the Iraqi model designed by the
Americans in Iraq. Of course, no one believes promises, especially the idea
that Assad would be satisfied with protocolic powers.
In these negotiations we see radical changes in the ideas put forward. The
first idea was that Assad should give up power completely. Later, it was
suggested that Assad should leave completely after a transitional period of
eighteen months and elections to form a hybrid regime would be held. Finally,
it was suggested that the criminal, Assad, and the victim, the opposition,
would govern together.
There have also been proposals to divide Syria completely but they were
rejected by Syrians and a number of countries in the region. However, the
division of Syria would not be easy to implement even if it was decided on.
Recently, the federal solution has been proposed quite a lot, but I do not
know how that would suit the current situation. Stability in Syria is a
requirement for federalism, and it is no longer a state of institutions. A
federal solution would benefit the regime as it needs internal administrative
arrangements. However, it would not benefit a country where there is
Is it possible to achieve any of the above solutions, assuming that
superpowers may support them? Those who know the nature of the conflict
realise the impossibility of a solution that includes both Assad and the
opposition. The opposition may be able to be part of the regime's hierarchy if
its senior leaders, specifically Assad, are not involved in it. Syria is not
Yugoslavia and cannot be divided according to its ethnic components within the
borders of the country because they no longer live there.
If the negotiations are a distraction to stop the war without a solution, then
the conflicting parties will not remain busy with negotiations for long, and
the fighting will resume.
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.