'Talk' of a Solution in Syria: The Proposal To Halt All Maneuvers And Buy Time
02 June 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Hearsay on Turkey being inclined towards accepting Bashar al-Assad's stay as
Syrian head of regime, without any effective authority, for another six months
seems unfeasible. Chiefly because it was the same proposal that was already
accepted by a score of countries backing the Syrian opposition, among which
was Turkey I believe, about a year and a half ago which was completely refused
by the Russia-backed Iran.
However, the initiative remains viable, and reflects the current status quo of
the battlefield. The proposal would only be put forth after the regime being
effectively caught up in a corner.
Representing a mediocre solution, the proposal would come to halt all
maneuvers and buy time. At the time, Iran and Russia welcomed the idea of an
all-encompassing regime and announced receiving opposition delegates as to
scout for conventional solutions.
Nonetheless, within a few months later, both Russia and Iran stepped up the
armament of Assad forces, drowned Syria with Iraqi and Afghani armed militias,
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) units and Hezbollah
militants—Hezbollah militants partook in the Syria war early on.
At the time of the proposal, ISIS played a dangerous game which further ruined
the situation, setting the Syrian Opposition off course and marring its
reputation with acts of slaughter and arson which targeted Kurds and
ISIS, targeting opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) locations which it had
secured over the past two years of its war with Assad's regime, had
dramatically effected the Syrian opposition.
Also playing to the Syrian arena, Russia effectively targeted Turkey, trying
its best to keep it out of the Syrian conflict.
Russia's attempts eventually translated into the political solution being
rendered unnecessary for the Tehran axis. The regime-supporting parties by
then believed that the FSA and the Syrian opposition had been weakened on a
military level and that Turkish influence was disengaged.
Moreover, the West was hesitant in supporting the change in Syria for ISIS
reasons, especially with legions of refugees overrunning Europe in numbers
considered the largest to enter the continent without permission since World
Despite the frequent setbacks, the world firsthand witnessed that Assad's
regime, despite all the support it received- like a cancer patient- is unable
to achieve a full-on landslide, nor is it able to sustain or manage restored
The regime seems to be worn out, both on a managerial and a military level;
most importantly, still is detested among a majority of Syrians.
Russian air power, Iranian ground troops and Hezbollah, Iraqi and Afghani
militias all were unable to control battlegrounds like Aleppo, despite the
great destruction inflicted.
Assad's allies pay both in blood and money, and are well aware today that
victory is a far reach, and fully understand that the cost of continuing to
support Assad will take long, hence draining on their capacities.
Given that the solution helps Assad-backing allies walk out with integrity and
assure a majority of their best interests are left unharmed; will that,
however, be enough to let go of Assad? I do not believe so, monocratic forces
tend to give a great deal of importance to political calculations, determinate
to win rather than striking a balance.
When Assad is given the chance to remain Syria's temp President with no
authorities, till elections take place for a full and swift political
transition and the birth of an inclusive government comprising opposition and
regime forces, it is perceived as a great compromise on the opposition's
behalf. The entirety of political transition and solution is conditioned by
Assad's eventual step down.
Taking into consideration that none of the two parties are able to settle the
war, the proposition remains feasible.
Should the opposition concede to anything less than Assad's leave, then it
would be a sugar-coated defeat.
We know that the opposition faces tremendous pressures by its supporters,
given that they are pressured themselves.
On the other hand, two key players, Russia and ISIS namely, had added to the
war partially crossing Syrian borders to Turkey. The country now witnesses a
series of terrorist attacks which have affected each of its tourism, trade and
I do not believe that Turkey or Gulf countries could approve to bowing down
before Iran and Russia in Syria matters, since the consequences are beyond the
Syrian crisis itself. The sole remaining solution is for the Syrian opposition
to be bolstered immensely, thus striking a balance.
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.