Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Opinion | Will the US wind make the Syrian boat sail?

Damascus, Syria; Credit: Saad Fansa/SYRIAWISE

The Syrian people suffered foremost from the US Administration’s fight of “terrorism” in the region, its decision to turn the Syrian revolution into a “sectarian civil war” and its use of the country as a fierce war arena to attract and drain militants from every direction, as former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford put it in his testimony before the Congress in 2012 (when he described the situation in Syria as Al-Qaeda fighting Al-Qaeda).

This strategy was very happy with the Iranian and Hezbollah intervention, and at the same time with the formation of the Islamic resistance that mobilizes the Mujahideen to support the Levant. And in order to kill the largest number of these people, it allowed the use of all kinds of weapons except for chemical weapons (Barack Obama’s only red line).

This, of course, required the “steadfastness” of the Assad regime without its victory, as a symbol, title, and cover for the continuation of that war and the success of that strategy, and thus the Geneva statement and its path came to express and cover this policy very clearly.

Only the outbreak of the Ukrainian war in terms of magnitude and consequences was able to change America’s priorities in the region and Syria

Kamal Al Labwani

The Russian military intervention in 2015 came under the pretext of fighting terrorism, taking advantage of that policy that wanted to keep the conflict hot as long as possible, trying to impose the victory of its ally, i.e., the Assad regime, through the policy of de-escalation implemented by the Sochi track in cooperation with Iran and Turkey, through which the regime restored most of the areas it lost to the revolution, while the Americans considered the entry of Russia to be a kind of attrition for their opponents.

Only the outbreak of the Ukrainian war in terms of magnitude and consequences was able to change America’s priorities in the region and Syria, so Biden only recently retreated from America’s declared intention since 2008, which was to withdraw from the region, and considered that withdrawal would constitute a vacuum that will be filled by the Russians, Chinese and Iranians; that is, he returned to search for allies in the area that is the “egg” between East and West.

This is what has changed the direction of the wind blowing on the Syrian boat, and repurposed the conflict in it within the context of the global conflict between East and West, which will inevitably be reflected in the form of Western support for the forces of the Syrian people affected by the dominance of Iran and Russia, which paid the heaviest price during 11 years of destruction.

But after attrition and wear and tear, will this change of wind direction be enough to move the Syrian boat? Shouldn’t the ship be reconstructed before lifting its torn sails and sailing in a stormy sea? This is what we are trying to note through the comprehensive joint working paper between the Syrian people and friendly countries, which is currently under discussion and consultation.

Therefore, formulating any project for cooperation between the Syrian people and the group of friendly countries requires engineering the means to achieve the interests of the different countries in harmony with the interests of the Syrian people

Kamal Al Labwani

It is true that every country has a specific goal in Syria, but this goal cannot be achieved without action, and to undertake this action there should be a cooperation between the Syrian people and the countries that have interests, so it must be achieved through the Syrian people’s pursuit of their goals and their interests that they will fight for and they will not be supported unless they also fulfil the interests of the supporting countries.

Therefore, formulating any project for cooperation between the Syrian people and the group of friendly countries requires engineering the means to achieve the interests of the different countries in harmony with the interests of the Syrian people, so that we can form an alliance (as each party will fail alone without the other).

In order for the Syrian people to be active in their cause, and be able to achieve their goals, it is necessary to rebuild their capabilities and institutions in ways completely different from those that were designed to curb their revolution and prevent it from victory, and make it attractive to extremist movements and under their command.

There ought to be a reversal of the policy of attrition that was adopted for more than ten years now. That is, a rupture must be made with the means, methods, and personalities of the previous stage, foremost among them the institutions and figures of the Syrian opposition, throughout the path of attrition and Geneva which was designed to fail.

Today, the direction of the wind is appropriate, and the trajectory is clear. But is there a ship capable of sailing? This is a question for the Syrian people to answer in action, not in words.

Kamal Al Labwani

It is not enough to design a joint working paper. Rather, an action plan must be drawn up to reorganize the self and activate the capabilities of the people, and this cannot be done by non-Syrians alone, and this is what really worries me when all those projects that are currently being studied depend on the capabilities of non-Syrians (as what is happening in Ukraine).

In order to be a reliable party and receive support, we must be present and be able to employ that support in a project, and in order for them to be encouraged to continue, we must succeed in the first steps, so that the most important question after the change in the direction of the wind becomes: How do we exist politically and militarily as a people and a revolution, and how can we be strong?

Today, the direction of the wind is appropriate, and the trajectory is clear. But is there a ship capable of sailing? This is a question for the Syrian people to answer in action, not in words.

Kamal Al Labwani
Kamal Al Labwani
Syrian writer and political opposition figure

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