Monday, January 23, 2012

Syria - the League gets it, but only a bit

As I have mentioned before the previous demands of the Arab League to Syria made no sense. They basically demanded Assad to surrender. And as that wasn't likely to happen they were a recipe for a civil war.

With first the observation mission and now a plan that looks for a Yemen-like solution - including amnesty for Assad - the chances are better. However, the plan is still somewhat unrealistic:
- amnesty for Assad is fine, but what about all the people who work for the regime. Many assume even that Assad is just a figurehead. In that case he wouldn't be able to accept a solution where only he gets amnesty.
- replacement of Assad by his deputy is a reasonable idea. But I wonder whether there isn't someone else in the present elite who enjoys more trust amongst the opposition. On the other hand: this should be the result of negotiations; not a precondition for it.
- the plan still foresees democratic elections in a few months. That is not feasible. The country has no democratic traditions and no existing parties. Just as in Egypt and Tunisia it would mean that the Brotherhood will win as they have the best organization. But this organization is not built for democracy so the result might very well be a new dictatorship. In addition the conflicts are much too sharp: democracy is only possible when the main parties are prepared to compromise. Elections at the moment would simply mean a revolution by ballot box and result in mass harassment of all those who are even remotely connected with the present government. It would be much better to focus on values: more freedom, less political prisoners and less torture.

So the best idea would be to have a transitional government with a minority representation for the opposition that initially focuses of make the country more free and more civilized. Elections should be held when the government thinks the time is there, but it should be understood that that will take at least two years.


The Hero of Crappy Town said...

I read a few days ago in the case of intervention in Libya it would be more appropriate to speak of GCC in place of Arab League:

"Libya was an all-out GCC special - from actual cash and weapons dispensed to the "rebels" to actual operatives, intelligence and last but not least, political legitimacy, via that fake Arab League vote legitimizing a no-fly zone vote at the United Nations (only nine out of 22 Arab League members voted yes, and six of them were GCC; the other three were bought, and Syria and Algeria were against it)."


I wonder if the same is not the case here, and if this is not so much Arab League enterprise as one of Gulf sheiks and emirs.

Wim Roffel said...

I agree. The whole Arab Spring looks like a GCC enterprise. Maybe they got some flak from their fellow Arabs about driving Syria into a bloody civil war and caused that them to become a bit more careful: sending observers and talking with the opposition in Damascus too. But the final goal seems to be the same.

I like Pepe Escobar. Very good articles.

Wim Roffel said...

Do you know who were those "other three" countries that supported the Libya intervention?

I recently heard some report from a journalist who had recently visited Libya. He told about the attitude towards Qatar. It said that people were grateful for Qatar's support of the revolution (saying otherwise would mean opposing that revolution...) but very angry about its efforts later on to introduce some fundamentalist regime in Libya.