This 9-points plan (click here for Arabic version) represents my own little contribution, offered through the auspices of the Tharwa Foundation, to ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in y home-country: Syria. As a peace plan, it may not represent the early expectations of the revolutionaries, not to mention my own, or any one side of this conflict for that matter. But parties to the Syrian conflict have to prepare themselves for settling for much less than they initially wanted and sought. The struggle for democracy is a complicated long-term process that requires continuous readjustments. It might begin with a protest movement or a popular revolution, but it does not end with it. Politics, no matter how derided and cynical it seems sometimes, remains a necessity.
The complicated issues related to the shape of future Syria and the nature and scope of the transitional justice process are differed to a later stage, due to the intricate calculations involved on all sides. The current plan merely aims to enable parties to the conflict, domestic, regional and international, to agree on a longer-term truce (perhaps as long as 5 years), while they negotiate a final settlement that might involve talks and compromises regarding developments in other countries and even other regions of the world, not only Syria. In other words, the idea is to exchange a violent long-term conflict for a long-term political process, no matter how complicated it is bound to be, in order to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.
The author of this op-ed, Mr. Rich Ghazal, an ordained deacon in the Syriac Orthodox Church, makes some excellent points about the plight of the Middle East’s Christian communities, that is, until he gets to those two paragraphs that capture the real message that he and the IDC conference organizers wanted to deliver to President Obama and the American people at large: preserve the Assad regime.
As usual, Al-Bahgdadi proves that, like all other cult leaders, he is dangerously delusional but far from being an imbecile. Now that he has been “appointed” as the Caliph, he has become a public figure par excellence, and we should expect regular such addresses from him at least to commemorate important religious occasions and address critical developments. In time, that will add to his appeal in the world Jihadi circles, and his impact could rival that of Bin Ladin, if not surpass it. Al-Zawahiri and other current Jihadi leaders on the scene do not have his charisma, his stature, or the kind of resources that he has under his disposal.
The condemnation of Saudi Arabia on account of her funding of extremist movements around the world is more than warranted. But the persistent failure to condemn Iran on account of her similar efforts since the Islamic Revolution, in support of certain Shia groups like Hezbollah, and the occasional extremist Sunni group as well, including some units currently affiliated with ISIS in Syria, and the extremist factions in Hamas, is really baffling. This phenomenon is as well documented as its Saudi equivalent, is fueled by similar mixture of cynical and strategic calculations, and it poses no less a danger to global security and regional stability than Saudi involvement. So, why do researchers keep neglecting to highlight Iran’s role, even as some pushes for the kind of an engagement with Iran that, in practical terms, amounts to an appeasement? Is there an agenda involved here? What is it? Or how else could we explain this phenomenon?