What’s happening to Syria, and not simply in Syria, has been described by UN officials as the worst humanitarian disaster since WWII. In regional terms, this is also the worst disaster since the Palestinian Nakba, irrespective of how one allots blame for that one.
America’s leverage to speak on a variety of issues, from the aggressive attitude of certain countries to their record of domestic violations of human rights, is greatly enhanced and improved when America itself is not seeing as an aggressor, in action or in waiting, or as a major violator of human rights of others. This is true. But is this really the only issue, or even the main issue, undermining America’s credibility in this regard? Are those who are raising the issue of America’s hypocrisy and double-standards serious about their moral objection to intervening in other country’s domestic affairs and criticizing their cultural practices?
Back in 2003, I was against plans for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and I made my objections known and clear in a variety of forums. But once it became clear that the invasion was proceeding irrespective of my stands and those of my colleagues, I wished it well and, wanting it to succeed, I tried in my capacity as an activist, no matter how small, marginal and limited, to help the democratization and state-building efforts through our work at the Tharwa Project. After all, the brunt of failure, as I argued then, will be borne mostly by the Iraqi people, and the prodemocracy activists working around the region, as later developments have clearly demonstrated. How can I wish for U.S. failure then?
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.