Syria’s disparate opposition has reportedly “been intensifying its efforts to form an interim government ‘in the upcoming period’” in the hope of securing defecting Prime Minister Riad Hijab as the country’s post-Assad president.
It’s the latest of a series of initiatives designed to address the question: What would a Syrian-led transition ‘look like?
“Soon after his installation as president, Bashar al-Assad dismissed the idea of civil society..[but] the Syrian uprising, even as it threatens to consume itself, stands as a historic refutation of his view,” says a prominent observer.
“Those taking a hand in charting Syria’s future could start by paying attention to the authentic voice of the Syrian majority,” says Geoffrey Aronson, a veteran participant in Track II diplomatic efforts on Middle East issues:
The Syrian Dialogue Project, an initiative by a group of Syrians from inside and outside Syria, including Nidal Alkhoudari, Nabil Beitinjaneh, Sami Bentinjane, Mazen Bilal and Camille Otrakji. They have constructed a “virtual dialogue” among a cross section of Syrians at home and abroad, and who have not taken up arms for one side or another, in an effort to answer the following questions: What do Syrians believe is important to Syrians today, and how can they best shape their future?
“Putting an immediate end to violence and finding political solutions so as to reach a comprehensive peaceful democratic change is the demand of the majority of Syrian people,” the Dialogue concludes:
What is needed now from all parties is the transition to rationality, to start thinking about settlements and compromises for the sake of the country. All conflicts end by sitting around the dialogue or negotiation table. Everyone has blood on their hands, and everyone has committed serious mistakes. Dialogue, agreement on a transitional period and a national unity government, and consideration of the other side’s fears would ease tension and put Syria’s interest above all.
But a leading rights activist believes the current violence will not end without outside intervention.
“The Syrian people, in an effort to claim their human rights and dignity, have become victims of international politics, writes Radwan Ziadeh (above), a spokesperson of the Syrian National Council and executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies:
Russia is counting on strategically holding onto an ally in the region, and waits for Assad to end the violence. This is simply unrealistic, and the longer the international community fails to intervene, the more irreparable the damage will be to the entire region. This revolution is real, and it is not going away. It is in the strategic interests of the U.S. and the international community to support in an inclusive manner the plan for a positive way forward that the SNC has mapped out for Syria.