The Arab Solution…Will it work?

Isn’t it good to hear the news of the last solution for the Syrian Crisis? Isn’t it good to know that the Arab initiative will put an end to the crackdown in Syria with all the souls that this will save? Is the Syrian regime going to accept this initiative as it is, without thinking about the protesters, especially that the initiative imposes immediate army withdrawing from all civilians areas? Or is it just another way to buy more time?

The long road in brief

At an emergency meeting held at the Arab league headquarter at the Egyptian capital Cairo on October the 16th, the Arab League decided to give Syria a 15 day deadline to enact a cease-fire and agreed to form a committee led by Qatar with representatives from Algeria, Sudan, Oman and Egypt, and the Arab League chief Arabi to supervise the situation in Syria. Moreover, the Arab foreign ministers called for a national dialogue between Syrian authorities and the opposition.
According to the Arab initiative, solutions to end the crisis in Syria include initiating dialogue between Syrian government and the opposition, releasing political detainees and demonstrators, forming a national unity government led by an acceptable figure, as well as holding presidential elections by 2014.

Syria has rejected previous Arab initiatives, and it was not clear if this would be different, or if the regime was trying to gain time to try to crush the uprising.

Arab officials held a ‘frank and friendly’ meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, October the 26th, the head of the delegation said at the beginning of an Arab League effort to resolve a bloody seven months revolt, the most serious challenge yet to the 40 years old regime.

The Arab League Ministerial Committee, which includes the foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Sudan and the Arab League General Secretary Nabil al-Arabi, arrived to Damascus on October the 26th to discuss ways of ending the seven-months-long crisis through dialogue between Syrian government and the opposition.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad held a meeting in the Syrian capital with the Arab League Ministerial Delegation, which seeks to end the violence in Syria, SANA reported that the meeting was “positive”.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani was quoted saying that the Arab delegation felt that the Syrian government is eager to work with the Arab committee “in order to reach a solution”, “We feel Syrian government’s keenness to work with our committee,” said Jassim.

After a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, visiting Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, who heads an Arab League Ministerial Committee, said in a press conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Waild al- Moallem that the second meeting between Syrian leadership and the committee would be held on Sunday, November the 30th.

“The ministerial committee’s meeting with al-Assad was clear and friendly. We will continue our meeting on October the 30th,” the official SANA news agency reported Sheikh Hamad saying.
“What is important for us is that there should be no more victims from any side in Syria,” Sheikh Hamad told reporters. “The fighting should stop and the dialogue should begin between the Syrian brothers so that, God willing, they agree on points that fulfill people’s demands.”
Sheikh Hamad told reporters that the Arab committee and the Syrian government will hold another meeting on the 30 of November either in Syria or in Qatar.
The regime, as evident through its different media outlets, has taken a negative stance towards the initiative. For example, according to the pro-regime ‘Champress’, a Baath Party leader views the initiative as emerging from a US, European and NATO agenda, rather than Arab sovereignty.

The 2 sides met again on October the 30th in Qatar with Syrian Foreign Minister Waild al- Moallem heading the Syrian delegation, Surprisingly it is romoured that the 2 sides have reached an agreement the details of which will be announced while this issue of Baladna is being printed.

Optimistic, pessimistic and rejecters

People in Syria are divided into optimistic, pessimistic, and rejecters when it comes to were they stand against the initiative. And what’s interesting is the ‘rejecters’ are from both sides and for completely different reasons.

While extreme pro-regimers refuse the initiative claiming that it represents an American and Western agenda, pro-revolution also refuse any initiative that doesn’t guarantee the immediate falling of the regime and even “criminalizing the regime with all the massacres it has committed” as Ephraim. A, 58 years, civil engineer said. He continues: “Although I know that the regime will never accept the initiative without any modification to make it doable and to form it in the suitable way to achieve his ambitions. Reports say that they have killed more than 3000 people, do you think that they will withdraw the army from cities? You are dreaming we all know the tricks of the regime I experienced its tricks and lies for more than 30 years. They will withdraw the army but will keep the security forces, law enforcements and the (Al-Shabbeha) surfing in the seas of blood they have already made.”

Sarah Sarhan, 29 years old, teacher said: “I don’t think they will accept the initiative, it will destroy them if they do. Don’t you see the people in the streets? they are not afraid of any kind of force, so imagine the situation when the official accept to withdraw the army; no one will stay at home and the demonstrations will overwhelm Syria. They are not fools; they will come up with a suitable form that will help the regime to keep his iron fist on Syria. We all know the low moral level of the Arab diplomacies; they will believe the regime while he slaughters the people in the streets”

“As it is known to all, the Arab initiative cannot stop the bloodshed, let alone launching the wheel of purposeful reforms. However, it is necessary in the context of the Arab and international actions in form at least. As for the regime, with its ‘spontaneous’ million-man loyalist demonstrations, it will only resolve the political conundrum towards which it has led Syria when it recognizes the widening and depth of the opposition represented by the youth on the streets and in the towns of Syria.” Ahmad. S, 45 years, lawyer said.

Ghofran.N, 26 years, Law Student said: “They will accept it, but according to their own conditions, they will accept it to implicate the oppositionists and push them to the edge to force them to accept the initiative. They know that the people refuse the initiative, so they will accept it to put the opposition in a tough spot: accept it and lose their internal supporters –the people-, or refuse it and lose their global supporters. This is the trap, and this is what will happen. The officials will say that they will withdraw the army but they will ask for permission to locate some check points to keep the cities safe and calm, then they will start to take revenge on each family and citizen in Syria with the absence of the media of course, as I have heard that Syrian officials have put an amendment to the original initiative, this amendment is to include controlling the media and stopping the so-called ‘biased’ campaigns against the Syrian regime and all its practices, which means that people will be killed without even a hope of being recognized by the world.”

“Officials said last Tuesday that they have reached a deal with the Arab League committee tasked with finding a way to end seven months of unrest and starting a dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents. I have heard the state media reported the deal, without giving details, saying that an official announcement of the agreement would be made at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Wednesday. They (the Arab league) have sold the Syrian revolution whether the regime has accepted it or not.” Samer. Z, 51 years old, teacher said.

The optimistic people are very happy and awaiting the Syrian answer to the initiative: “We trust the government and the president, they will choose and do the right thing for the good of Syria, they will accept the initiative and will deal with it. President Al-Assad has the wisdom to foresee and follow the safest way to rescue Syria. This initiative is a hope but it is not complete, so the Syrian officials have amended it and made it as good as possible to be doable and useful.” Joumard. A, 25 years, student said.

Many people tried to show the unlimited trust and full support to the government. Ahmad Ka, 29 year, student said: “You must be sure that the Syrian government will accept this initiative because they want the best to the Syrian people, they want to stop the bloodshed. They want to save the Syrians from being victims of the disinterested media; the oppositionists will feel shame and will ask for forgiveness when they will know how wrong they were.”

With all that said and done, we still have to wait for the final agreement to be unleashed and the conflict in the Syrian streets will be about how useful the initiative will be and how many days it will take the government to put the initiative into effect, and whether it will be actually executed on the ground or bot, and how many people will fall before achieving the goals of this initiative.

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