11 Jan 2013

Where’s the politics? Comment on the Syrian Coalition’s Vision for a Transitional Period

The Syrian Coalition (SC) has published its ‘draft vision for a transitional period’ following the collapse of the Assad regime (see below).
This follows a two-day conference of experts hosted by the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which representatives of the Syrian Coalition participated. The draft is starkly devoid of any political content and reads like a technical manual not a political declaration.

This is typical of the SC’s bland statements that offer little reassurance to the Syrian people that it can become a viable political entity that can lead Syria. The statement’s passive language reflects its inability to project a real sense of authority and control, and its appeals to the ‘international community’ make it sound less convincing as a statement of intent. It is not clear about who will be responsible for the processes that it describes; decommissioning, rebuilding, mobilisation, reinforcing this sense of passiveness.
It’s also ambiguous about the nature of its efforts towards ‘unifying the military command’. Anyone closely observing the situation on the ground on the Syria can tell that there are no serious indication of that is happening. In fact it seems to be already giving concessions to military commanders by stating that ‘a political solution must be in accordance with the on-going military operations on the ground’. What does that exactly mean?

The complete absence of any mention of a political process of transition is compounded by its emphasis on the role of technocrats. The post-Assad period will require strong political leadership and a mechanism to bring all Syrians into the process, not technical remedies. The SC seems completely out of ideas as to how that will happen.

The ‘vision’ sounds like it was drafted by Foreign Office civil servants than revolutionary political leaders with a clear sense of purpose. I am afraid it will make more than this to convince the Syrian people and meet their sacrifices, let alone the independent rebel groups that are pursuing their own path at the moment.

Read the text of the statement below:

The Syrian Coalition Presents Its Vision for a Transitional Period and Sends a Message to the International Community

10 January 2013

Representatives of the Syrian Coalition (SC) took part in a conference hosted by the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 9th and 10th of January, 2013 in Wilton Park, United Kingdom. The SC presented a draft vision for a transitional period based on a controlled gradual transition of power, ensuring that governmental institutions continue working in full function, troops withdrawal to their bases, collection of weapons from civilians, and mobilizing national efforts towards rebuilding Syria.

The SC emphasized that the draft plan’s main goal is realizing the demands and objectives of the revolution, achieving the transition process with minimum human and material losses, and maintaining the state’s institutions in cooperation with defectors from the current regime.

The SC presented specific demands to the international community for the current period and the transitional period after the fall of the regime; the demands were in the political, economic, military, and technological areas.

The SC delegates also affirmed that a political solution must be in accordance with the ongoing military operations on the ground, and requested that the International Community fulfills its promises in Marrakech conference to the SC through its “Support” and “Local Councils” Units. The current efforts of the SC are focused on the formation of a temporary government following the SC’s success in unifying the military command. The SC is currently working, through specialized units of technocrats, to serve as cores for ministries in a future government. The temporary government will cooperate with technocrats within the current ministries who didn’t announce their defection from the Assad regime, in addition to local councils already represented in the SC.

The SC thanks the Friends of the Syrian People member states who have participated in this conference for their support to the Syrian people’s rightful demands and SC’s efforts to achieve them, for there can be no political solution without removing Assad and his close circle of associates from power.

The SC calls on the International Community to take quick steps towards annulling any remaining legitimacy of the Assad Regime by allotting Syria’s seats in the Arab League and the United Nations to the temporary government formed by the Syrian Coalition, and transferring the Assad Regime’s frozen bank accounts to it.

Media Office

National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces

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