It’s not business as usual for Assad

Photo credit: The Middle East Magazine

by Pascal Najadi
The issue before Syrian President Bashar Assad is not the taking back of lost territory from “the terrorists”, as he swore on Monday.
GENEVA (OP-ED): The ceasefire in place in Syria since Monday, the day of the Haj, does not mean it would be back to business as usual for President Bashar Assad in the post-War situation.

The issue before Assad is not the taking back of lost territory from “the terrorists”, as he swore on Monday. A ceasefire will prevent a military solution in Syria.

The only way forward is a diplomatic and political solution which takes into account the grim military reality on the ground. There has been so much death, destruction, human tragedy and suffering in Syria.

A Federation may be the best political solution for the people of Syria who gave Jesus to the world some 2,000 years ago.

A Federation would have to await the anti-Assad forces getting their act together. They have to speak with one voice at the negotiation table. That will also persuade Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and return them to Syria.

Clearly, the UN has to come in as in other places, and help facilitate the installation of an Interim Government. The UN can help clean up the electoral rolls and draw up a new Constitution. That will pave the way for perhaps the first free, fair and clean elections in the country.

Assad, having been part of the problem, can no longer be part of the solution. This is where Russia, his military backer, has to come in and usher him into exile.

If not for Russian military intervention, backed by Iran, Hezbollah and China, Assad would have long fallen, perhaps not to the Free Syria forces but the Islamic State (IS). Russia spelt defeat for IS in Syria. The terrorist state is on the run too in Iraq.

The Christians in Iraq have already formed a military force in Iraq for a semi-autonomous state backed by the autonomous Kurdish state in northern Iraq.

It appears that there’s good news for the Kurds too in Syria, if not in Turkey and Iran as well. The greater Kurdistan will have to remain a concept on the distant horizon.

Assad has to address the international community’s concerns that his people have lost their sovereignty. A handful are in power in Damascus, mostly from the Alawite clan in western Syria.

It was loss of sovereignty that led to the Iraq War. The alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the country (WMD), cited in the media as the reason, was the trigger.

When a ruling party cannot be removed by elections it means, in international law, that the people have lost their sovereignty. The state no longer has legitimacy.

When the overall results of an election are known well before the official returns come in, it means that going to the ballot box would be just a sham exercise.

Washington has to decide whether the wars in the Middle East, begun since 911, would finally come to an end with peace in Syria.

America cannot be kept safe from international terrorism by turning the Middle East into a killing field.

The Kremlin directed by President Vladimir Putin has been promoting peace in Syria all along being the originator of the diplomatic Syrian peace solution.

It would be more productive for the US to persuade its European allies, France in particular, to end its alienation of Muslims from mainstream society. Muslims form 10 per cent of the population in France, for example, but make up 70 per cent of the prison population, according to a CNN Report on Monday.

In that sense, France can take a leaf from Germany which has successfully integrated one million Turks. Germany has taken in another one million Syrian refugees.

Note on Writer: Pascal Najadi is seeking justice for his late father Hussain Ahmad Najadi, assassinated in late July 2013, outside a temple in Kuala Lumpur. He has charged the Malaysian police has virtually done nothing on the killing. “They never probed the motive behind the killing. They refuse to investigate the motive that is central to any criminal investigation the world over,” he lamented.

His father, who founded ArabMalaysian which has since emerged as the country’s 5th largest bank, apparently learnt that unusually large sums of money originating from 1MDB were entering AmBank Islamic Private Banking Services.

“They were being deposited in the Prime Minister’s personal account according to a witness who gave us his statement,” said Pascal.

His father reportedly briefed Bank Negara, the central bank in Malaysia.

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