The plan and the future of the democratic transition in Syria

The Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) organized a symposium on “the plan and the future of the democratic transition in Syria” on Friday, May 23rd2014 in its Montplaisir office where Mr. Radwan Ziadeh, a visiting scholar at the John F. Kennedy School of Political Science, lectured about the current situation in Syria stating the different possibilities and scenarios for the future of the Syrian crisis.

 

Mr. Ziadeh underlined the relevance of the Tunisian example of democratic transition to post-chaos Syria. Although the Assad regime is still in power, the opposition forces across the Syrian borders do play an important role. He claimed that despite the fall of the central government, the absence of solid institutions gave raise to chaos. Mr. Radwan was in favor of establishing the Syrian House of Expertise which includes six teams working on different aspects of State re-building:

 

  • Constitutional Reform and law enforcement
  • Political and Administrative reform
  • Political Parties and electoral system reform
  • Security Service and National Army restructuring
  • Economic reform and reconstruction
  • Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation

He explained that the Syrian House of Expertise is an initiative launched by the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies to envision the transitional phase in post-revolution Syria. Nearly 300 Syrian experts, human rights activists, academics, judges, lawyers, political opponents, former government officials, and leaders from the local revolutionary councils, the armed opposition, and the Free Syrian Army will take part in this project to give their remarks and recommendations for the political, economic, social, military, and security future of Syria.

 

Mr. Radwan believes that the democratic transition process in Syria should be considered as an end in itself. He also spoke at length about the Syrian House of Expertise detailing the prerogative and the job description of each team. Concerning, the security services and military reform and the challenges encountering them to re-build the National Army, Mr. Radwan said that these forces committed numerous massacres against civilians. These forces were never effectively supervised or held accountable for their crimes against innocent civilians. Providing security to all citizens equally should be at the heart of the security service reform. This reform will guarantee the assertion of democratic principles by strengthening the relationship between the security forces and the Syrian people whileoperating these forces under the authority of an elected government.

 

As for the economic reform and reconstruction, the recommendations mentioned by Mr. Radwan were as follows:

 

The Syrian people should begin the establishment of a free market economy and strengthen its integration with the market of goods and services to correspond to global norms. The liberalization of the agricultural sector, the privatization of several property monopolized by the state,and the removal of subsidies on goods will promote economic empowerment and production growth.

 

In the same line of thought, a democratic transition in Syria must be based on a minimum of consensus and support at the domestic level (open discussion across the Syrian cities) and on the International level (Strategic talks with International leaders) as the international community plays a very important role in post-revolution Syria.

He also listed the various reasons for the shift of peaceful demonstrations in Syria into an armed conflict:

  • The first reason was the large number of peaceful protestors that were killed by Al-Assad forces in the absence of a security force to protect them
  • The second reason is the methods of torture Al-Assad regime committed against the protesters
  • The third reason is the success of the Libyan revolutionary forces who took up arms to defeat Al-Gaddafi regime

 

Mr. Radwan Ziadeh concluded his lecture by stating the threefold dimension of the conflict taking place in Syria

  • International conflict: U.S. – Russia
  • Regional conflict: Iran – Saudi Arabia
  • Sectarian conflict: Shiites – Sunni