19/08/2011

Syria: the tide is turning. What about the future?

Europeans and Americans all called on Syrian President to resign last night. On the web a campaign has also being launched this Friday afternoon to ask Bashar al Assad to leave his post (# TellBashar2Go). On Friday, the protests have flared up. And unfortunately, it is the same as for the repression by the regime, which has not much left to lose. Will we assist the departure of Assad this weekend? The wind seems in any case to have finally turned for the Syrian regime in place. Let’s take a glance at the future prospects for Syria.

Le Nouvel Observateur presented this week the main opposition figures. They are numerous, but seem hardly being able to constitute a united force. Between the exiles and the opponents of the interior, the secular and the religious, those who agreed to participate in the opposition rally at the Hotel Semiramis in June and the others …

Is it the lack of unity of the opposition that prevented the Western governments to adopt a clear discourse vis-à-vis the Syrian president till yesterday? This factor has probably played a role, but the official reason is that the great powers were waiting for the regime to launch a reform program. And this program did not yet see the daylight. The international community has lost patience … but nevertheless ruled out any military intervention to protect Syrian civilians. How to avoid the comparison with the case of Libya, where at the same stage, this same international community decided to send the tanks to defend the Libyan civilian?

But it is not just the major powers who question the future of Syria. Carole Alfarah, a young Syrian photographer interviewed for Le Monde a few Damascenes citizens on their vision for the future of the country. Opinions are divided on the topic. Many people envision a reformed Syria, freer, more democratic, but still under the authority of Bashar al Assad. But is it not once again the uncertain future that push some to stick to the status quo?

The future may be full of uncertainties, but as emphasized by the opposition figure Suhair Atassi, there is no possible turning back. Many Syrians have paid with their lives, their desire for change. Giving up so close, as underlined by the young woman, would betray all those martyrs of freedom. Beyond denial of the status quo, it is therefore now necessary to lay the foundations of the new Syria.

 

Nathalie Janne d’Othée