Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Not So Heretical Consensus!

For long time, people who read this blog tended to classify some of my views as reflections of some personal isolated stands, unique only to certain members of the opposition, especially outside of Syria. This, however, is not simply inaccurate, it is downright false.

In reality, Syrian opposition groups, working inside and outside the country, have long adopted certain united stands on many of the issues involved in the struggle for change in Syria. Indeed, ever since the appearance of the Damascus Declaration on the scene and the formation of the National Salvation Front, the political discourse of Syria’s better organized oppositional coalitions has indeed been harmonized. Whether this was done by a careful act of coordination, by an independent assessment of certain realities on the ground, or by a combination of both is something worth wondering about since it might help US officials adopt a better strategy for dealing with Syria in the near future.

Indeed, and by way of connecting certain long-neglected dots, let’s remind here of a certain forgotten sequence of events.

First came the Damascus Declaration, a document authored and adopted by a variety of internal opposition groups and figure, calling for regime change in order to save the country from the adventurist policies of the Assad regime. Then came the formation of the National Salvation Front which subscribed to the Declaration. Third came a conference in Washington D.C. organized by the Syrian National Council, a US-based opposition group. The conference was unique in that it managed to bring several well-known signatories of the Damascus Declaration to take part in it the go back to Syria and communicate with the rest of the signatories. Other notable figures from the Damascus Declaration joined the conference by phone, including Riad Seif (mere days after his release from prison), Walid al-Bunni and Suhair al-Atassy. The fourth step happened a month later when the Syrian National Council threw its lot with former Syrian VP Abdul Halim Khaddam and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni, and formed the National Salvation Front.

Now, all that is left to connect all these dots in order to form a harmonious sensible whole is to bring to attention the fact that the various points that have been elaborated by me in my recent two articles have just been elaborated again in a new statement (Arabic) recently released by the Damascus Declaration. The statement condemns the regime’s adventurist policies that made the country get stuck in the bottleneck with no way out in sight, they warn against the regime’s pro-Iran policies, and warn against the regime’s false interest in peace with Israel etc.

So, what does this mean? Simple: the views often elaborated here do not reflect the personal views of some adventurist, as some might paint me, but the consensus of some of Syria’s most respected opposition figures and most organized opposition coalitions both inside and outside the country. As such, and as US policymakers continue to wrangle over the best policy course that needs to be adopted vis-à-vis Syria, the views often elaborated here do warrant serious consideration.