Al-Shara: Solution to Crisis in Syria Must Be Syrian Through Historic Resolution Encompassing Essential Regional Countries and Security Council Members
Vice President Farouk al-Shara said that any logic based on rejecting dialogue reflects a desire to not reach a solution by Syrians, so any settlement based on agreements between Arab, regional and international capitals cannot survive without solid Syrian basis.
In an interview with the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar published on Monday, al-Shara said that the solution must be Syrian through a historic resolution encompassing essential regional countries and Security Council members, and that such a settlement must include firstly a synchronized ending of violence and a ceasefire, followed by the formation of a national unity government with expansive authority accompanied by resolving issues related to people’s lives and just demands.
He said that the problem is growing and that while some believe that a final resolution is possible, this is incorrect as the opposition groups cannot end the situation through toppling the government unless they aim to send the country into an endless maelstrom of violence and chaos.
Al-Shara said that what the security forces and army units are doing doesn’t constitute a final resolution, as all are aware of the threats of what is happening which aims to destroy Syria’s history, culture and people.
He opined that the communiqués of UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Ibrahimi can be considered good basis for settlement, saying that achieving a historical settlement to the Syrian crisis may pave the way for creating an international atmosphere that deals with other important issues through political means instead of military confrontation.
Al-Sahra said that if any side involved in this settlement believes or insists that all their expectations and hopes will be realized, then the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people could be lost and the area will be plunged into the unknown.
He affirmed that those who are committing crimes in Syria and those who support them have lost all national, moral and humane sense, adding that the decrease in peaceful protestors led in one way or another to an increase of gunmen.
Al-Shara said that while the state is duty-bound to preserve citizens’ safety, this differs from using a security solution to the crisis, stressing that the two things shouldn’t be confused.
He said that there were efforts to make the solution Syrian, and that the dialogue adopted in July 2011 aimed to resolve the crisis politically by Syrians, but events didn’t move in this direction, then the crisis was made an Arab issue and the Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended without any convincing justification, with many mistakes that cannot be forgotten or overlooked being made by the Arab League and the state alike.
Al-Shara pointed out that no credible investigation committees were formed at the beginning of the events, and the ones that were formed didn’t have their reports published by the media, which allowed the spreading of rumors that caused the government to lose credibility and standing before the affected inside and observers outside.
He stressed that each passing day causes the solution to become more distant militarily and politically, stressing that this should be a battle for defending Syria’s existence, not a battle for the existence of an individual or a regime, adding that Syria’s problems are many and complex to a degree that ongoing military operations cannot be separated from citizens’ daily lives.
Al-Shara said that there are many issues that could be tackled to find a solution, pointing out that no-one is delusional about returning things to the way they were, adding “we are convinced that the hands of the clock cannot be turned back.”
He noted that Ibrahimi continues to say that things are moving from bad to worse, and that he cannot deny this as he has been charting the events and saw that they’re heading to an uncomfortable place where things actually move from bad to worse, adding that the problem is that Ibrahimi is moving slowly and carefully while the events on the ground are moving rapidly and violently.
“From my position I don’t know exactly where the current option will lead us… I don’t have a conclusive answer… maybe none of the officials know where we’re at in terms of a solution,” al-Shara said, noting that even the President may not be able to give a conclusive answer because what is happening in Syria is complex, composite and interlocked.
“The situation could get more complicated if it was dismantled, and the poles hidden in it may grow rather than lead you to a solution,” he said.
He pointed out that those who had a chance to meet President Bashar al-Assad would hear him say that this is a long struggle and a large conspiracy with many sides, and that he makes no secret of his desire to finalize the matters militarily until a final victory achieved, making political dialogue possible on the ground, adding that many in the al-Baath Party, the National Progressive Front and the Armed Forces believe since the beginning and until now that there’s no alternative to a political solution and that there’s no going back.
Al-Shara said that a solution cannot be realistic unless it starts at the top, as the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Armed Forces and he appoints the Prime Minister, leads the ruling party, and selects the People’s Assembly speaker, but at the same time there are executive, legislative and judicial establishments that are responsible directly for running the state and these establishments’ directors work – or in some cases claim to work – according to directives.
He explained that in 1970, many state establishments were built on contradictions and internal struggles within the leadership of the revolution at the time and on the basis of an accord, then these establishments began to deteriorate and weren’t renewed despite repeated attempts to restructure them since President al-Assad assumed power in 2000.
Al-Shara said that most of these establishment began working on “acquired inertia” which could be acceptable in times of stability and security, wondering how things would turn out in times of crises and the ensuing destruction of infrastructure, loss of services, and escalating displacement, adding “not to mention the arrest of thousands who aren’t referred to the judiciary as if martial law is still in effect.”
He stressed that the National Coalition, Istanbul Council and the Coordination Committee cannot claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, nor can any peaceful or armed groups with known foreign affiliations do so.
Al-Shara said that the standing rule with its army and its parties that include al-Baath Arab Socialist Party with its long experience and deep-rooted bureaucracy cannot, after two years of the crisis, achieve change and development without new partners that participate in preserving the nation’s fabric, territorial integrity and regional sovereignty, adding that loss of confidence between these two sides and the resulting impossibility of brining them together in dialogue will lead to continuing destruction and fragmentation that serve no one at this stage other than the Israeli occupation.
He pointed out that the political, economic and social structure in Syria is changing day by day, and that this is similar but in a more complex manner to what happened in the early nineties of the 20th century in Eastern European countries, taking into consideration that the changing of these countries’ regimes didn’t result in civil conflict or destructive wars, although they led to severe economic crises.
Al-Shara said that there are differing opinions and viewpoints within the political leadership, but not to the extent as to mean movements or deep disagreements.
He explained that when he was assigned to manage the dialogue issue in 2011, he accepted out of belief which was shared by the entire National Dialogue Committee that this is a genuine step and not a mere tactic, noting that some may have acted as if this step was unnecessary and gave that leadership the impression, while the opposition inside and aboard considered the step an act put on by the government, which eventually killed political dialogue and opened the doors wide for bullets and cannons.
Al-Shara said that at the beginning of the events, there government was hard to find a single gunman or sniper on a rooftop, but now the entire government is complaining even to the Security Council the numerousness of armed groups which have become hard to count and monitor, adding that there are towns that have been “cleared” which led to the displacement of its inhabitants, then gunmen returned to it several times while the locals couldn’t return.
“Does anyone have the right to thrust the country into a bottleneck from which it cannot emerge without breaking it?” he asked.
He explained that when foreign intervention is rejected, this is because the Syrian people didn’t unanimously agree on the involvement of the Syrian national army in the crisis, so how can anyone be delusional and think that the people will accept the intervention of foreign forces on Syrian soil, adding “this is something that will never happen and it will be resisted… the standing and unity of the Syrian Army are indispensible in any proposed political solution and dialogue.”
Regarding the causes of the crisis, al-Shara said that one cannot overlook internal elements linked to the economic situation and policies employed in recent years, and that one cannot also ignore the fact that there’s a need for meaningful change in all the state’s establishments and bodies, and this means true change with deals with urgent issues according to priorities.
“Maybe before we didn’t listen well or accept remarks on the need for quick change, but we learn from our experience and the experiences of others and realize today that change is inevitable if the authority doesn’t take initiative to realize it with others, then change will happen from unilateral dictations from them,” he said.
On international stances, Al-Shara said that Iran is the closest country to Syria, and not just to the government, voicing confidence in the wisdom of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Sayyed Ali Khamenei.
He also lauded Secretary General of Hezbollah Hasan Nasrallah, adding that Khamenei and Nasrallah could have played a bigger role in seeking a true, early solution to the Syrian crisis.
Al-Shara said that he’s a faithful friend to the Russian people who honored their historic relations with the Syrian people, and values China, a great country which evolved silently and patiently to become one of the most powerful countries in the world.
He said that what happened in Egypt was a great tremor that cannot be reversed, but political and media activity must go on and cannot be disregard, as Egypt is a historic country and strong and solid relations must be built with it as it can do much for the interest of Arabs, concluding “what it witnesses today requires careful follow up, because the revolution that began in it cannot achieve immediately conclusive results that express the Egyptian people’s aspirations and demands.”