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A Resignation to No Avail - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The resignation of the Syrian Vice President Halim Khaddam, a veteran Syrian politician, was received well by the Syrians, celebrated in fact! Many believe that his step-down from authority will have a big impact however, for me it is merely the exit of another employee. In a huge institution such as that of the Syrian state, changes have no real effect unless they touch on each and every part of the system. Khaddam particularly, kept out of the political scene for over a year once before and even then his absence was barely noticed so what difference will his resignation make?

Those who oppose development fail to accept that changes are taking place in every single part of the world, even those parts which we consider fully integrated and stable respond to change. For example, Britain with its well-established institutions has notably been experiencing enormous changes since the eighties. This wave started when Conservative leader and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to expand the private sector and decrease the role of the syndicates. After numerous public conflicts, the country changed in form and in essence, whose development is still taking place under Blair”s Labour Party, the Parliament, the hereditary tradition of the House of Lords and the three centuries-old constitution. The state also seems to be distancing itself from the concept of central government and concentrating on the idea of independent governments of nations, such as that of Scotland and Wales. However, one does not insinuate that the British state is flawless, but rather that change does not merely apply to developing nations and that developed nations underwent major changes in every aspect of society to reach the position that it finds itself in today.

Syria, like all other developing countries is in severe need of new policies. These policies must be inclusive to suit all members of Syrian society and not confined to wellbeing of certain regional and ethnic groups. Syria, like many other Arab countries, continues to rule as it did back in the fifties, obstructing change and development in society.

One can understand the fears that political regimes have. As a result of their sheltered governance, they fear any hint of change. One kind of fear of change stems from the interference of external powers, particularly those of their enemies. Another fear, which is more dangerous, is the threat that attempt of development and change may cause the collapse of the whole regime rather than advancement. Like many observers who wanted change but feared its repercussions, these regimes panicked at the example of the Soviet Union.

However, successful examples are more abundant! Furthermore, those who have not invigorated themselves will have to at some point. China is a good example of gradual change. Since the nineties, it experienced changes in its law, its people and even in its culture. It seemed more like a peaceful and steady overthrow of an old system.

Despite being a great country, Syria has not had its fair share in good luck, as a result of its ancient ruling system, therefore it is the responsibility of the leaders to enforce necessary changes. To discuss a change in the people is pointless if it is not accompanied by a new stage of administrative, economic and political frameworks.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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