Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Have all sides become exhausted in Syria? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this image taken from leaked video obtained by Ugarit News and posted on Monday, July 15, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, purports to show a fireball from an explosion at a weapons depot set off by rocket attacks that struck government-held districts in the central Syrian city of Homs on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video.)

The Syrian opposition, the regime, its allies, and the Syrian people in general all seem exhausted. The country has witnessed three difficult and violent years—the worst in its history. These three years reflect the desire of many Syrians to rid the country of Bashar Al-Assad and his regime.

They have also stood witness to the regime’s ability to ensure its survival using the security network it has established on the ground in Syria, a terrifying security and military apparatus rivaling that of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist Iraq and Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea.

The regional struggle, pitting Tehran against Riyadh, has reached a peak with neither side giving ground. The Iranians have made military, economic and political efforts to support Assad, while Riyadh has done the same for the Syrian opposition. The battle continues, even as parties prepare for the Geneva II conference.

Saudi Arabia has stated through the public statements of its foreign minister, that the upcoming Geneva conference must be based on the recommendations and decisions of the previous Geneva conference. That conference decided on a Syria without Bashar Al-Assad, and with an interim government put in place to oversee the transitional period.

With no side able to overcome the other, the situation on the ground in Syria is now exhausting all parties. This mutual exhaustion foreshadows a long war and suggests the regime will continue to hold power over the capital while opposition forces battle the Syrian army across the country.

Amid all this, all rival parties, except for the Assad regime, may reach an agreement on narrowing the gap between the two camps. This is where the Geneva II conference comes in, as a venue where the idea of a transition of power may be revived.

Some doubt the opposition’s ability to deal with this development, internally divided as it is and, given its own internal power struggles, incapable of upholding any solution it adopts.

Usually, political solutions are only successful after all parties have exhausted both themselves and all the other options. The people, too, become more willing to accept compromises at that point. Are we at that point now, and is everyone ready to accept the solution of a transition of power?