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Syria: Far from solutions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What is clear is that, until now, the situation in Syria is still far from any real solutions. Violence is still dominating the situation, which is complicating matters, and contributing to the continuation of unrest and demonstrations. Violence is not, nor will it ever be, the solution to holding the state together or dealing with the demands of its citizens.

Syrian television aired clips of what it called armed groups roaming certain areas and opening fire on demonstrators and security forces. This is completely unbelievable, particularly as the camera filmed the gunmen as if this was [the famous Syrian television drama] Bab al-Hara [The Neighbourhood’s Gate]. Furthermore, one of the cars [in the video] looked new, and its license plate was clearly displayed. Does it make any sense for gunmen in Syria to roam around this openly, without being arrested by the Syrian security forces? Syria is a country that is based on security and not achievement. Furthermore, the security forces would not allow a media camera crew to film [in this manner], so what can be said about masked gunmen moving around at ease in front of a camera and being filmed in such a dramatic manner?!

The problem with what is happening in Syria, until now, is that the regime has a lot of room to move; there are many issues that require reform. It has a lot of room to maneuver and can neutralize the main sections [of society], if the regime decides to carry out real reforms. However it seems that so far the reforms in Syria are still only promises to carry out studies [into reform], rather than prompt resolutions that will see the dismantling of the [opposition] machinery that is beginning to be put together to oppose the Syrian regime.

This matter is very dangerous; it will either lead to the situation blowing up completely or to the weakening of the state as a whole, for violence will not result in any solutions but will only complicate matters further. It might also, in turn, lead to more violence and not in the manner that the regime is now trying to portray, which is that there are thugs and gunmen [conspiring to create unrest], as it seems that this was an attempt by the regime to neutralize international pressure. When, God forbid, the violence truly comes, this will be clear for all to see, and will not require camera lenses or dramatically shot footage, and the consequences of this [violence] will be dire. The other matter is that in the event of the regime suppressing its citizens in this manner, then it will be [revealing itself to be] weak externally, and there are many who would jump at the change to seize control of the country in this state, for the regime would be too weak to negotiate or say no, and this is also very dangerous.

Therefore the Syrian regime has no choice but to implement genuine reforms in order to survive. People are not controlled by violence and in Syria’s case in particular these are unprecedented times and circumstances. Whoever says that Syria is isolated from what has happened in other Arab countries is wrong as what is happening in some far-off regions of Syria greatly resembles the beginnings of what happened in the border regions of Tunisia, where every time someone was buried more people were killed [in retaliation], until what happened happened [the revolution]. So is the Syrian regime waiting for the social contract in the country to be nullified?

This is the question because killing and oppression do not present any solutions at all, just as the closing of a casino or nightclub and allowing the niqab [veil] or hijab [head-scarf] to be worn are not real solutions; religion is for God and no one can prevent the worshippers from worshipping. The state must uphold the dignity of its people and must not encroach upon their freedoms. It must guarantee employment opportunities and a decent life for the people, rather than convicting them based upon suspicion and intimidation, and concerning itself with allowing or not allowing them to wear hijab! Unfortunately it seems that Syria is still far from any solutions.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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