Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Badr Jamus, the former Syrian honorary consul to Mongolia, where he served for more than 10 years, has explained the reasons for joining the opposition ranks, having once believed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was a man of reform. He said: “We had expected President Bashar al-Assad to react [to the uprising] in a completely different manner from what we saw in 1982 [in Hamah]. However, the surprise was that his reaction was even more violent. He has flouted all international charters, following all the deaths of women and children we have seen throughout Syria.”
In a statement to Asharq al-Awsat, Jamus said: “The unprecedented violence with which President al-Assad has been dealing with demonstrators was a factor in unifying and closing the ranks of the Syrian opposition groups abroad.” He underlined that “the Syrian opposition’s primary demand now is freedom and plurality.” He added: “We reject any military intervention by any party, because we are confident that the change will come at the hands of the Syrian revolutionaries. When the revolution erupted, our demands were limited and reasonable; namely freedom, democracy, and plurality. However, President al-Assad met these demands with violence.”
Jamus conceded that “the Syrian opposition is in a state of disorder, with no real structure and no united goals”. He blamed this situation on the Syrian regime, because it has banned political plurality. He added: “At the conferences currently being held by Syrian opposition groups in Turkey and elsewhere, we learn the viewpoints of one another. We listen to one another and live in true democracy, something we have long been deprived of. This in itself is a significant development.”
Jamus is of the view that “demands and efforts by certain opposition groups to establish shadow governments are a mistake”, because “we have not yet reached that phase.” He added: “As part of the opposition based abroad, our work should at present be confined to conveying our voice to global public opinion, and to supporting our people in Syria, and our refugee brethren in Turkey and Lebanon. It is not up to us to establish a government; this is the entitlement of the resisting Syrian people, who have paid the price for the struggle. Therefore, it is the votes of the Syrian people at the ballot boxes that will make the difference.”
Jamus called for “early parliamentary elections to be held, to form a new government,” noting that “the opposition abroad does not represent all segments of the Syrian people, and so it has no right to form governments here and there.” He added: “The previous opposition conferences have formed a committee to travel to a number of key international capitals, in order to urge their governments not to oppose any decision that would stop the bloodshed of the Syrian people.”
Jamus said that “the current international reaction to the Syrian uprising has been slow and insufficient, although it is growing.” He said: “As for the Arab reaction, we did not count on it in the first place, because all Arab regimes fear opening the door for change, and consequently suffer in the same manner as President al-Assad. As for the Arab League, which was set up to represent the Arab people, it is very similar to existing Arab regimes.”
Jamus said that the “official Arab reaction to the Syrian uprising was expected; we were never going to rely on it. Yet we blame the Arab people, for throughout the past 50 years, Syria has hosted Arab refugees and assisted the Arab people, providing them with aid and supplying them with weapons, and even fighting alongside them in their conflicts. Thus Arab people’s reaction to the Syrian ordeal has been very weak.” He added: “We are certain that the Syrian people will bring about change, but all that was required of the Arab people was moral support, nothing more and nothing less”.
Jamus returned once again to the subject of early parliamentary elections, suggesting that President al-Assad should be allowed to run [for office]. He said: “If he wins 51 percent of Syrian people’s votes, he can rightfully assume power once again. But we are certain that now he represents less than 10 percent of the Syrian people, having persisted in killing his people, and incited sectarianism in order to ignite a civil war.”