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NİHAT ALİ ÖZCAN

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NİHAT ALİ ÖZCAN > Between realities and dreams: the future of Syria

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At the beginning of the week, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters that the Turkish Government wanted to see the end of the Syria crisis soon. In addition, he also mentioned a new “Syria” whose integrity is protected and whose autonomy and federation is not in question. According to explanations, Syria must never be Lebanon. Indeed, this would be a disaster not only for Syria but also for the whole region. However, we know that these issues will not continue with hopes. At this point, the question is: How realistic are the desires specified above at present?

In my opinion, we need to ask four questions to understand how the Syria model will be at the end of the process. Firstly, what does the changing character of the war mean in analyses? Secondly, how does the proxy war affect political development and the time period? Thirdly, how does the deep sociological division among the people in Syria shape the problem? Fourthly, if there is no authority or sufficient power and desire to end the interference, how will Syria turn out?

First, the process that began with the insurgency in Syria is continuing to expand rapidly into a civil war. With Syrian army officers and Sunni soldiers deserting the Syrian army increasing and conflicts expanding in the country, the army is losing its feature of representing each group of society. In the end, the army could turn increasingly sectarian in character, becoming increasingly composed of Alawites. Aside from this, the Free Syria Army would be an arms force composed of Sunni political features. Although their numbers and impact would increase, they would never be a fully-disciplined and regular arms force. Thus, the war would continue without front, irregular, facade, brutal and no rule and no moral block. This will threaten seriously the future of Syria.

Second, having numerous foreign supporters of warring parties - the feature of “proxy war” – would cause the war to continue, increases death, and make a certain end to the war an impossibility. For example, while Iran, Russia, China and Hizbollah support al-Assad, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the U.S., the U.K., and France are on the side of the rebels. This situation increases the capacity of both sides and causes the war to continue.

Third, with regard to the deep sociological division in the society, psychological, religious prejudices and historical traumas of the past would feed on a civil war situation and cause enemies to have more strength. The warring sides feel “comfortable” only if they are divided physically. This situation would trigger the political division of the country.

Lastly, having no authority to end the disturbances would bring about the completion of the political division, and reunion would take a long time.

In the foreseeable future, it is difficult to have clandestine operations, air operations, punitive air operations, blockages from the sea, peace making and peace keeping operations that would provide an advantageous position to one of the sides compared to the other. Apparently, the fire in Syria will extinguish with its own domestic dynamics, which will cause numerous civilian deaths. In the end, it is difficult to see Davutoğlu’s desired Syria in the future picture.

August/02/2012

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