The Russian initiative to transfer Syrian chemical weapons stockpile under international control to be followed by its subsequent liquidation, as well as Syria’s accession to the convention that bans chemical weapons, prevented a military action against the country. But there are no illusions about the goals pursued by the administration of President Obama in Syria. The mission set is to topple President Assad by any means and exclude Syria from the list of Iranian allies and regional centers of power. There is only one alternative – a political management of the crisis.
It’s necessary to call the Geneva-2 international conference as soon as possible. Syria should be represented by officials and members of opposition. But what is the country’s opposition? According to Washington, the opposition is the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces based in Doha (Qatar) considered by the United States as the only legitimate representative of Syrian people and the Free Syria Army that spreads terror on the country’s soil. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was founded by opposition groups gathered in Doha in 2012 being sponsored by the US State Department, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister of Qatar. The leadership, that was changed many times afterwards, was appointed according to their instructions. The very same forces created «the Syrian government in exile» led by a US citizen of Syrian origin who has lived in America since a long time. The Islamists have a leading role to play defining the policies of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The organization has no program, it’s a motley crew of different groups united by the desire to overthrown Assad. The National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army vie for being the leader. In case the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces comes to power, the very next day the groups it is made of will start to fight each other for dominant position. The Free Syria Army comprises two major groups: Syrian army deserters (predominantly Sunni) and foreign mercenaries. Besides the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian government forces are opposed by a number of Islamist groups predominantly made up of Arab mercenaries from different states and outright criminals. The most well-known are Jabhat al-Nusra (the Support Front for the People of Levant) and Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which aims to establish a caliphate in the Sunni dominated Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra is on the US terrorist organizations list.
The riffraff of deserters, mercenaries and criminals makes up the main striking force of the «opposition» which the Obama’s administration wants to see as Syria’s representatives at the Geneva-2 conference. Their past record includes mass killings of Alawites, Christians, Kurds and Sunni Muslims, as well as pregnant women ripped open, five year old girls raped, prisoners decapitated and human internal organs eaten.
The Free Syria Army and armed gangs fight each other but at the same time get united against common enemy.
Apart from them, there is internal patriotic opposition putting forward its demands to the powers that be but ready for a dialogue with the regime. The author has met twice the representatives of internal opposition in Damascus since the conflict started. It comprises over ten political parties; some of them were established after the national referendum approved the country’s new constitution which made Syria a state with a multi-party political system. The patriotic opposition includes forces of many colors: Social-Democrats, Nationalists etc. There are parties that defend the interests of Kurds. Many of them are part of the National Front for Change and Liberation, comprising such parties as the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party and the People’s Will Party led by Qadri Jamil, a well-known economist holding the position in the cabinet of Vice Premier responsible for economy.
Another wing of patriotic opposition is represented by the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change made up of thirteen parties, predominantly left-wing ones, as well as youth organizations and three Kurds parties. The Committee is headed by Hassan Abdel Azim, a well-known public figure, at the same time he is the chairman of the Democratic Arab Socialist Union.
The National Coordination Committee conducts its activities outside Syria. It is represented abroad by Heisam al-Manaa, the head of Paris-based Arab Commission for Human Rights.
The major part of Kurdish groups belongs to the patriotic opposition, including the Kurdish National Council. There are self-defense formations in the Kurds-populated areas, along with the Syria regular army they fight against armed gangs that attack Kurdish settlements.
Syria should have a broad and diversified representation at the Geneva-2 conference. First of all it concerns internal opposition. Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov underscored that’s what is envisioned by the resolution of the Geneva-1 conference held on June 30 2012.
The outside opposition should have its representation at the round table too. In case it refuses the talks and continues the fight against the government it would be justified to demand that the United Nations formally put it on the terrorist organizations list with the consequences such decision will entail.