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Has the Syrian conflict exhausted all parties?

The on-the-ground situation is Syria is exhausting all parties as none are superior to the others

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

The Syrian opposition, 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 have been a reflection of many Syrians’ desire to rid the country of Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

These three years have also stood witness to the regime’s ability to ensure its existence through its security network it established on the ground in Syria. That is, the terrifying security and military service similar to Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in Iraq and the North Korean regime.

Regional struggle

The regional struggle, pitting Tehran’s axis against Riyadh’s axis, reached its peak and neither side gave up its position. The Iranians have made military, economic and political efforts to support Assad, while Riyadh has done the same for the Syrian opposition. The battle is going on, even as parties prepare for the Geneva II conference.

The on-the-ground situation is Syria is exhausting all parties as none are superior to the others

Abdulrahman al-Rashed



Saudi Arabia, through the public statements of its foreign affairs minister, has said that the upcoming Geneva conference must be based on the recommendations and decisions of the previous Geneva conference. The previous conference concluded that Assad should not remain in power and an interim committee must be established to oversee the transitional period.

On the ground in Syria

The on-the-ground situation is Syria is exhausting all parties as none are superior to the others. This mutual exhaustion foreshadows a long war and foresees the regime’s continued hold of power over the capital while opposition forces continue to engage the Syrian army across the country.

Amid all this, 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 the concept of a transition of power - a solution that practically addresses everyone but Assad and a few of his men - may be revived.
Some doubt the opposition’s ability to deal with this development as it is internally divided and incapable of upholding any solution it adopts given the power struggle within the group.

Usually, political solutions are only successful after parties become exhausted and after they have consumed their energies and pledges. The people, too, would be more willing to accept compromises at that point. So, is everyone ready to accept the solution of a transition of power?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Jan. 12, 2014.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.