This research is published by Harmoon Center for Contemporary Studies
As it is simultaneously published by Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS) – University of St Andrews
The completion of the ten years of the Syrian war is an occasion in which the Syrians look to a political solution that puts an end to their misery, which the world has never seen more horrific since World-War II. Because of the horror the Syrians faced, a large part of them welcomes any solution, no matter this solution. They are hoping to see an end to their personal afflictions, and to those of their families, which spanned a decade now, in the hope that a reconstruction phase will follow, so that they could recover what they have missed, and recover what remained of their homes, properties, and businesses, and what remained of their families. Towards this end, they do not hold preconditions, rather agree to any solution that fulfills their humble dream: “To return safe to their homes”.
This leads us to the question: What is the political solution that allows the Syrians to have a safe return to their homes?
Between the dreams of the Syrians and the harsh reality, there is a wide isthmus, where no political solution for Syria has ever been conceived, and where expectations vary between many scenarios that range from good to bad, and where each scenario implies that it may be the most prevalent. The three potential scenarios that we will deal with in this paper differ radically in their consequences on the recovery of Syria and its society, ranging between creating a political climate that provides efforts and resources supportive of the solution and of the recovery of Syria from various aspects; and creating a negative climate that deprives Syria of the potential for its reconstruction, thus maintaining its tragedy and the suffering of its people.
Any political solution in Syria will have to address the unprecedented massive destruction not seen since WWII, which occurred over the course of ten years, and included physical destruction of cities, towns, service facilities, roads, lands, etc., and widespread social and economic destruction, in addition to the great political complications caused by the interference of regional and international parties in the Syrian conflict, and the transformation of Syria into an arena of conflict between rival powers. Not to forget the complex problems inherited from the Ba’ath rule, which extended from 1963 to 2010, and built a totalitarian regime based on the Soviet model in its beginnings, then began to flounder between the remnants of the Soviet model and the liberal openness that was designed according to the interests of the new fat-cats of the ruling elite.
Accordingly, any future solution in Syria will have to address these interlocking difficult challenges. Despite that, the effectiveness of any solution lies in its ability to bring an end to the tragedy, and to create an environment that allows the total reconstruction of Syria from various aspects. Any solution that does not lead to the aforementioned cannot be considered a political solution.
This paper will discuss the following issues:
1- Challenges of the devastation inflicted on Syria on all aspects, which in turn will challenge any reconstruction and any political solution in Syria in the future.
2- Possible scenarios for the development of the situation in Syria, and defining the scenario that fulfills the conditions of facing the challenges of the reconstruction.
3- Conditions and possibilities for achieving the desired scenario.
4- The dangers of not achieving the political solution based on the political transition which fulfills the conditions for the reconstruction of Syria from all sides.
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