Syrian Opposition Presents Blueprint for Shift to Democracy
The war is raging on in Syria but opposition members are already planning a transition to democracy. They presented proposals in Berlin on Tuesday and played down the prospect of a chaotic power vacuum after Bashar Assad falls. But given the lack of international support for the fragmented rebel movement, their vision looks utopian.
Members of the Syrian opposition presented detailed proposals for a transition to democracy once the regime of President Bashar Assad has collapsed, after holding secret talks in Berlin hosted by one of Germany’s leading foreign policy think-tanks.
The project, called “The Day After,” consisted of negotiations among some 45 Syrians from all ethnic groups and confessions, including members of the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The talks were kept secret in part to ensure the security of the participants, some of whom are in Syria.
The executive committee of the group consists mainly of scholars living in exile. They have come up with concrete proposals (PDF download) for reforming the military and police and the justice system, for drafting a new constitution and for restructuring the economy.
“We hope this will be disseminated among the Syrian people who will then begin to see that the post-Assad transition is not something to be feared but something to be looked forward to and something we should anticipate in the hope of building a better Syria for ourselves,” Amr Al-Azm, a history professor who served as an advisor to the Assad government until 2006, told a news conference in Berlin.