Monday, September 09, 2013

Peace Is Our Common Interest-Aid The Role Of Syrian Civil Society -- Madani via @RaniaKhalek

via Rania Khalek

After more than two years of crisis and the transformation of what started as a political conflict into a violent one leading to tragic catastrophe on all levels, humanitarian, political and economic, resulting in the death of more than 100,000 Syrians and the vast destruction of the infrastructure, hospitals, schools leaving nearly 50% of the Syrian people under poverty line, and a similar rate of unemployment, causing severe cracks in the social structure and an armed conflict that has led to the displacement of more than six million Syrians. After all of this, a new threat is now facing Syria with increasing calls for military action against Syria after the use of chemical weapon. We may know when such attack may start but we will never know when and how it may end. This will exacerbate the ongoing catastrophe that the peace seeking Syrians are living. The concerns and priorities of these Syrians are hardly expressed or heard. Their desires are neglected by many sides.
Accordingly, out of our commitment to uphold the priorities of the Syrian society and as a Syrian non -governmental organization active in Syria, it is our duty to make the following points regarding the strike and its impact on the Syrian society:
1. The largest areas of concentrated population density are controlled by the regime, with large numbers of internally displaced. Many of these areas are near or within sites that could be targets by a military strike, which poses great danger to hundreds of thousands of civilians.
2. The strike will expand the areas of armed clashes, which increase the possibility of opening new fronts for fighting and increasing the suffering of civilians.
3. Extreme militants are playing a growing role in the fights and the management of the rebel held areas and it does not present any valid model for regional and international or even local interaction. There is a fear that the spread of war and absence of law and security would be exploited for committing acts of revenge, reprisals and mass murders from all parties
4. The military strike weakens the prospects for a democratic transition through the process of political settlement; according to a new study published by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, parts of which were discussed at the conference "towards resolving the strategic to the Syrian crisis: the role of civil society," According to this study the strike increases the likelihood of the “continuing armed conflict” and the “collapse of the state” scenario, and significantly reduces the chances of a “negotiated political solution” scenarios.
5. Medical and health services are at their lowest levels in all areas of Syria and most of the hospitals out of service due to ongoing military operations. This is in addition to the difficulty of access to the affected areas due to closed roads and insecurity. This all will be worsened with a military strike in parallel with the increased need for these basic services.
6. The logistic capabilities for all non-governmental organizations and civil society groups were depleted completely in dealing with merely fractions of the disastrous results of the current crisis, and therefore there will be next to zero capability on the ground to respond to any catastrophic consequences that will affect civilians after the strike.
7. The regime holds captive hundreds of thousands of Syrians civilians and detainees, and a lot of them are held in places that could be targets for military strike. There is a great fear for the fate of these detainees who will be at the risk of retaliation or being used as human shields by the regime or death in a military strike.
8. The use of non-conventional weapons could be committed by any party to the conflict in the chaos and the absence of the ability to determine responsibility during the war. This can even be done by a third party who has an interest in perpetuating the fighting. There is no logistical capacity in the Syrian territory now capable of responding to such catastrophe. There is also a complete absence of any neutral international party or even media that can play a monitoring role here.
9. The Syrians have exhausted most of their savings during the past two years, and they don't have the ability to carry the burden of new level of war that may last a long time, which threatens poverty, hunger, and massive exodus to neighboring countries, as well as economic collapse.
10. The Middle East has witnessed military interventions in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, this intervention brought devastation and destruction in addition to suffering and tragedies in the West.
Based on the above, the Madani organization asks decision makers involved in considering the military strike against Syria to take into account the common interest of all parties here in achieving peace and ending the ongoing war. They should push for negotiations leading to a peaceful political solution that aims primarily at ending the armed conflict in Syria and transforming it into a peaceful political conflict, and enables the Syrians to eliminate tyranny and opens the space for civil society organizations to play an active role in building a unified Syria, a civil and pluralistic state for all its people .
The armed conflict has considerably weakened the role of the Syrian civil society in the process of democratic transition and stifled its chances of growth to deal with the post-conflict era and to contribute to the process of political and economic development, increasing the challenge for the civil society that is already oppressed by the regime. Nevertheless, the Syrian civil society continues to play a very important role today in maintaining stability in many areas and in responding to the disastrous results of the crisis.
We also call for the support of all NGOs and civil society organizations in the world to pressure their governments to hear the voice of the Syrians in their refusal to use more force in their country and to engage it in wars that will not be in anyone’s interest.
Only the power of peace will enable peoples of different countries to build positive relationships with each other and ending the civilizational and cultural polarizations that is leading to tensions all over the world

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