Middle East&North Africa The eastern part of besieged Syrian city of Allepo

Published on December 1st, 2016 | by Lidija Bojčić


Syrian political solution

At the moment Mosul is not yet freed from the Islamic state, and announced a strike on Syria’s Raqqa has slowed, but despite this, it is clear that the Islamists will be defeated in Iraq and Syria. Then the most important question will shape the post-war state structures in Iraq and Syria. Who will be the carriers of the construction of the future in both the country and how will it make?

Two months ago, in October 2016, France and Spain have submitted a draft resolution on Syria to the completion of all military flights over Aleppo, but Russia vetoed it. Then Russia submitted its draft resolution for the withdrawal of militants from the Eastern Aleppo. The draft resolution was supported by the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. The proposal was rejected.

27 October 2016, New Zealand has proposed a draft resolution to stop all the fighting and the introduction of 48-hour truce for humanitarian aid to Aleppo, but was denied. It is debatable whether paragraph ceasefire, because Russia is considered that the continuation of the cease-fire does not make sense if the militants do not change their behavior.

The militants do not want to give up the fight for Aleppo, and they call it “Mother of all battles 2”. Not only were they rejected an honorable way out of Aleppo with weapons and with the guarantee of personal safety as proposed by UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, but they do not allow civilians to leave the city. These civilians are used for information warfare while the Syrian government forces bombarded positions in the city where the first frontline face. These civilians are held hostage and used as human shields for promotional Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (prior to Jabhat al-Nusra) and other militant groups.

18 October 2016 the offensive was launched to liberate the Iraqi Mosul from Islamic State. The militants will be expelled from Mosul, but how will this battle take at this point no one can determine.

The fighters of the Islamic State have won Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq in terms of population in 2014, among other things, because of the deep distrust between the Sunni population and Shia government in the country. In addition, the Islamic state still enjoys the support of many inhabitants of Mosul, primarily due to the specific “justice” because militants have replaced the incompetent and corrupt Iraqi government. It is a short leash on which IS true local population in order to achieve their goals.

Liberation Mosul has already been resolved, and the fall of the Eastern Aleppo is inevitable. US wants to be the next target Raqqa in Syria. But the question is who will perform this ground operation? US has no plans joint action with the Russian and Syrian forces in the operation.

Certainly, the United States, France and other members of the international coalition will be limited to air support. It is unclear on which legal basis will be carried out this combat operations without the approval of the Syrian government. The US has described in his official statement “an insult to the very comparison of Russian-Syrian operations for the Eastern Aleppo liberation with US operations in Mosul.” It was pointed out that Russia supports the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, while in Iraq the operation carried out “an international coalition of 66 countries” who enjoys “broad support and legitimacy in the international community.”

The US believes that only Kurds could carry out offensive on the Raqqa, because any coordination with the Syrian government forces out of the question, but Russia wants the Syrian government forces liberate Raqqa.

At the same time, the condition of the Kurds to help in the liberation of Raqqa is the automatic the region inclusion in the Democratic Federal System for Rojava and Northern Syria – a kind of Kurdish federation within Syria, it was declared in March 2016. But the big question is whether the Kurdish fighters capable of it. In reality, Kurdish fighters are not as strong as their protectors believe, they tend to guerrilla warfare, have a lack of military discipline and they are far from their homes, making them very demotivating. In addition, should take into account the anxiety attitude of the local Arab population towards these “liberators”. No other minority groups in northern Syria will welcome the Kurds arrival on their territory.

All the interference of foreign powers in the Syrian question is contrary to all UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, which stress the need for “political transition, led by and with the active Syrians  participation,” because of Syria to decide beyond its borders. By the way, none of the UN Security Council’s resolution does not allow any foreign interference in the Syrian conflict. On the contrary, the international community should play the role of mediator and election observers.

At this point, the Syrian government and the political opposition want to maintain complete Syrian territory within the borders of 2011. But, unknown to the future nature of the country’s state structure: that whether Syria should remain a single state or a federation? The Syrian government and the political opposition does not want a federation, but Kurds favor it.

In reality, the country is divided for several years, and the integrity of the Syrian state and the solution of the Kurdish issue at the same time are impossible. Kurds have already declared autonomy in north-eastern Al-Hasakah Governorate and a number of areas in Aleppo Province. In fact, so-called  Kurdish autonomous region (or Western Kurdistan, or Rojava as the Kurds prefer to call it) occupies the entire north of Syria. That’s not all, Kurdish leaders have already announced plans to incorporate Raqqa (after the liberation, of course) in the Kurdish autonomous region. The Syrian government and the opposition take the view that the post-war state structure of Syria should ensure the prohibition of forming parties on ethnic or “geographical” basis. It threatens the very existence of political parties that advocate for Kurdish rights in Syria.

The current Constitution of Syria was adopted in 2012 and prohibits the establishment of parties on tribal or regional basis (Art. 8). So, not government forces, not the opposition does not plan to leave the Kurdish parties to participate in the legal political struggle. Therefore, the fate of Syrian Kurds and the future of the state structure in Syria remains unclear from a legal perspective.

If the Security Council is unable to end hostilities and resolve post-conflict issues, the war in Syria will continue for a long time, if not forever.

Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012 and UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) continue to be the main document of the Security Council on the question of peace in Syria. Resolution 2254 (2015), adopted on 18 December 2015 highlights the need for a Transitional Governing Body (TGB), create a new Syrian constitution and the holding of free and fair elections within 18 months. Although the deadline has not expired yet, have not taken real steps to create a Transitional Governing Body. In 2016, elections for the People’s Council of Syria were held, but the results were not recognized by the world leaders.

In any case, the attempt to create a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) creates a series of questions now indecipherable. According to Resolution 2254, a Transitional Governing Body should be 1) a “full executive authority”; 2) “be formed on the basis of mutual consent”; and 3) “to ensure continuity of government institutions”.

Each of these provisions to open a series of legal and purely practical questions. First, if TGB enjoys full executive authority, will fully perform the functions of the government and the president, or the president  (current) and TGB coexist in this transitional period?

Obviously, there are three possible options, given the range of power that can be allocated to the TGB: 1) TGB perform the functions assigned by the Syrian Constitution the Council of Ministers; 2) TGB combines the functions of the President and the Council of Ministers assigned to them Constitution of Syria; 3) TGB performs functions in accordance with the powers set out in a separate document;

It is clear that the third option requires the adoption of a supraconstitutional document which stipulates the basic principles of the functioning of TGB and its powers. Again, who will be the holder of the power to create this document and under what conditions?

There is also a fourth option, which is not in accordance with Resolution 2254 (2015) the UN Security Council, but it has provided the Syrian opposition, which claims that the Syrian Parliament with regard to the system of its formation can not be trusted. Therefore, the opposition wants a Transitional Governing Body enjoys not only executive powers, but legislative.

Election of members of TGB is another issue that requires resolution. Who will start the election, and under no circumstances will it be held? Currently, for example, the internal Syrian opposition suggests the formation of a collegial body of 30 persons as follows that: a third by the current government; third of the opposition forces; and the rest are independent individuals who offer the UN Security Council. However, it is unlikely that the opposition will be able to select 10 people from their ranks who at the same time represent their interests, and they are willing to cooperate with the government.

If the Security Council is not in this way does not lead to the end of hostilities, and post-conflict issues are not resolved, the war in Syria will continue. In this context, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has offered the possibility of transferring “the Syrian dossier” to the International Criminal Court. This, of course, can contribute to the punishment, but not the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, plans to create a special body within the United Nations to resolve the Syrian conflict on the model of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). His attention primarily on the question of refugees is understandable, because he was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015. Therefore, Guterres visited Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Getting a mandate for these activities requires a grant permanent members of the UN Security Council, which is the only body authorized to take measures to restore international peace and security. From the perspective of international law, any intervention to circumvent the provisions of the United Nations Charter would be considered not only a violation of the sovereignty of Syria, but also an act of aggression.

Really inaction of the international community and independent uncoordinated actions of different countries that took place outside the framework of international law, will not lead to peace in the region but will dramatically worsen the humanitarian situation in Syria. In this release of Mosul could lead to another round of Sunni-Shiite conflict and new antagonisms among major regional countries.

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