khatibs dialogue waits for a positive response
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today
Egypt Today, egypt today
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today

Khatib's dialogue waits for a positive response

Egypt Today, egypt today

khatibs dialogue waits for a positive response

Oraib Al Rantawi

Being an honest man who was never corrupted by the game of politics, Syrian National Coalition [SNC] leader Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib decided to try and break the deadlock in the Syrian crisis with a dialogue initiative with the regime. This is a remarkable step which none of the Syrian opposition's former leaders dared to take. Khatib has warned about a plot that could see Syria "disappear." If that happens, there will be point in asking: “Who was responsible for this?” There will be no point talking about the “honour of the revolution” because the revolution will have disappeared as well, or maybe just turned upside down. Trying to avoid this, Khatib accepted the regime’s offer to open up dialogue talks. The SNC leader was brave enough to personally bear responsibility for this move, which some expect could leave him exposed to fierce attacks from the hornets’ nests in Doha and Istanbul. It should be noted that Khatib has suggested Cairo and Tunis as potential hosts for the meeting, and without ruling out Istanbul -- a major enemy of the Damascus regime -- because he knows the Turks enjoy a great influence over Syrian opposition groups. And yet he did not even mention Doha, presumably to satisfy the broad swathes of opposition forces who are extremely sceptical about Qatar’s role in the conflict. Khatib has said this move represents his own view and not the SNC, but it’s expected large parts of the body will support his initiative which -- conversely -- would be opposed and resisted by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. This isn’t a sudden turnaround. UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi already revealed Khatib had told him he was ready to hold talks under preconditions. Khatib is far from an admirer of Bashar al-Assad. Nor could he be counted as one of the regime’s allies [in Syria known as “floul” or “shabiha”].  The man has just taken a close look at the havoc gripping his country. So we can only really interpret this step as a reflection of his national responsibility, not affected by self-interest or the dictats of foreign donors in either the Gulf or the West. If I was in a position to give advice to the Syrian President, I would tell him to instantly open up to Khatib – and Haytham Manna, who launched a similar initiative in Geneva a few days ago. But an Assad response must reflect honesty in order to reach a viable solution, not just a tactic or showy move to play for time. Khatib represents the honest Syrian opposition, who see their countrymen dying every day in Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus as the country is plunged into death, starvation and mass exodus. Politicians are beginning to realise that nobody is actually willing to put an end to this conflict, except for the Syrians themselves. If the SNC is to succeed in pushing the Syrian opposition to sit -- as a united front – round the dialogue table, it will have to commit to a political solution which would ultimately oust the current regime at lesser cost and time. Those who thought that the Syrian regime was about to fall have got to get back to reality and put the people's misery first. And those who hoped that the current path of the Syrian revolution would lead to democracy and would guarantee human rights have to realise where this path is actually heading. A lot of illusions have been cleared recently, and many deceptive masks have fallen through too, unveiling the true intentions of some Arab, regional and international powers whose plans were intended to target Syria, not its ruling regime. The countries fighting al-Qaeda in northern Mali are the same ones that refuse to blacklist al-Qaeda in Syria. If one wants to find an explanation for such hypocrisy, take a whiff of the uranium reserves in Mali, the hydrocarbons in Syria. Those who claim sympathy with the Syrian people are the same people who close their borders to the Syrians. And the countries which claim to support resistance against the Israeli occupation are the same countries which have been working on weakening the resistance and making it competent to satisfy Washington and Tel Aviv. Both Khatib and Manna' will be targeted by some factions of the Syrian opposition. Some foreign powers will push their representatives to attack Khatib and his initiative. Nevertheless, the main threat here is Damascus. The regime, which has already scuppered countless chances to settle this crisis, is not expected to see beyond its own shadow. This kind of leadership would find it hard to respond positively to this initiative, let alone build on it. However, this pessimistic expectation shouldn’t belittle the initiative, as it will -- at least --expose the regime's unwillingness to solve the crisis, destroying any latent sympathy or support that Syrians might have for the regime. Taking all these obstacles into consideration, we cannot overlook the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a tendency in some of the Middle East’s capitals to push for dialogue and political solution after they are convinced that the crisis won’t solve itself otherwise. And I believe, Khatib wouldn’t launch this new initiative unless he saw that regional and international powers involved think it is worth their consideration. --- The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Arabstoday.  

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khatibs dialogue waits for a positive response khatibs dialogue waits for a positive response

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