ARAB UPRISING: Neutral body can resolve Syrian crisis
THE continuous violence in Syria has brought about great suffering of its population. It is time that concrete efforts are taken to bring peace to the country, where a geopolitical game of influence has taken centre stage since the Arab Spring.
The Arab League and the West, on one hand, and Iran, on the other, are using whatever means at their disposal to influence events in the Middle East.
Toppling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which it regards as close to Iran and a principal foe of Israel, has been a major priority of the United States and the West, while Turkey is trying to build its own influence in the Middle East at the expense of Syria.
The fatal flaw in this whole issue of approaching peace resides in unbalanced proposals that do not take into consideration the complaints of the Syrian government that foreign military elements have been planted to cause instability in the country.
The Syrian regime is also equally guilty of causing the deaths of peaceful dissidents. The Arab League has basically lost credibility due to deliberate attempts to play down complaints of foreign sabotage while dictating terms and this has made it a dishonest peace broker.
It is vital that a neutral body of eminent persons be formed by the United Nations from countries that are not tarnished by geopolitical, imperialistic and ideological interests to play an active role in bringing peace to Syria by working out a balanced peace plan that accommodates the consensual interest of the Syrian people.
Countries like Brazil, South Africa and India could play a part in this process. There should be independent observers sent to Syria to investigate allegations of a foreign plot and also the deaths of dissidents.
There should be immediate negotiations to stop violence on both sides of the political divide.
Assad, who is the target of the revolt, should step down to neutralise the situation and a leader with peace credentials from the Baath party should begin a dialogue with the opposition and prepare the way for elections.
It is also important to note that the current revolt in the Middle East has its roots in economic hardship of the common people caused by a neo-liberal economic system that favours corporate interest, and financial speculation that has caused worldwide inflation of basic necessities -- not merely the lack of civil liberties which the Western media would like the world to believe.
High food prices and unemployment, combined with an authoritarian regime that has enriched itself and lost touch with the difficulties faced by common citizens, are the twin causes of this uprising which was also reflected in Tunisia and Egypt.
It is vital that peaceful solutions that take into consideration the sovereignty of the Syrian people take precedence over the geopolitical interests of the West and the dictates of imperial pawns like the Arab League and Iran.
Peace and justice go hand in hand with forgiveness and reconciliation taking hold. Mere change to democratic rule without addressing the underlying economic issues would not lead to any progress.