It’s not too early to consider the way forward for Syria after Bashar al-Assad. Conflicts in Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere illustrate that by the time the battle reaches the capital, the night is far spent.
A post-Assad peace and reconstruction framework would require a significant departure from business as usual within Syria. Examples in other countries show that a transition will be greatly aided if Syrians can do these four things:
As the South African transition in the early 1990s illustrated, bringing all parties to the table is essential. Both Iraq and the protracted peace process in Burundi – in the volatile Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa – underscored the perils of exclusion.
Syria is emerging from four decades of brutal minority rule. The society is fragmented into nearly four dozen ethnic groups and a plethora of competing political groups. Without meaningful participation from, say, Assad’s Baathists or the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah, in transitional and constitutional negotiations, building social and political unity will prove frustrating, if not impossible. Leaving these groups out could also provoke more violence.
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