Talk:Reforms and Democracy in Syria

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I started this page because I didn't know where to link the Gowans article here at the wiki. We may not be able to do much new or valuable, but we might, and not every page has to be about bloody massacres and such. There are many things about thiese problems in Syria that deserve "a closer look." (Hint to readers who feel at all compelled to say something here, or anywhere - please register and do!) --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:39, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The New Constitution

Approved in February, 2012, this gretly opened the political process, allowing more parties than ever and more candidates, first elections held in May. In one provision, long-standing police state emergency laws, long an area of contention, were lifted. This placation, ironically, came as Syria slid into its worst emergency ever. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The Constitution Requires Bashar Assad to Leave Office!

The Constitution requires Bashar Assad to leave office; the question is when. I/we aim to get the best and clearest answer to when posted here in time, as it’s been a bit confused – IIRCS, the president is henceforth limited to two seven-year terms. Bashar has been there since 2000, and the next election is set for sometime in 2014 - his time would be up, you would think, and someone else will have to be chosen as the leader for the next seven years. But there’s some belief, perhaps well-founded, that Assad will be able to run yet again, will and will somehow win, and rule until 2021, or whenever. Rebels could not wait to evict the Alawite regime, and wanted as immediate a vacancy as possibly, preferrably after a Libya-style NATO bombing of the old order. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

May, 2012 Parliamentary Elections

Wikipedia's page seems a decent starting point for this: Syrian parliamentary election, 2012. Apparently, the voting was delayed, in all, for a bout year - that means the original plan to vote in a new type of parliament was offered about two months into the uprising. Almost 52% of eligible votes cast ballots, despite a serious rebel urge to boycott it.

The election was criticized. Washington called it "bordering on ludicrous," with the State Department explaining "it's not really possible to hold credible elections in a climate where basic human rights are being denied to the citizens and the government is continuing to carry out daily assaults... on its own citizens." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's spokesman also was dismissive: ""Only a comprehensive and inclusive political dialogue can lead to a genuine democratic future in Syria. These elections are not taking place within that framework... Moreover, a democratic process cannot be successful while violence is still ongoing." [1]

April, 2016 Parliamentary Elections

As Professor Tim Anderson [who is in Syria to observe the elections as indeed he was in 2014] said:
“Syrian democracy needs no outside approval. Repeated outside demands that ‘Assad must go’, or that a Washington-approved executive ‘transition government’ be formed, have become meaningless, since the military tide turned in the embattled country’s favour."
“The idea that there could be elections is not just provocative but totally unrealistic. It would be proof that there are no negotiations or discussions [in Geneva].”~ Francois Hollande

Valuable Articles

  • Stephen Gowans: "What the Syrian Constitution says about Assad and the Rebels"
The idea that the uprising against the Syrian government is inspired by a grassroots movement thirsting for a pluralist, democratic state is a fiction. The opposition’s chief elements are Islamists who seek to establish a Sunni-dominated Islamic state in place of a Syrian government they revile for being secular and dominated by Alawi “heretics.” “Al Qaeda-linked groups…dominate rebel ranks,” notes The Wall Street Journal. [1] “There is frustration with the West’s inability to help nurture a secular military or political opposition to replace Mr. Assad,” echoes The New York Times. [2] “Islamic forces seem to be ascendant within the opposition,” observes Gerald F. Seib. [3]
[Assad] took a step toward real, genuine democracy—a kind that decision-makers in Washington, with their myriad connections to the banking and corporate world—could hardly tolerate. He included a provision in the constitution requiring that at minimum half the members of the People’s Assembly are to be drawn from the ranks of peasants and workers.
Therein were the real reasons Washington, London and Paris rejected Assad’s concessions. It wasn’t that they weren’t genuine. It was that they were made to the wrong people: to Syrians, rather than Wall Street; to the Arabs, rather than Israel. And nor was it that his reforms weren’t democratic enough. It was that they were too democratic, too focussed on safeguarding and promoting the interests of Syrians, rather than making Syrians promote the interests of Wall Street, Washington and Tel Aviv. [2]
  • Jürgen Wagner: "Imperialer Neoliberalismus: Syrien und die Europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik" (engl: Imperial Neoliberalism: Syria and the European Neighbourhood Policy) - late 2012 German language study takes a look at how Assad was lured by EU promises of integration into adopting their neoliberal "reforms"/austerity measures which helped cause the impoverishment of significant parts of the population over the years. When the offer arrived, many were angry and needy enough to take up arms for a small salary from Qatar thanks to those policies, the study says. (was meaning to read this for quite some time, will add summary on occasion --CE (talk) 10:31, 24 May 2013 (UTC))
Recent visitors to Assad report that he is "quite aware of the economic underpinnings of the crisis his country is facing. He attributed them to economic liberalization policies, which were forced upon him following the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri." Interestingly, the article also states that Assad was very recently offered a $21 billion World Bank loan for "reconstruction", which he refused (like he of course must if he is serious about independence). But there are already deals with Chinese companies. Other interesting stuff in the article (Petri, they arrived by plane from Amman to Damascus) --CE (talk) 16:49, 10 June 2013 (UTC)


  1. Syria holds election 'bordering on ludicrous' By Middle East correspondent Anne Barker, wires, ABC News (Australia), Updated Tue May 8, 2012 9:18pm AEST
  2. What the Syrian Constitution says about Assad and the Rebels By Stephen Gowans, May 21, 2013