By Dr. Bassam Abu Abdullah
Let us first make it clear that Moscow has successfully managed to hold the Sochi Congress for Syrian National Dialogue, surmounting thereby all the disruptive efforts frantically made by the US to undermine it and not to let it take place. Till the last moment, the US was frantically trying to torpedo the Congress seeking every possible avenue not to let it be convened.
Such disruptive attempts, whethermade by the UN Special Peace Envoy Staffan de Mistura or the representatives of some armed groups and other Istanbul-based organizations coming from Turkey, have been skillfully surmounted by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which managed to undo all the mines and overcome all the traps placed in the way of the Congress. But, in spite of all these mines, the Congress got underway and managed to endorse its final communique and issue its relevant documents.
The Sochi manifesto is historical. And this document, whether friends or foes liked it or not, would be preserved as a part of the history in the making. The Sochi document was the right response to the silly group of five “non-paper”, about which a former UK Ambassador had to say: Get your hands off Syria and try to busy yourselves instead in drafting a modern, enlightened and advanced constitution for your partner, or better say, your Al Saud Kingdom Company, which needs a new internal statute to administer a peaceful transition of power from Al Saud to Al Salman. This is where your interventions and works are needed.
In Syria, there is nothing left for you, neither a place, nor fingers nor any imprints, I suppose, he reportedly said.
That is why we have seen this hysteric US reaction. First came the list of sanctions against Top Russian officials, then shortly afterwards came the statements by some tails such as the French Foreign Minister and finally came the yellow-faced fleas of the so-called “opposition” who have been fraught with anger and dismay. The very scene of such a large assembly of Syrians have filled them with awe.
They can not say that all of these personalities taking part in this large assembly of Syrians do not represent anyone. Such a large representation has deprived them of the very possibility to go on with their fallacious claims about “who represents” the Syrian people. With such a scene, how could they maintain their previous claims and who is going to believe that a bunch of proxies affiliated to the Saudi, British or American Foreign Offices might represent “the people”? Obviously, they realized the fallacy of their own nonsense.
In Sochi, we are witnessing a grand shift in the Syrian scene. The outdated Geneva dichotomy where the legitimate Syrian Arab Republic delegation would stand versus a delegation representing western intelligence services who had been able to disrupt, stall and constantly blackmail, is no longer valid.Sochi gathering has managed to change this outdated and inconvenient dichotomy once and for all. What is most significant about Sochi is that it has managed, for the first time in seven years, to present a new model and a new platform allowing for the largest possible representation of all shades of the Syrian people’s spectrum, as admitted by one of the opposition participants.
It has also opened wide gates for the peaceful, constructive political opposition, who truly have the will and the desire to build partnerships with fellow national Syrian forces to join hands in charting out the key features of future Syria. Sochi has also propelled a new dynamism that is so vigorous for de Mistura to overlook or to ignore. The scene in the Congress room was suffice to show that the future of Syria would be determined by the Syrian people. It also manifested two distinct orientations: A broad rally of the Syrian people cherishing the tendency to look for “common grounds” and to consequently build upon these common elements in order to come up with sensible, meaningful, realistic and fruitful solutions.
On the other hand, there was an odd orientation the followers of which have unmasked their faces and showed their colors. This latter tendency was epitomized by the non-paper “document” proposed by the group of five represented by the United States, Britain, France, and their associate Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The first orientation would move along the straightforward path towards the aspired for final solution step by step regardless of the hurdles placed in its way, while the second would continue to sleep-walk into its doomed pre, pre-Sochi illusions and would continue to indulge in its criminal and subversive projects. The majority of the Syrian people, together with the Syrian Arab Army and allies have chosen to live in post, post-Sochi. (or Beyond, beyond-Sochi).
To those willing to know what Post-, Post-Sochi means, we say: The political process for an eventual political solution is now on track, despite all the disruptive attempts that we have seen and would continue to see. Work on the battlefield would move on to crush terrorism on every step of the way. The political solution or the political vision should fortify and support the gains made by the Army on the ground. This is particularly significant as the participants of the Congress have laid emphasis on two key points:
First, Sochi made it clear that Syria is a democratic non-sectarian country. This language starkly contradicts and runs at a logger-head collision with what some sections of the opposition used to regurgitate for years now.
Second, Sochi document laid special emphasis on the need to preserve Syria’s unity and territorial integrity. This would totally shred into tatters all the separatist projects being promoted by the United States and its associates, as self-evidently exposed in the wretched non-paper of the group of five.
No doubt that there are so many points in the Sochi Final Statement that still require a lot of clarification and explanation. However, I think that the consensus nearing an almost unanimous approval of the statement would oblige de Mistura to show the card he tried to maneuver with for a long time now, namely the “12 principles”. For some time now, he tried to circumvent this card and tried to promote instead a paper of his own outside his mandate.
We add to this another significant issue, namely the constitution. Sochi Congress has clearly stated that what is being tabled is “constitutional reforms” of the already existing Constitution of the 2012. The Committee in charge would merely present ideas. These ideas would be studied and scrutinized in Damascus and in Damascus exclusively.
The outcome would be the output of Syrian constitutional institutions. This is something completely different from what de Mistura and his supporters were trying to do. They wanted to come up with a constitution made outside Syria by foreigners. And this is totally unacceptable. After Sochi, this attempt was fully doomed and is no longer tabled.
What I can say is that we have been ushered into a totally new era. Sochi has heralded a new era that would put in motion some substantive dynamisms to catalyze the political settlement process, which would steadily move on no matter of what obstacles, hurdles or disruptive attempts might be placed in its way. But none of their disruptive efforts would hinder the already-launched process. They frantically try to undo the substantive outcomes of the congress. They also try to its legitimacy and credibility in to question. And they try to cast doubts and skepticism about the true motives of our Russian friends.
But none of these efforts would stop the march forward. Such attempts have already started. Two days ago, someone calling himself “spokesman of the Saudi Negotiations Committee” went on some TV channels foaming and frothing. With a venomous countenance, he tried to say that Sochi was “not important at all and that nothing of its output was of any value”. Really? So, does he want us to believe that his “Negotiations Committee”, which derives its “legitimacy”, if any, of the US vassals, has any value or that its outputs have any credit, though they could not manage to rally other than 120 individuals for their Riyadh 2 conference? Similarly is the rhetoric churned out by the so-called “Coordination Committee”.
Anyway, these individuals are simply reciting the scripts given to them by the Saudis and the US. They do not realize that the time has overtaken them and that the battlefield is now somewhere else.
They are still sleep-walking in their illusions and do not realize that the list of the 120 countries that used to support them has now been shortlisted to mere three colonial countries and two small subordinates.
This shift in the landscape is largely due to the fact that many people began to see the truth. The false image they tried to promote for years through forgeries, deceit, forgery and sheer lies is now fully exposed. Together with their proxies and vassals, they lied and lied and lied until they themselves believed their own lies.
By all standards, Sochi has been a great success. It has demonstrated a real image of the Syrian people. This image has shocked them and filled them with panic, because it has exposed the falsified image they have been trying to promote for years now through a bunch of individuals who represent their bankrollers.
As for the Syrians now, they do not think about “Post-Sochi”. They think about the post, post-Sochi. They think about the foreseeable grand military and political victory. This the only goal ahead of us all and towards which we are marching step by step.
To be sure that we are marching towards the grand victory, in spite of the difficulties and hurdles, just look at the hysteria of the enemies and you would be certain of the forthcoming victory.
Translated from Arabic by Syrianfacts. The article was published in the Syrian “Al-Watan” newspaper on February 1, 2018.