20:16 GMT +326 May 2019
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    Syria's New Constitution Marks a Seminal Moment in the Country's History

    © AFP 2019 / STR
    Opinion
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    John Wight
    61315

    News that a draft Syrian constitution has been written and presented to country's main opposition leaders and groups in Kazakhstan, prior to it being subjected to a vote in a national referendum, marks a seminal moment in the country's recent tragic history.

    Ideally, of course, the draft constitution would have been the product of a Syrian constitutional convention held in the country itself, involving the participation of representatives of the country's various ethnic and religious minority communities at inception.

    However, between ideally and reality lies a brutal conflict that is still raging across the country, involving multiple armed groups and countries which remain dedicated to the objective of Syria's destruction as a multi-religious and multicultural and secular state and the overthrow of its secular government. Indeed, even in those parts of Syria that are now under government control, the damage and chaos wrought in the course of the fighting dictates that conditions do not permit the convocation of such a constitutional convention.

    Within this new draft constitution the following principles have been enshrined:

    • Syria's national identity as a non-sectarian pluralist state.
    • The inviolability of Syria's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
    • A commitment to building a democratic state underpinned by the rule of law with the consent of the Syrian people.
    • A commitment to ensuring a decent standard of living for all the country's citizens in accordance with the principles of justice.

    Who in their right mind could possibly disagree with the aforementioned tenets? And who in their right mind could do anything but applaud the decision to omit the word "Arab" from the country's official name in deference to its non-Arab minorities and citizens? If endorsed in the referendum it means that in future the country will be known not as the Syrian Arab Republic, but instead the Syrian Republic.

    Since the Second World War, no country, perhaps with the exception of Vietnam and Cambodia, has endured what Syria and its people have endured over these past 7 years.

    The country and society have been ripped apart by a conflict in which multiple nations have played a malign role — i.e. the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Turkey, and Jordan — with the objective of destroying the country's legitimate government and, with it, the country's non-sectarian character. 

    The resulting barbarity has been unparalleled, as has been the tenacity, courage, and determination of the Syrian Army, people, and allies on the ground in resisting what can only be described as the forces of hell. Regardless, the significance of Russia's intervention, beginning on 30 September 2015, cannot be overstated.

    At the point at which the Syrian government reached out to Russia for help, the country was inching ever closer towards the precipice of disaster. Its armed forces were overstretched, fighting on multiple fronts, while the border with Turkey was akin to a revolving door through which men, weapons, and materiel were pouring unimpeded.

    At the same time Western governments were engaged in a mendacious game of speaking the language of anti-terrorism while in practise, helping to facilitate it, committed more to the overthrow of one of the last surviving non-sectarian and secular governments in the region than defeating the armed butchers that were engaged in such wholesale atrocities that the very foundations of civilization and centuries of human progress were under assault.

    Now, fifteen months later, Syria's survival is assured, despite a concerted and full on campaign of disinformation and Goebbelsian propaganda peddled by those same western governments and a supine and compromise western media. It is a campaign that reached its nadir during the battle for Aleppo with the depiction of the Syrian Army and its allies as the modern day equivalent of the Waffen SS, an army of occupation slaughtering civilians, and the Nusra Front and its allies as latter day Partisans — in other words romantic freedom fighters rather than the sectarian gangsters they were and remain. 

    The new draft constitution provides at long last the Syrian people with hope that better days lie ahead. For the first time, diplomacy and negotiations have taken precedence over combat when it comes to resolving the conflict. This is not to suggest, of course, that the fighting is over. And, too, there remain issues and challenges ahead when it comes to the intentions of the Kurds and their supporters in Washington in relation to Syria's territorial integrity going forward.

    In this context, though the fact that many have pinned their hopes on Donald Trump and his presidency may be understandable, it would be folly at such an early stage in his administration to believe that the US now accepts the legitimacy of the Assad government.

    On the contrary, as things currently stand, the United States continues to violate Syria's national sovereignty with its military presence in the country, and not until the last US military aircraft and soldier departs, can the Syrian people be confident that regime change has been taken off Washington's table.

    That being said, there is no people anywhere on the earth less likely to succumb to the machinations of imperialism than the Syrian people. Not now. Not after having struggled so hard and sacrificed so much for their independence and dignity. As such, when this horrific conflict is written in future generations, it will record their struggle and hard fought victory as a turning point in human history.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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    draft constitution, future, Western meddling, conflict, war, constitution, Syrian crisis, The Syrian war, Daesh, Syrian Armed Forces, White House, Kremlin, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Sergei Lavrov, Syria, United States, Russia, West, Middle East
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