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The Guardian today has a report that the US seems to be supporting a plan where Bashar al-Assad remains in control of Syria and oversees a series of reforms which would turn Syria into a civil democracy.

The US is promoting a "roadmap" for political reforms in Syria which would transform the regime of Bashar al-Assad but leave him in place for now – despite demands for his overthrow during the country's bloody three-month uprising.

Syrian opposition sources have revealed that the US state department has been discreetly encouraging discussion of the unpublished draft document which circulated at an unprecedented opposition conference held on Monday in Damascus. The US ambassador is urging dialogue with the regime, the sources say.

Assad would oversee what the roadmap calls "a secure and peaceful transition to civil democracy". It calls for tighter control over the security forces, the disbanding of "Shabiha" gangs accused of atrocities, the legal right to peaceful demonstrations, extensive media freedoms, and the appointment of a transitional assembly.

- * -

The Guardian article is here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

The text of the ‘roadmap for political reforms’ is here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

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As I live only a few hundred miles from Syria, I seriously do want change to happen there as peacefully as possible.

Is this the way that change will or could happen in Syria?

Right now I really don’t know.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:22:00 PM PDT

  •  What the US (and Israeli) govts. don't want (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    in Syria is a Shi'ite theocracy.  They wouldn't be backing Bashir if this wasn't a possible outcome, notwithstanding all this spring's blood under the bridge.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:27:53 PM PDT

    •  Actually, (8+ / 0-)

      It's not a "Shi'ite" theocracy that is the danger to the US government mind.  The Islamists are generally Sunni.  

      "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

      by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:32:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tell it to Hezbollah... (0+ / 0-)

        "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

        by Mogolori on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:34:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Umm.... (6+ / 0-)

          You know Hezbollah is Lebanese, not Syrian, right?

          "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

          by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:42:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yup. (0+ / 0-)

            When did it become the presumption around here that people have absolutely no idea what they're talking about?

            It's really annoying, and inhibits discussion.

            "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

            by Mogolori on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:47:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              angry marmot, Eiron

              You explained Syrian resistance in terms of Lebanese politics, so it was a reasonable question.  Why do you bring up Hezbollah?  The Syrian government supports them (though not the resistance), but why would that create the possibility that Syria could become a Shi'ite theocracy?

              "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

              by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:51:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If Assad falls and revanchist Ba'athists (0+ / 0-)

                wage violence on the resistance, a power vacuum will exist that will suck in Hezbollah, almost certainly with Iranian (and maybe Iraqi) help.

                "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

                by Mogolori on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:48:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nonsense (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  petral, capelza, greatdarkspot, Eiron

                  Hezbollah has no popular base inside Syria and no ability to conquer the country.  

                  "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

                  by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:53:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Assad has no popular base inside Syria... (0+ / 0-)

                    Just sycophants.

                    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

                    by Mogolori on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:10:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  heh (3+ / 0-)

                      Gotta admit thats a great point! :)

                      I think if al-Assad falls, which seems unlikely anytime soon frankly, the Sunni's will go after the Alawites with a vengeance.  Quite literally.  The Shi'ites, in turn, will either go after the Sunni or flee toward Lebanon, leaving Damascus either open or chaotic.  In the ensuing chaos and political vacuum, I can actually see where the possibility Mogolori brings up could happen.

                      I don't think it would happen though.  I'm suspicious myself of a military coup, much like the soft coup that took place in Egypt and forced out Mubarak.  The problem is the difference between Syria and Egypt.  In Egypt, the army was seen by the people as on their side, generally.  "The people and the Army, one hand!!"  Whereas in Syria, the army has been slaughtering the people on a regular basis.  For years.  It would be nothing short of a miracle if a military government of Syria turned out to be benign, and made the reforms necessary for democracy to take hold.

                      Terror has no religion.

                      by downsouth on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 06:18:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  I think the position of not wanting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mogolori, erush1345, downsouth

      a Shi'ite theocracy in Syria has a lot more supporters that just the US and Israel.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:33:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yup (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, capelza, Eiron, Joe Johnson

    The US doesn't want Assad to fall.  It's against "instability" everywhere in the Middle East, but particularly in Syria, which borders both Israel and Iraq, and where the Islamist resistance is relatively strong compared to any pro-western resistance.  It's very sad to see the US taking this side, but it is hardly unexpected.

    "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

    by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:31:17 PM PDT

    •  Syria also borders Lebanon and Turkey. (5+ / 0-)

      It might be Syria's bordering Turkey, a NATO country, which has a lot to do with the US's feelings towards instability in Syria.

      A large number of Syrian tanks and trops' being positioned just a few meters from the border in the past week or so seems to have set off a lot of bells.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:42:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Possibly, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, capelza

        but I doubt it.  US concerns about Turkey are limited in my view.  Turkey has a very powerful army that is used to crushing threats in the southeast region.  Of all Syria's borders, I would say the US is least concerned about the Turkish border (though obviously Turks would see things differently).

        "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

        by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:53:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right now the Turkish military is (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, weasel, capelza, greatdarkspot

          probably weaker than it has been for a long time.

          AKP has been working to 'get the army under control' for many years.

          The situation is so bad that there seems to be no general available now to take the place of the general who is currently in command of the Air Force when he retires.

          Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

          by InAntalya on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:59:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's gotten that bad?! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            InAntalya, capelza

            Wow.

            I knew that the AKP was tryingto starve the army while pushing the party-loyal interior defense forces, but I had no idea that it was that bad.

            I still think the Turkish army would do a number on the Syrians if it came to blows, though.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:19:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If hostilities were to break (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence, capelza, greatdarkspot

              out I am sure that the Turkish people would support the army and the army could deal with it with their support.

              But it wouldn't be as easy as many seem to think it would be because of the current condition of the military.

              Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

              by InAntalya on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:09:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            InAntalya

            but none the less, by regional standards Turkey is still extremely powerful, even with the problems you describe.

            "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

            by weasel on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:26:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting coupled with Kucinich's diary this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, capelza, Lawrence

    morning.  

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:39:08 PM PDT

  •  I'm reading that Turkey is getting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    ready to occupy part of Syria, where refugees are.  Is that being reported in Turkey?

    •  Turkey would establish a (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox, petral, capelza, Eiron

      buffer zone in Syria only if Syria agreed. And that's not likely.

      The talk in Turkey is about a buffer zone on the Turkish side of the border to deal with Syrians who cross into Turkey.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:06:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    I can't say strongly enough how much I disagree with the idea of leaving Bashar al-Assad in power, even briefly.  The man has too much blood on his hands at this point.  At one time, I actually believed he was a reformer.  No longer.

    I could support a plan such as the one presented by the US if they replaced al-Assad with someone well known internationally and respected at home.  One possibility would be Farouq al-Sharaa, former long time foreign minister and current Vice President.  I think the Syrian public might accept someone like al-Sharaa to oversee such a transition.  I don't think they will accept al-Assad remaining, though.

    Terror has no religion.

    by downsouth on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 06:05:58 PM PDT

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