Thursday, June 30, 2011

Syria: US-backed plan for reform leaves Bashar al-Assad in place

US state department encouraging discussion of draft document which circulated at opposition talks, sources say

Ian Black, Middle East editor, Thursday 30 June 2011


"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Syrian opposition sources have revealed that the US state department has been discreetly encouraging discussion of the unpublished draft document which circulated at an unprecedented opposition conference held on Monday in Damascus.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.....

Others warn Assad may be flirting with these ideas to buy time and improve his battered image. "This is a blueprint for reform in Syria that would leave the regime in place," warned one opposition figure. "It's the minimum to keep the west happy. The regime wants to co-opt the opposition and independent intellectuals to create an official opposition and sideline others and paint them as being in collusion with foreign enemies. How can I give legitimacy to Bashar al-Assad when there are a million people on the streets demanding he be removed?""

A roadmap for Syria (in English)
(9 pages)

"Syrian sources have revealed that the US state department is promoting a roadmap for political reforms that would transform Bashar al-Assad's regime – but leave him in place...."

A roadmap for Syria (in Arabic)

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