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ad-Dustour, Jordan

A Conversation at the American Ambassador’s House

By Maher Abu Teer

The world has mired the Syrians in an unsupported revolution and every party will pay the price.

Translated By Chris Marrs

2 February 2013

Edited by Natalie Clager

Jordan - ad-Dustour - Original Article (Arabic)

The Americans think the Syrian crisis will not end soon; reports that signaled a quick end to the conflict have proven inaccurate.

Thursday afternoon, sitting at the dinner table at the American Ambassador Stewart Jones’ home in Amman, I asked the ambassador why the Syrian regime had yet to collapse. This very same ambassador told me a year ago in his house that the Syrian regime would take no more than six months to fall. I argued that the Syrian regime would not fall that quickly.

Thus far the Syrian regime has shown that, despite all the bloodshed, it benefits from domestic and foreign speculation [about how long it can] remain in power. Many analysts believe that the situation could be prolonged especially given that Syria is no longer experiencing a popular revolution. Unlike the beginning, there are no demonstrations or marches. Now there is nothing but an exchange of military operations, which have fundamentally changed the Syrian political stage.

The Americans decided to donate a large sum of money to the Syrian refugees in Syria’s neighboring countries. Another payment will be made to Jordan to cover the costs of the Syrian refugees there. Though it is small, the payment will help lessen the burden on both Jordan and the Syrian refugees.

The American ambassador in Amman believes that the international community must be prepared to deal with the long term effects of the Syrian issue. I told the ambassador that the Syrian crisis, as it stands today, is less dangerous than the post-Assad era, which will see internal divisions, power struggles, civil war and reprisal killings. Further, the refugee crisis could continue to worsen after the regime falls.

This opinion was indirectly criticized by another person sitting at the table who considered it identical to the Russian position. Even if that analysis were correct, the issue is not the Russian position or Moscow’s voice being heard in Washington’s Amman embassy.

The Israeli strike on a Syrian research center upset a number of reports. A number of the Syrian regime’s enemies have cooled their enmity toward Syria following the Israeli strike, proof that al-Assad and his regime are targets of Israel. Clearly, dealing with the strike in an intelligent manner will be a key factor in the days to come.

The Americans are aware of the repercussions of Syrian refugees to Jordan, especially on the social and economic levels in several regions of the kingdom, specifically al-Mafraq and al-Zatari camps. They also know that there are Jordanian fears regarding the Syrian refugees reaching the millions, which would require international humanitarian assistance.

One of the views expressed at that meeting addressed the idea of granting the Syrian opposition the right to deliver and organize aid and be in contact with the Syrian refugees in surrounding countries, on the grounds that the opposition has been recognized and, therefore, has the right to communicate with its citizens in surrounding nations.

This, however, is not a realistic option as those nations would not allow refugee camps to be converted into political headquarters. Further, in addition to the current discord between the refugees as they support different wings of the opposition there is also a lack of unity within the opposition.

According to analysts, the most dangerous aspect of the Syrian crisis is its transformation from a popular revolution to a huge ongoing humanitarian crisis. Such a crisis will continue to grow, and the regime will stay in power while the opposition remains incapable of securing a decisive victory.

That means that the world has mired the Syrians in an unsupported revolution and every party will pay the price.



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