Dr. Leila Nicolas
It seems obvious that the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition will not lead to any solution to the intractable crisis. The opposition rejection of the regime's "political statement" missed a good opportunity to find a platform to reach common ground for a good start for negotiations. The statement tackles general principles that may be accepted by any Syrian citizen, except the phrase of " condemning Wahhabi doctrine" where the coalition could have asked for cancelling or paraphrasing.
Perhaps the inflexibility of both delegations in Montreux indicates - beyond any doubt -that the Syrian politicians did not get tired of killing and suffering yet , nor they are convinced that no military solution for the struggle. It is so sad to see the Syrian people- especially women in Refugee Camps - are subjected to physical threats, extortion, sexual exploitation, forced marriages, and to conditions that can be described as "human trafficking" in international law.
So, here I propose a step forward to start a solution:
Before going to Geneva II, the Syrian government , had achieved some local reconciliations and military agreements between the Syrian army and the "free Syrian army" groups like in Berzi and Moudamiah regions. If we take these military settlements in small areas as a model to other large geographical regions it may be an appropriate framework to start alleviating people's suffering.
My proposal consists of the following:
1- A joint body of Syrian army and "Syrian free army" to observe the application of the military settlements.
2- Both parties - the government and the opposition- pledge to fight Al Qaeda, isolate 'Jihadists' and expel them from Syrian territories.
2- Heavy weapons to be delivered to the Syrian Army.
3- Amnesties to be granted to Syrian national insurgents who renounce fighting.
4- Foreign fighters to surrender to the Syrian official authorities.
Such agreement allows both parties to claim victory in this round of negotiations, i.e. the Syrian regime declares his victory in imposing his agenda of fighting terrorism, and the "coalition" declares that this "joint military body" is a part of the transitional governing body, they are seeking for.
Politics is never a zero-sum game, a deal in Syria should take into consideration the military balance on the ground, and the interest of all effective parties. To reach a good deal, you have to give all the parties the ability to claim victory, otherwise, violence and suffering will continue and a fire ignited in Syrian lands may spread and burn the whole Middle East and Europe as well.