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The democratic opposition group that Sherkoh Abbas and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser represent has been sidelined by the Obama administration, which has made its choice for Syria by supporting the Syrian National Council led by Burhan Ghalioun, who is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist government of Turkey. According to Abbas Obama administration officials are pushing the Kurdish groups to join to Syrian National Council. Only one group has complied thus far.
And how does Sherkoh Abbas see the revolution in Syria ending? “The Muslim Brotherhood, with the support of President Obama and Turkey, will not succeed in controlling all of Syria. The Alawis and Hezbollah backed by Iran, and Russia and China, will not give up power easily.” Sherkoh Abbas asserted that the Alawis have been working to establish an Alawi mini-state in the western region of coastal Syria for quite some long time. That area, he pointed out, is where the regime has stored most of its assets and where weapons from Russia are shipped.
Erdogan’s Turkey, Abbas maintains, will use the Free Syrian army, currently based in Turkish territory, to control the Kurdish region. The Christians in Syria, numbering more than 10% of the population, have been largely co-opted by the Assad regime, as well as the Druze religious community in southern Syria, who account for 2% of the population. The Muslim Brotherhood does not trust either of these groups because they have, for the most part, refrained from joining the revolution in opposition to the Assad regime.
The New York Times reported on March 8, 2012 that scores of (Syrian) Kurds have begun fleeing into Iraqi Kurdistan in an attempt to escape the Assad regime security forces, and the violence around them. The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, “that could potentially shift themomentum” against the Assad regime. According to the Times, “The Kurds have long complained of repression and discrimination by the Assad regime,” but have failed to unify and have declined to join the Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni dominated opposition. The concern of the Kurds and shared by Abbas, is that the post-Assad government led by the Muslim Brotherhood dominated opposition, “may not be better – and may perhaps be even worse.”
The conflict within Syria has had wider ramifications, involving two regional powers: Iran and Turkey. These two powers are currently clashing through their military proxies. Should Sunni (Muslim) Turkey actively intervene in Syria, Shiite (Muslim) Iran will enter the war openly on the side of the Assad regime and unleash the Kurdish PKK and the Alawis within Turkey against Erdogan’s Turkish government.
What should be the role of the United States in an emerging Syrian civil war? Sherkoh Abbas believes that the U.S. must “find a radical solution for the immediate removal of the Assad regime, and, if necessary, use force to do so.” He argues that a civil war in Syria would adversely impact the entire region. Sherkoh considers active U.S. involvement as essential in preventing “the creation of a hostile regime” in Syria. The U.S., he added, has a moral responsibility to insure freedom and democracy for all Syrians. The alternative, Abbas said, is the frightening prospect of “an Arab nationalist or Islamist regime that would lead to more violence and civil war.”
Sherkoh Abbas concluded by restating his conviction that for Syria, only a democratic federal system supported by the U.S. and the West, could bring peace and tranquility to its people and to its neighbors. A Syrian federal state will guarantee full representation and justice for all ethnic and religious groups in Syria. A federal state would also lead to economic prosperity and growth for all Syrians, and most of all would ensure individual freedom for all citizens. Moreover, since the Assad dictatorship requires an outside enemy (Israel) to stay in power, a Syrian democratic system will benefit Alawites, Christians, Druze and Kurds. It is for these reasons that eventually Kurds and others will join the revolution in full force to affect a regime change.
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