Aug 01,2018 – JORDAN TIMES
Russian President Vladimir Putin is now touting the need to reconstruct Syria from the ravages of the eight-year armed conflict and rehabilitate it in the face of the millions of Syrian refugees in exile waiting impatiently to return to their country when normalcy returns to their homeland.
Not so fast, French President Emmanuel Macron retorted, and not before the introduction of real democracy to the country. Otherwise, France and other like-minded nations in the world say, the international community would be rewarding the Syrian regime for all the killings and destruction it has caused to its own people.
It makes sense that the rebuilding of Syria from scratch be linked to the establishment of a pluralistic democracy and respect for human rights in the country before pouring in aid and support. The release of detainees and prisoners, estimated to be in the many thousands, who have been unlawfully incarcerated by the regime in Damascus, could be a good start. Accounting for all the disappeared people could be second in order. Holding free and fair elections under the auspices of the UN is certainly sine qua non to any big investments in Syria.
Russia may have “finished” the military dimension of the Syrian conflict by intervening with all its might on the side of Damascus back in September 2015, but it has not established the proper foundation for the rule of law and real democracy in the country. Bypassing these elementary conditions is not warranted and no country would want to take part in the reconstruction of Syria in the absence of these basic developments.
The sooner that Russia and the Syrian government can agree to the establishment of effective democracy and human rights in the country, the sooner could the reconstruction of Syria from the ashes of the war begin. Besides, Moscow owes it to itself to be associated with the return of pluralistic and effective democracy in Syria, especially when it holds most of the cards on the fate of the country.
It is, after all, the image of the Russian Federation that is at stake. Hopefully, Russia would choose to be associated with democracy and human rights in Syria and not with tyranny and systematic violation of human rights.