Panel Discussions - Thursday, October 11, 2012
Bassma Kodmani on the Syrian Uprising
The way out of the Syrian quagmire is through a unified, representative political authority that is responsible for channeling support to armed opposition groups and providing services to the Syrian people, Dr. Bassma Kodmani, Syrian academic and former spokesperson for the Syrian National Council, told an IPI audience on October 11th.
Speaking at an event in IPI’s Arab Intellectuals Series, Dr. Kodmani offered insights into the current situation in Syria and made the following points in outlining how Syrian and international actors could bring the country out of its ravaged condition:
1. The Free Syrian Army, made up of opposition groups from all segments of society, has mostly found support from Islamist sources. Groups that identify with liberal ideals have not found anyone to turn to for armaments and financing.
2. To address this imbalance and unite the opposition, representatives from all sectors of Syrian society need to form an umbrella political authority that is entrusted with responsibility for channeling financial support and armaments as well as providing services to the Syrian people.
3. By working with local groups already providing a range of social and security services on the ground and ensuring the full participation of members of all political affiliations, such an authority would have the legitimacy required to lead both before and after the fall of the regime, until a transitional phase begins. It is particularly important to include those who have defected from the regime and members of the Ba’ath party.
4. International actors should announce their readiness to recognize such a political authority as soon as it is created, granting it legal recognition later. To ensure it can provide services and a centralized source of support—the main sources of its legitimacy—the international community must also ensure this umbrella body has the means to do so.
5. The international community needs to start preparing for the aftermath of the Syrian conflict. In this context, the UN–Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi can play a valuable role by exploring ways to reach an orderly transfer of power. And while an International Criminal Court indictment of Bashar al-Assad would not make the regime more or less likely to negotiate today, it will be needed for justice and reconciliation.
6. Any call for Kurdish separation from Syria could trigger a similar call from the Alawite community. An agreement that is Syrian, regional, and international in form should provide guarantees to the Kurdish community, with a view to opening the discussion again with an elected body at a later date.
Dr. Kodmani concluded by emphasizing the need for new creative thinking and instant action to avoid a “drift scenario” in Syria.
The event was moderated by Abdullah Alsaidi, IPI Senior Adviser.
The Global Observatory
For More Effective Sanctions, Time to Examine Question of Termination
The termination process is not often examined when creating sanctions, but it is key to their effectiveness.
Key Global Events to Watch in April
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
April 05, 2014
IPI Opens Middle East Regional Office
International Peace Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen inaugurated IPI’s new Middle East Regional Office with a recognition of the area’s critical importance to the world and the rapid political changes underway in the countries of the region, and he asserted that IPI has an “important role” to play there.
April 04, 2014
Malone: In Development, UN Is “Idea Incubator”
With the timeline for the Millennium Development Goals ticking down, the United Nations says its machinery is cranking at full speed to facilitate and produce the framework for a post-2015 development agenda before the General Assembly session in September. Whether that’s true or not, fortunately, the UN is an apt and important “idea incubator” for international development, contended Dr. David Malone, Rector of the United Nations University (UNU), on April 4th.
April 03, 2014
In Horn of Africa, Links Between Disaster, Conflict, and Displacement
What are the links between climate change, conflict, and the displacement of people? A panel of experts discussed this nexus and its implications in the Horn of Africa at the International Peace Institute on April 3rd in an event cosponsored by the Nansen Initiative.