"If they incline to peace, you also incline
to it, and put your trust in Allah."
-Surat-an-Nisaa (4), ayah 94
|Summary: The Future of Democracy in Syria|
Summary: The Future of Democracy in Syria
Speaker: Radwan Ziadeh
March 23, 2006
On Thursday, March 23, 2006, CSID hosted Mr. Radwan Ziadeh, the Director of the
Mr. Ziadeh reviewed the Syrian struggle for democracy, stating that the country was supposed to lead the Arab world in democratic reforms.
Syrian women attained the right to run for office and to vote in the election in 1949 and 1951, respectively. But
In 1998 when Bashar Assad acceded to power, hope for democracy and genuine reform were revived. The Muslim Brotherhood issued its famous declaration in 2001, accepting democracy and rejecting violence. In 2004 the Syrian Communist Party issued another declaration adopting democracy and changing its name to the People Democratic Party. In 2005, all Syrian political opposition groups united under the agenda of Damascus Declaration which included three main points:
But the question that remains now, Mr. Ziadeh said, is whether and how democracy can flourish given the current situation in the region and the impact it is having on the country. The monopoly on power by the Baath party continues to breed corruption. Regionally, the Iraqi model, which was supposed to help move the region toward democracy, is proving to be a failure and is frightening the masses and weakening the work of democrats.
Mr. Ziadeh addressed three scenarios for
Mr. Ziadeh added that today civil society is closely monitored and only a few women NGOs are licensed. None of the four local Human Rights NGOs are licensed but they are, as President Bashar said recently, tolerated. On the recent agreement between the former deputy President, Abdel Halim Khaddam and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Ziadeh highlighted the fact that most of the opposition groups were not included in the discussion and did not endorse the agreement. Furthermore, most of these powers question the credibility of Khaddam since he was part of the inner circle for 34 years and was the one that orchestrated Bashar's smooth succession to power.