Syria Rejects Proposed Russian Drafted Constitution
by Stephen Lendman
In February 2012, Syrian overwhelmingly approved a new Constitution - 89.4% in favor, 9% opposed, 1.2% of ballots invalidated - despite ongoing war, opposition boycotts, threats, and anti-Assad media campaigns.
Turnout was an impressive 57.4%, given the risks most Syrians took to vote. The Constitution includes 157 articles. Among other reforms, political pluralism was established for the first time, as well as presidential term limits and press freedom.
In March 2016, Assad said “(w)e in Syria assume that the term political transition means the transition from one constitution to another, and a constitution is what defines the form of the needed political composition in the next stage.”
“Thus, the transition period must be under the current constitution, and we will move on to the new constitution after the Syrian people vote for it.”
“(T)transitional structure or transitional format is a government formed by various Syrian political forces - opposition, independent, the current government and others.”
They alone will determine Syria’s future, free from outside interference, notably from Washington, NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other rogue Arab states.
On January 30, Syrian ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said his government is studying Moscow’s proposed constitution, “ready(ing) to hold consultations” on its text.
Sergey Lavrov said the document “attempts to bring together and find shared points in those approaches that were outlined to us both by representatives of the government and representatives of the opposition, including all those present here, over the past several years.”
At the same time, he added Russia intends imposing its draft on none of the parties involved in working for conflict resolution.
After studying the its provisions, Damascus rejected Article 40, calling for decentralized “people’s societies.” During peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan last week, Syria’s lead negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari said the notion of federalism would be decided “by all Syrians and not…unilaterally by a single component,” adding:
All ideas, “even one as crazy as federalism, must be put to a democratic vote. It is completely unacceptable for a group of people to create a statelet and call it federalism,” referring to Kurdish sought autonomy and various Islamic groups wanting the same thing.
Damascus wants its sovereignty and territorial integrity protected. Syrians alone will decide how their nation is to be governed, including any changes to its current Constitution.
They want to remain free, independent and secular, what they’ve been fighting for since March 2011.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.