Obama, Putin United Behind Democratic Syria
President Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met during the G20 summit in Mexico Monday and called for an immediate end to the conflict in Syria. ”In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence,” the two leaders said in a statement, adding, “We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.” The statement came as Jeremy Herb reports that the Obama administration will face difficult choices in its appoach to the crisis. With defense hawks call for military action, which the administration would prefer to avoid in fear of sparking a larger conflict. “Our postion has not changed, said White House press secretary Jay Carney, “We believe there is still the possibility of the preferred outcome here, which is withdrawal by Assad’s forces, a ceasefire withdrawal, and a political process that is peaceful.”
The Strategic Research & Communication Centre released a policy research paper on June 6, entitled Electoral System in Future Syria, that aims to make recommendations for Syria’s potential future transitional period. The paper contends that the Syrian transitional government should collaborate with activist networks and civil society groups to formulate an electral system representative of the diversity of Syrian society. The paper’s policy recommendations include: a National Convention to draft a temporary election law and form a Central Elections Commission, a presidential system of government, and a Prime Minister as the head of government in charge of forming and dissolving the cabinet, who is nominated by the president but confirmed by Parliament.
The paper comes as Reuters reports that the city of Homs has come to represent the nature of the Syrian conflict. The city has effectively been divided in two, with still lively Alawite districts and rebellious districts, once belonging to Sunni Muslims, empty and crumbling from sustained bombardment. While most Alawites have backed the Assad regime, many feel they have had no choice, fearing violent retaliation. “The Sunnis have been oppressed,” said one Alawite man, “But Alawites will be the victims.”