Syrian Opposition in Berlin – The Day After Project
Enlarge image At the opening in Berlin, Murhaf Jouejati, Afra Jalabi and Amr al-Azm of the group present their document. (© picture alliance / dpa) As the Syrian opposition struggles to overthrow a dictatorship, a band of approximately 45 Syrian dissidents released a detailed post-conflict plan that would lead to a stable, democratic new Syria. That group presented its paper, entitled “The Day After,” in Berlin on Tuesday, August 28.
Their platform has been six months in the making, hammered out in Berlin from January to June 2012. In that time, they privately convened on a monthly basis at talks hosted by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). In addition to the SWP, the US Institute of Peace (USIP) has facilitated the process. Individuals within the group live around the world – some are still in Syria, at least a few are in Washington, DC – but the hub of their meetings was Berlin.
At that hub they have considerable support. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle commented on the group's situation after their Berlin opening, saying that “it is clear that we must support and protect the refugees.”
For the 45, who come from various backgrounds, this document is not intended as a rigid plan, but rather as a “contribution” to the post-conflict aftermath. To help direct a post-Assad state, they have identified six issues, which serve as their guiding principles. In addition, the dissidents listed 11 definite goals during the transition process, among which are equality, developing a new national identity, shattering holdover authoritarian thinking with fresh democratic principles and settling only for a unified state.
“It is essential that the Syrian opposition gather together under a common cause for democracy, tolerance and plurality,” said Minister Westerwelle. “We support the creation of such a mutual platform as a credible alternative to the Assad regime.”
The Day After Project is well aware of the challenges facing a post-conflict society, which is precisely the reason they began planning a transition to that tomorrow before it had dawned. With this as a steppingstone to that dawn, and especially because of its clear steps and thorough approach, the members of the Day After look to make that quite a luminous day.