Michel Kilo is the most prominent Syrian Christian writer and pro-democracy campaigner.
|Kilo and Lavrov & Syrian women committing to oust Assad|
He was released from prison in May 2009 after serving a three-year sentence and now lives in exile in Paris.
He was among seven opposition figures jailed in 2006 for signing the Damascus Spring Declaration.
The declaration, signed by 500 Lebanese and Syrians, called for normalizing Lebanese-Syrian relations, demarcating the Syrian-Lebanese border and an end to political killings in Lebanon blamed on Damascus.
Kilo, one of the key Syrian opposition figures invited to Moscow earlier this month for inconclusive talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, is renowned for expressing his opinions without verbal zigzagging.
That’s what he does in his think piece for today's edition of the Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat on what the Syrian opposition “should do now” as it strives to take control of Aleppo and Damascus. Kilo writes in part:
I have a three-pronged answer to what the opposition should do forthwith.
(1) Set us a transitional government of across-the-board national unity after consulting the Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCCS), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the opposition at home and abroad.
Most members of such a government should be drawn from the LCCS and FSA. Government seats should also be left open for regime members whose hands have not been stained with blood.
The task is very pressing.
Once formed, the government must issue a ministerial policy statement, the drafting of which should start at once. The statement would determine measures and policies liable to maintain the integrity of the Syrian state and society. It would ascribe confidence-building roles to what the West calls “minorities.” It would involve them in ceasefire, pacification and national reconciliation arrangements and in overseeing particular areas disjointed by the regime’s sectarian policies and the retaliatory policies of some opposition groups.
Under no circumstances should this be a proportional government. Futile disagreements over the alleged size of this or that group are anathema because the government would be in charge of the currently liberated areas, and of the whole country after the regime’s fall.
It would safeguard the border with Israel and prevent any regional player from taking advantage of the Syria crisis to sow dissent or abort an all-Syrian solution or obstruct Assad’s exit.
It would solicit Arab aid, with possible international input, so as to control the situation during the transition phase.
The government should include representatives from all components of Syrian society and adhere to a consensual national program embraced by all Syrian. The program essentially endorses the Syrian state and society’s integrity, citizenship, human and minority rights and the posited fundamentals of the transition phase.
(2) Put out a national manifesto, to be drafted and signed by all hues of the Syrian opposition, including the LCCS, the FSA, the Syrian National Council (SNC) and political parties, irrespective of their current nomenclatures. The manifesto would characterize the new-Syria that the signatories undertake to create. It would specify the procedural ways and phases to do so as well as the steps to be made in each phase. It would forswear recrimination, discrimination and exclusion and uphold tolerance in a free and cohesive Syrian state and society.
(3) It is imperative that Syrian army and security personnel take an unambiguous stand decoupling them from the regime and binding them with their people. The move would return them to their natural fold to share in procreating the Syrian state and society as a free and plural democracy respectful of human and civil rights and averse to religious, ethnic and social class discrimination. The Syrian people want the army and security forces to be on their side. They look forward to cooperating with nationalist and honest regime people whose hands are not stained with their blood… Reciprocity is hence required. A move from within the opposition should be matched by one from within the regime so the two sides can link up to end the country’s predicament.
The three steps should be worked on concomitantly straight away.