First joint Forum UoS-SPU Universities Saulaimani

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Dr. Srbast Nabi

Keynote speeches

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Born 1968 in Qamishli, Syria. B.A. 1994, High Diploma 1996, M.A. 2001 & Ph.D. 2006 Philosophy Damascus University; Lecturer Tishreen & Damascus Univ. Banned 2007, forced to leave for KRI 2010. Teaching since then at several universities, recently at Koya in Erbil. Resaerch topic: The Concept of Civil Society in Modern Philosophy (Thesis). Published various studies and books about historical criticism, political Islam and the Syrian Revolution & Kurds.  


Summary Srbast Nabi: Kurds & the new Syrian constitution under negotiation

National rights
In my contribution I try to answer key questions on how national rights of the Kurds could be integrated into the new Syrian constitution under negotiation and construction. First, whether or not the Syrian Kurds can expect to keep their limited autonomous self-rule: While, it is not possible to answer this ques- tion conclusively, some parameters continue to be crucial: a) This can not be determinded before the battle of Idleb will be decided. The current situation continues to be tense and undeterminded. b) We have to wait and see how the positions of the United States and Europe will develope in general, and whether or not US forces will remain in the north and notheast of Syria  and will continue to support the Kurds militarily. c) Whether the dialogue between the Kurdish self-administration and the Syrian central government could succeed? The chances of such a success are perhaps very weak. Morover, even if we assume that the current form of Kurdish self-administration will continue as it is, it would still be an open question, whether that could be considered in the future as well a real Kurdish autonomy in its nature and identity. Or merely as a geographical form of administration in which the Kurds are only a part and have no majority decision. And even then, it would be not finally clear if this could be then seen as the ideal solution to national aspirations of the Syrian Kurds.

Federal structures

Secondly, whether the future Syrian constitution will contain federal structures or it will continue to be constructed as centralized autocracy: It may be difficult or impossible to imagine the return of a centralized authoritarian regime in Syria. In this case, it will continue to be the cause of deep internal conflicts and perhaps the return to civil war again. The international community is currently talking strongly about a decentralized system, but this does not necessarily mean federalism. The proposals that are made by the Group of Five G5 (the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan) for Syria and for the resolution of the conflict demands a decentralized regime and recognition of the de facto status in northeastern Syria.  But even if we assume that a federal system will prevail in the end, it would still not be clear, whether it would guarantee a solution to the Kurdish issue in form and status of a Kurdish federal region, similar to the Iraqi solution of a Kurdistan Region Government - Iraq. I have many doubts about it.

Future of Assad-Regime
Finally, the continuity of Assad’s regime is at the moment functional. No one has given until now any guaranties that Assad will continue in power and authority. This question will be finally decided above all by the Russians and their allies, whether the continuation of his rule would ensure the political legitimacy of the current government. But there are indications that even the Russians want to get rid of him and replace him with another ally at a later stage. The most important question now is not the continuity of Bashar Assad or not, but the remaining of the tyranny or not? The crucial top question is about the prospects of democratic transformation in Syria. Is that possible or not? I have deep doubts about the ability of Bashar al-Assad to control the total Syrian territory now and in the near future. Most probably there will be an international sharing of influence between two main regions, one under Bashar al-Assad’s authority with Russian and Iranian support. And another under the control of the Syrian Defence Forces SDF supported by the international coalition for not a short time.

Common international vision for Syria
At this moment, the primary concern and challenge is not finding a constitution to solve the impasse for a future stable Syria. Rather, the solution lies in finding a common international vision for a final solution for Syria. Right now, the different agendas to resolve the conflict which were presented at Geneva In Switzerland and Astana in Kasachstan, are only prolonging the Syrian crisis. The final outcome can’t be determinded.

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