Mohanad Atassi | IT Manager United States
July 7th, 2007

Re: ‘If you had the choice what would you change in Syria?

From the early inception of the Baath party as a secular Pan-Arab nationalist political party until the time it came to power in 1963, the party ideology was based on monopolizing political power, which the party accomplished through engineering changes in the structure of Syrian society. After the Baath effectively seized power, the Syrian middle class were either crushed by newly imposed laws intended to suffocate them, (ultimately forcing them to move to a lower class), while others chose to flee the county seeking opportunities for an economic fresh start in friendlier business environments.

These newly created arrangements in the social and economic structure at the core of Syrian society manifested in the rise of a new political and power hungry ‚??elite‚?Ě political class, unwilling to share the power with other political and social forces within the specter of Syrian society. Specifically, the ascension of the Assad family to the helm has indeed transformed the country‚??s political system into a cult of “absolute power”, which has led the new ruling elites to put their own political, social, and economic self-interests above all else.

To loosen this outdated political structure without instigating any unnecessary damages, the Syrian regime should be considering some of the recommended steps below:

  1. Draft new multi-party laws and embrace Syrians‚?? democratic aspiration to the election of representatives, allowing opposition groups to form parties and participate in a program of transition to a democratic and free society. This will allow a peaceful reduced Baath party dominant role of the political system, and its imposed role as the leader of Syrian society.
  2. Facilitate a free and fair elections process, taking into account the open and transparent competition among election candidates and ensuring the highest ethical and moral standard of electoral conduct.
  3. Grant the freely-elected parliament most of the legislative power to effectively serve the interests of the citizens of Syria only.
  4. Amend the current constitution to explicitly set a limited term for the presidency.
  5. Remove any elements opposing the needs for institutional reform and draft laws to protect the civil and political rights of the diverse Syrian minorities and ensure they are fully represented in a national government.
  6. Abolish Decree #51 pertaining to a ‚??state of emergency” ‚?? its implementation has led to mistakes that even Dr. Assad himself has admitted.
  7. Establish an independent justice system to fight corruption and enforce transparency in public entities. Reinforce the independence of the judiciary system from the power of the executive branch and the security branches.
  8. Protect and govern a free media, which will operate in complete independence and allow all political parties access to the media to engage objectively in a free debate without abusing the system.
  9. Study and analyze the impact of economic reforms on Syrian society, with particular focus on the poor and vulnerable. Recommendations of experts should be shared with international organizations like the World Bank, which can act as a supporting factor in the reform plan by providing a monetary cushion in the events of any unanticipated financial crises due to the newly adapted reforms.
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7 Responses to the Article

Alex Says:


I like your 9 suggestions. But I see them as the end point of a process that will take some time… how long do you suggest these will take? … who will resist them? and how will you deal with that resistance without risking getting Syria into trouble one way or another?

Mohanad Atassi Says:

I agree, Fundamental changes to a deeply rooted and corrupted system requires a transition period of several years, but with a strong widespread internal support, we may see an accelerated progress.
Let‚??s be honest and under no illusion, the implication of reforming such a totalitarian system, with less free media, irrelevant parliaments and justices system to check the executive power, will be a difficult and challenging task for the reformers and citizens of Syria.

Hammam Yousef Says:

I Don’t see the 9 suggestions as results, anything less is going to strengthen the Dictators grip on power.

Globetrotter Says:

Although the suggestions advanced by Mohanad represent what I would hope for Syria, the danger from such profound change would drive the country to mayhem, similar to what is unfortunately happening to our neighbour to the East. If a regime change would be implemented at these times, I would foresee regional and international powers infiltrating Syria to gain influence in a country powerful, among other things, in its geopolitical position in the Middle East. If abrupt change is carried out now, destabalising the country, Syria would be prey to international imbrications. And that would be in my view a most detrimental situation.
Although I do agree that change from within, with the support of the Syrian people is what is needed for a strong Syria, I do think that this change at this time would be more dangerous than fruitful for our country.

issam atassi Says:

These are good ideas.
You might want to add the following:
Abolish law 49 that applies the death penalty to any member of the Syrian Muslim brotherhood.
Put on trial all peoples that were responsible for MASS murders in the 80 and return the wealth that was take from the Syrian people to its rightfull owners.
It will take at least two generation to reform the Syrian society. I think this reform will be faster if the educated society of Syria that left returns back and helps re-build Syria after years of corruption, negligence, and oppression.

Mohanad Atassi Says:

After an almost two years of a bloody conflict, many thousands of civilians death, watching country being ripped a part, conceding to the fact that Syria is in a mayhem state ‚Ķ.. what can WE DO NOW!!! Is it too late …..

Mohanad Atassi Says:

Ten years later a lost country, 500k+ lost their lives, millions of displaced Syrians and a solution still an illusion differ from reality on the ground

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