Seminar by Syrian journalist Prof. Dr. Samir Al-Aita Chair of the Circle of Arab Economists
On October 4, 2021, ECFA hosted Prof. Dr. Samir Al-Aita, Chair of the Circle of Arab Economists and Professor of Political Economy at the Universities of Paris and Sorbonne, and a well-known Syrian journalist, to talk about developments in Syria and the opportunities to move the settlement process in it, more than a decade after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution and subsequent struggles. The seminar was opened by Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, ECFA Chairman, and was attended by a number of members, ambassadors and academics, concerned with Syrian affairs, including ambassadors Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, Mohamed Anis Salem, Rakha Hassan, Mohamed Badr El-Din Zayed, Farouk Mabrouk, Mohamed Mounir, Mohamed Mostafa Kamal, Dr. Laila Mousa, representative of the Syrian Democratic Council in Cairo, and Mr. Ali Nawaf Al-Assi, Vice President of the Future Syria Party.
Dr. Al-Aita pointed out that there are several problems with concepts within the Arab countries, such as the state, society, political economy, regime and authority, as well as centralization, decentralization and self-government, and how to implement each of them. In a related context, there are other problems and obstacles hindering the settlement of the Syrian crisis, including the military militias and foreign forces present inside Syrian territories, and the extent of their influence. This issue contributes to further obstructing the negotiation process to settle the Syrian crisis. This is at a time when the Security Council resolutions and the Geneva peace talks have become completely different from today’s Syrian reality, and in which the regime in Damascus does not show readiness to make any concessions.
On the other hand, the guest indicated that all spheres of influence in Syria have become highly dependent on international aid and remittances from expatriates, which in itself constitutes an obstacle to revitalizing the local economy and employment. The likely inevitable result of all this is that the Syrian situation will remain as it is for years to come; a country divided into different zones of influence with dire conditions. On the other hand, there is an urgent need now to strengthen the Syrian-Syrian dialogue, and to work on preparing for the post-Assad after the end of his fourth constitutional presidency term, if there is no additional constitutional amendment. The state of Syrian-Arab isolation must also be overcome, especially since the suspension of Syria’s membership in the Arab League has in fact harmed the Syrian people and not the existing regime. It is hoped that the Jordanian move will be a chance to enhance this role to resolve the crisis, and to restore Syria’s seat within the Arab League.