Kurds See Federalism As Best Solution for Syria

17/08/2012 RUDAW By ADIB ABDULMAJID – AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – As rifts between different factions of the Syrian opposition have deepened and no unified agenda has been declared, many Kurdish activists consider decentralized federal rule as the most appropriate solution for the future of minorities – including Kurds — in a post-Assad era. 

Shelal Keddo, a member of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), issued a statement saying that federalism is the most viable and convenient solution for the Syrian issue in general, and the Kurdish issue in particular. “Because Syrian society consists of a variety of ethnic and religious groups, I believe that a federal rule is the most suitable form for post-dictatorship Syria, and only federalism can guarantee the minorities of their future,” Keddo told Alkurdia News on Sunday.

He added, “There are some blocs in the opposition who share this opinion and are convinced of the principle of federalism for Syria’s future.”

“As it has been successfully achieved in many countries around the world, we should take the idea of federalism for Syria into consideration and study it seriously, and try to look into the possibilities of achieving it in order to prevent any potential civil war in the country after the collapse of the current tyrannical regime,” Keddo said.

He added that the insistence of the Syrian people on a consensual solution will support federal rule in Syria. “www.mesop.de And federalism could be considered a guarantee for the unity of Syrian land and preservation of the rights of each component of the Syrian community,” Keddo concluded.  Yilmaz Saeed, a member of Kurdish Youth Movement (Tevgera Ciwanên Kurd), told Rudaw that the Assad regime has constantly encouraged sectarianism over the decades of its rule in Syria, adding that the sensitive situation within Syrian society requires a radical solution.

“Decentralized federal rule in Syria should be supported by all components of Syrian society because it is the only way to avoid any potential dictatorial He added, “It is probable that liberals and Islamists will enter a bitter struggle in a post-Assad Syria, and if the majority takes power in the country there will be no guarantee of a democratic life for minorities in Syrian society.”“The Kurds have had enough marginalization and persecution,” Saeed said, adding that federalism should be at the top of the list in the Kurdish fight for rights in the new Syria.

According to Saeed, decentralized federal rule in Syria is possible if regional powers are willing to support it. “We might face difficulties in the beginning, but when our partners understand the goals behind federal rule in Syria, they will support it,” he said, suggesting an awareness campaign be launched across the country showing the successes of other nations. “The Kurdish people in Syria are known for their high level of education and knowledge, and have their own economic resources, including oil and agricultural resources, which could be helpful factors in establishing a successful federal Kurdish region in northern Syria,” Saeed told Rudaw.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Abdulbasit Sieda, described the Kurdish demand for a politically decentralized rule in Syria as “unrealistic.” “Syria’s Kurds are demanding political decentralization in the new Syria, but we consider this demand unrealistic, and they should show a higher degree of responsibility regarding this historical stage which needs serious cooperation between the different components of Syrian society in order to overthrow the Assad regime,” Sieda told the Kurdish television channel NRT.

Sieda revealed that administrative decentralization could be a “compatible formula” for the new Syria, and considers that a “sort of federalism.”

Comparing the SNC’s position concerning the Kurdish issue in Syria with that of the National Coordination Committee, Sieda said that the recently issued “National Compact” of the SNC is the most efficient and explicit document so far “because it emphasizes full recognition of Kurdish rights in Syria,” Sieda said. However, Saeed sees the Kurdish demand of political decentralization as “realistic,” and nearer to federalism than the administrative model Sieda describes.

“We have suffered the most, and like the rest of the nations in the world, Kurds have the right to be reassured of their future and obtain the right to self-determination,” Saeed said, adding that a federal Kurdish region is the most appropriate form to prevent any repression or persecution under the role of an Arabist party.   He added, “We have actively participated in the revolution, but we are still accused of not doing so fully, which means that the Arabs are constantly trying to marginalize the Kurds, and they are the side which should reassure the Kurds, not vice versa.”