Russia’s draft constitution: End of Syria’s Baath era?


Al Jazeera reports: Last Tuesday, Lebanese daily newspaper, Al-Akhbar, reported that Russia had finished drafting a constitution for Syria that would remove many of the Syrian president’s powers and set up a more decentralised government, both possible concessions to rebel groups fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Al-Akhbar report, the new constitution, done with the blessing of the United States, would be put to referendum before the end of the year. This would put the countries on pace to meet their self-imposed deadline to draft a Syrian constitution by August 2016.

The Syrian presidency quickly dismissed the report, describing it as “untrue”.

“No draft constitution has been shown to the Syrian Arab Republic. Everything which has been said in the media about this subject is totally untrue,” a statement on the Syrian Presidency’s official Facebook page said.

Barely six weeks after their military intervention began, Russian officials put forth an eight-point plan called: “Approach to the Settlement of the Syrian Crisis” that provided the basic contours of Russia’s vision for ending the conflict.

This vision was rather narrow, however, as the first five points dealt specifically with the fight against the Islamic State group (ISIL, also known as ISIS), and the remaining three carried vague commitments to a political process carried out under international auspices.

For most observers, the plan represented little more than the fulfilment of the regime’s wish-list and carried with it no substantive political concessions. [Continue reading…]

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