Syrian Political Analyst Ammar Waqqaf to ST: Nobody Wants the Syrian Public to Feel Comfortable

The Syria Times e-newspaper conducted an interview with the SyrianPolitical analyst, Ammar Waqqaf living in the UK, the founder and director of GNOSOS, an organization that focuses on stakeholder opinion in Syria and Middle East.

 On how he currently views Syria and on whether there has been any shift in interest, he said that there hasn’t been a shift in interest although the Syrian issue has dropped from the agenda significantly. One reason for that is that the refugee crisis has eased a lot compared with three or four years ago. So, the Syrian issue is not the hot topic that it was a few years back.

The military operations and bloodshed have lessened as well .So there is not much news about the front as well. And also mainly because the ability of Europe to do something and change something has also reduced, and that also the Americans now are the one who are calling the shots basically.

 There is not much to influence the public opinion in Europe in order to justify certain moves by the governments over there. Also there is the reason of the intra-European issues and domestic issues, right-wing rise, the shifting politics and Brexit what it means is that all is taking center stage in Europeans is discussion rather the Syrian crisis.

 Concerning the last round of Astana talks' importance,Mr. Waqqaf stressed that this ongoing process would find a solution to the crisis in Syria. He said that Astana talk on Syria is a long process but it will be useful incrementally.

 Asked about his opinion on what should be a priority in Syria now; he said that the Syrian government has a lot on its plate, a lot to deal with, and a lot of challenges. On the domestic front, the situation has improved a lot.

 I can see this during my frequent visits to Syria. It has improved in terms of security and in terms of stability.

People have relaxed, so at least a lot of areas were brought back to government’s control. Still there are a lot of economic challenges. And there is a lot of pressure coming from the outside to keep the people disturbed.

Nobody wants the Syrian public to feel comfortable because they think this is the way where they could push them towards destabilizing the government.

The promises are the same, the west with several countries around it wish for continuous destabilization of the Syrian government. For these reasons, the Israelis and Americans want to make sure that solution in Palestine takes out Syria and its allies as a factor, and to impose something on Palestinians.

There are Gulf States and other Arab states that wish to have more influence in Syria. Everybody is colluding towards making the life of the Syrians the farthest from comfortable. There are also Syrian refugees outside, who are not encouraged, or more accurately who are discouraged for coming back; there are a lot of challenges.

 Concerning resemblance between Boris Jonson’s policy and Trump’s and on whether it could affect the Syrian file, Mr. Waqqaf affirmed the difference between Boris Jonson’s policy and Trump’s. The issue is that there is a whole shift in Europe towards right-wing policy, and Boris Jonson was elected in order to secure right-wing’s votes; subsequently the conservative party could win elections.

 Whether it’s the USA, France, the UK, Germany, or any other European country; the right-wing ideology endorse the belief that “This is our country” and immigrants are putting pressure and challenges on our countries; making our life less easy and taking our jobs.

 These mottos are gaining more and more supporters within the whole share of electorates, who are shifting towards pro-right parties.

Mr. Waqqaf claimed that the conservative party has elected Boris because they think he would appeal to this category of electorates.

However, we have not seen his policy yet. But compared to Trump, Boris is not extremely right, adding to that in the UK, the prime minister position is less influential in policy than in the United States. Moreover, now UK’s top priority is the Brexit issue. Therefore, it is not clear how that would affect the Syrian issue.

 Interviewed by Raghda Sawas

 Photoes Mahfouz Abou Hadier