Ahmad Samir Altaqi, Director of the Orient Research Center, Dubai and member of the Syrian opposition met with Members of the German Bundestag, representatives from government agencies and selected think tanks in Berlin. Altaqi emphasized that a solution to the conflict in Syria was not in sight. Rivalling interests of international actors would hamper a united approach and an immediate end to the violence.
Before 2010, Samir Altaqi was an advisor to the Syrian government. Currently, he is analysing the situation in Syria from his exile in the United Arab Emirates.
“The Assad regime is running out of money”
Samir Altaqi vividly illustrated the financial predicament of the Assad regime: The government is already limited significantly in its ability to pay. This in turn, affects its capacity to act. Loyalty towards the regime decreases when state employees fail to receive their salary. The desperate economic situation of the Syrian government could thus be regarded as a potential tipping-point to end the fighting on the ground.
“Nobody outside of Syria is as important as the people on the ground.”
Germany is actively involved in the planning process of a potential post-conflict order in Syria. Hence, the question regarding the legitimate representation of the Syrian opposition is of elevated relevance for German actors. Altaqi underlined that any attempt to organize an interim order led by outside actors or expatriates is likely going to fail. None of these actors currently has any influence on the Syrian people on the ground. Syria is facing a bottom-up uprising, which is not led by a unified political elite, but is dominated by several local forces, with rivalling interests. Syria is on the verge of a major confessional war – this outcome has to be averted by all means.
“The longer the conflict is going on, the more radical Islamists will take control of the country.”
Altaqi strongly argued for a rapid end to the conflict – also by strengthening the Free Syrian Army. The persistent violence is eroding societal structures. The absence of state control is leaving a vacuum in the provision of public goods, which is increasingly being filled by radical forces such as Al-Qaida. This is not in the interest of the international community, as it is supporting the emergence of a failed state on Syrian territory, which constitutes a threat to peace and security in the entire region.
Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.