Rebuilding a nation in the midst or after a civil war, terror and largescale destruction of physical infrastructure and housing is not an easy thing. But it´s doable, it isn´t mission impossible.

Before the project is attempted, any lessons in the history book? A number of them, ofcourse, though one of them is of particular interest in this context, the 30 years war in what is now Germany.

Quite a large percentage of the populations perished, to some extent in warfare but mostly in pests and famines. There was no outright victor, some countries, like Sweden, made territorial gains but from the present Syrian perspective the most interesting feature of the ensuing peace treaty at Westphalia was that it allowed for a degree of religious freedom, each souvereign had the right to decide whether his country should be catholic or protestant, it was up to the prince, the subjects had to follow or emigrate. This rather crude variant of religious freedom seems preposterous in the modern world but was actually quite a leap forward in the 17th century.

However, for the German populations, this war was probably a larger catstrophy than both the first and the second world war .

Still against this terrible backdrop the warring parties succeeded in negotiating a peace treaty. If a peace treaty could be negotiated after this devastating war 370 years ago, why should it not be possible to negotiate a peacetreaty in Syria today in the year of 2015?

Though given the trackrecord concerning religious animosities in the Middle East region there has to be very robust guaranties for religious freedom in a peacetreaty for Syria. A peacedeal should contain the following.

All waring parties should be invited to a peaceconference at a suitable location.

A waring party that chooses not to participate in a peacetreaty and who does not comply with the decisions of the treaty could/should be forced into compliance by military means.

  1. A constitution should be agreed upon and adopted. This constitution should be guaranteed by outside powers and should, in its´ main components, be non amendable, meaning foremost that it should not be possible at a later stage to abolish its’ main tenents including religious freedom and the multiparty parliamentary system or to introduce religious discrimination through means of parliamentary majority or otherwise.
  2. Provisions should be made for the nonpartisan administration, possibly by the United Nations, possibly by some other entity, of the country for a considerable period of time, probably at least five years.
  3. Provisions should be made for a multiparty system, when the period of outside administration has elapsed, elections, including a fixed date for the first parliamentary elections,  state and communal governing bodies, human rights and a legal system based on the rule of law.
  4. Provisions should be made for putting in place a large scale system of basic income for all adult individuals living in the Syria. The basic incomes should be payed directly to each registered person by the international community through some apropriate mechanisms thereby leapfrogging domstic corruption.
  5. Provisions should be made for  large scale reconstruction of infrastructure and housing and for the financing of such projects by the international community.
  6. Persons who have comitted war crimes should be granted amnesty provided that they do not participate in warfare or terror after the coming into force of the treaty.
  7. Provisions should be made for the setting up of truth committees that will give some transparancy to war crimes committed during the conflict. Such truth committees should faciliate the healing of the wounds of war.

Copyright of Mats Jacobsson

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