The last month has seen a flurry of key announcements by a number of Islamic groups in Syria. In Aleppo – thirteen major fighting factions including Jubhat an-Nusrah, Ahrar ash-Sham, and Liwaa at-Tawheed declared an Islamic alliance declaring their rejection of the Western-backed opposition. This declaration came amidst increased efforts by the United States and its allies to provide more logistical and military support to “Moderate” factions in Syria. A few days later, an even more grandiose declaration emerged from Damascus announcing the unity of 43 factions under the banner of the newly-formed ‘Jaysh al-Islam’ led by the previous commander of Liwaa al-Islam Muhammad Zahran Alloush. As the Syrian uprising past 30 months, this is a significant development as the West has invested significant time and capitol in developing a secular alternative. Despite this an alliance of Islamic groups has emerged reportedly on the basis of Islam. To be considered Islamic such an alliance needs to call the unification around Islam and Islam should be the only system that will be implemented after the fall of the regime. There are however, a number of key issues any Islamic alliance must possess to be considered Islamic, these include:
- An Islamic constitution – A constitution should be adopted that enshrines the relationship between state and society and defines the organs of state and how accountability can take place. The Islamic groups need to change the basis of Syria from a vague concept of Arab nationalism to Islam.
- As the basis of Islam is the Qur’an and Sunnah a new constitution that outlines the detailed Islamic position on the economy, social system, accountability and judiciary should be drawn up and made public so every citizen can understand the laws that will govern the state, the society and the individual. This will create a coherent society, create unity among the people and provide a framework through which people can work to achieve their personal, political or religious goals. This will also show people practically what Islam means.
- The constitution should clearly state the obligation of political parties and the establishment of the Majlis of the Ummah (the people’s house), which will have the power to impose certain restriction on the ruler. This mechanism will allow for accountability to take place in an institutionalised manner. This will allow for a close relationship between the ruler and ruled and create a society which cannot be penetrated from the outside as changes can be brought and discrepancies can be raised directly through this domestic institution.
- The constitution should also clearly outline the rights of all citizens in the state Muslim and non-Muslim. The Alawite and Christian minorities must understand clearly that the constitution of the state, with its Islamic foundation, will enshrine the rights of all of the people of Syria into law as demanded in Islamic Fiqh regardless of denomination.
The rebel groups will fundamentally determine what Syria will look like after the regime has fallen, in this light the following Islamic positions need to be taken by the Islamic alliance:
- Removing US interference will be central to the future of the Muslim world as well as Syria. This has to be a priority for the Islamic groups as the overthrow of the regime will otherwise be in vain. To achieve this US tools for this need to be eliminated. Since the US came to the Muslim lands it has used agent rulers, economic aid, investment for infrastructure and military sales as key tools in keeping influence in the region. Each of these will need to be deconstructed and removed.
- Former members of the al-Assad regime need to be put on trial for the crimes they have committed. Justice needs to be brought to the millions who suffered at their hands. These trials should be completely public, comprehensive and just. Similarly members of the Syrian National Council (SNC) should be not be permitted to return to the country as they are close to the West and their loyalty to a new Syria cannot be guaranteed.
- As a matter of policy no arbitrary limits should be placed on the requirement for appropriate weapons to deter attack. Islam in origin forbids the use of weapons that indiscriminately destroy. However, it allows Muslims to possess such weapons to be used reciprocally for the purpose of deterrence only. Appropriate weapons development programmes should seek to secure the state from foreign invasion.
- The Ummah’s best defence is reunifying the Muslim world. By uniting and expanding very quickly, any foreign aggressor will be dealing with a much larger area, with more resources, economic and military power opposing them. As Afghanistan and Iraq has shown, long supply lines weaken the front lines. It should also be borne in mind that the US makes use of a number of military bases that have been provided to them by rulers of Muslim countries, cutting such supply lines will severely hinder US capabilities.
The Islamic alliance should expand to encompass all the other groups, so there is just one opposition. This opposition will need to take over the country and bring the country’s heavy industry and weapons arsenal under its control. This will be essential in the case of military intervention by foreign powers and also for the wider Islamic aim of reunification with the wider Muslim world. The following should be specifically pursued to achieve this:
- The Al-Assad regime is now on its last legs and is entirely reliant on military loyalty. The entire command structure of the Syrian military should be encouraged to defect and join the opposition. There is no need for more sons and daughters of the brave Syrian people to suffer for the sake of the butcher Bashar. The military are a vital part of Syrian society and should defend their people, not destroy them. All possible measures should be undertaken by the Syrian opposition to facilitate the defections.
- The new leadership should then consolidate and secure the nation’s military and weapons; and secure its borders in order to deter those with designs on the nation.
The beginning of the end has started in Syria and Russia, Britain, France and the US are all attempting to arrange the end game in Syria with something that suits their interests. The West has been unable to create a new breed of loyalists who will serve their agenda and have been caught short as the Ummah took her destiny into her own hands. It is important in this context the Islamic alliance does not allow any dilution of Islam, if this can be achieved then by Allah’s will a new dawn for the Ummah of Syria as well as the wider will begin, ending the dark period the Ummah currently suffers from.