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2017 might be Better! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English
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Opinion

2017 might be Better!

2017

This is the first day of the new year, and it will be like any other day of the previous years. Hundreds of thousands, and maybe millions of Syrians will spend their sad winter nights in the cold, with little to eat and few covers to keep them warm.

There are millions of others who are in living in temporary houses in Syria, or shelters all over the world in difficult situations and facing the unknown future.

The Syrians are in the same situation as the Libyans and people residing in areas of conflict in Yemen and Iraq.

Nonetheless, amid tears, destruction and continuous killing, there is a ray of hope with the new year. There is a possible solution in Syria and a plan for solving the crisis in Yemen. We are also hearing about a call for reconciliation in Libya and possibly the Mosul offensive will end with the liberation of the city and the elimination of ISIS after two years of fear, chaos and terrorism.

Ray of hope or deceiving mirage?

We don’t know. There are positive signs and hopeful promises, thus we only have to wait, wishing that 2017 will be better than the preceding deadly five years.

So, why do we hope for all those new wishes upon the new year?

Is it because the U.S. President Barack Obama is leaving the White House after he had been a support for Iran, Russia, and the Syrian regime? And because half of the Russian-Iranian success is in reality a big loss – and there are arrangements for a solution that might hint that the coming year is better than the last?

The will to end struggles is a common trait among news coming from Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq upon the new year. Maybe it is real since the fighting had drained all the troops and everyone realized that destruction, sabotage, and displacement do not achieve victories.

For four years in Syria, no day had passed by without the regime and its allies dropping barrel bombs and targeting civilians in a heinous campaign on the hope to evacuate areas. Even after all the ethnic cleansing campaigns, the regime couldn’t dominate demographically. The regime is still the minority and its forces has diminished, with many of its sect choosing to escape with the rest of the Syrians to Europe rather than staying and having their young boys forced into mobilization.

One of the fathers residing in New York told me that: “Many Alawites families are smuggling their children outside the country, not wanting them to die for the regime. There is nothing left worth being killed for.”

It’s the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi League of the Righteous who send their children to die for Assad’s regime, while the Iranian regime is flaunting fighting with a few of its own soldiers and using Lebanese, Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis.

While in Yemen, the war failed the ceasefire test and only stopped for few days. Yet, the peace plan suggested by the U.N. delegate remain the one thing that fighters can agree upon. There is great hope that everyone would resort to it with the new year and upcoming new U.S. administration.

Obama leaving at the end of his second term brings some sort of joy and a little worriment. Obama adopted a policy of doing nothing amid the concurrent multiple and dangerous crisis, thus it became an intercontinental crisis. Maybe the administration of the President-elect Donald Trump would adopt a more committed and determined policy against chaos. It might even put Iran back in the bottle – that Obama took it out of – creating all the heartbreaking tragedies we are witnessing today, including terrorism.

In any case, 2016 was a very tough year and hopefully the new year will bring joy that millions of orphans, homeless, and the distressed are looking forward to.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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