Thus the nation evolving from what is currently Syria would indeed include the entire existing nation of Syria within its borders. Not to be divided. It would also be true that the nation evolving from what is now Syria would be a federal state, with broad local autonomy. And indeed the third also involves a carefully drafted and agreed upon parliament and constitutional framework.
But this could also be said, word for word, for Iraq. Or Lebanon. Indeed it is much of what the Palestinians have been demanding for their future nation, in principle with regards to Israel.
What is missing in this thinking is that what really makes sense, in the long term and for the entire region is if your statement is not just about Syria. But it is about a single nation that is the combination of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. The Nation of Syriaq if you will.
All remain within their current borders. It would just be a single all inclusive border. All would be part of a federal state with broad local autonomy. All would concern the shape of the future parliament and constitutional framework. And again so forth.
Just as Iraq is sliding ever so closely to a three part Shia/Sunni/Kurdish state so too would a Nation of Syriaq become a Federal Nation of Shia/Alawite, Sunni, Kurds. Druze, Christians and even remarkably perhaps a great number of Jews.
As all the nations of the region are falling apart the ironic answer may be that what they really need instead is all join together.
What the US could do is create a scenario of a central core for such a nation in a compromise capital of Amman. For decades now Amman has been the go to place for diaspora refugees from virtually every surrounding and inclusive nation mentioned. The only group who have not shown up in numbers are perhaps the Kurds.
What the US needs to be able to do is show what a unified Syriaq would entail. To the Shia, the Sunni, the Kurds, the Arab League, the Russians, Iran, the EU, the Israelis.
What the US also needs to do is allow that the Syrian Army, to a very great extent, would remain intact and become the core of a Syriaq Army. What the US also needs to do is let Russia take the wheel on making it work from ground. Alone and with the people within Syriaq.
What the US could do however is convince all parties, including the Jordanians, that a nation of Syriaq has its best chance of succeeding as a Hashemite Kingdom. And with Amman as the central axis of a much larger Federal State, first of all as the capital of a nation of 70 million, Amman and surrounding region would no longer be a city without a major industry. Being the capital would provide a stable economic base for the entire region. It would also mean hundreds of thousands of refugees could go home. And this time for good. This is a concept the people of Jordan have not had since the nation was created.
The second part of the axis is that it is between all the other nations and the Palestinians. While Palestinians may not have considered merging with Jordan one on one in the past to any great degree, being part of a much larger Syriaq would be a tempting proposition. Both for the Palestinians in Palestine and those elsewhere in Syriaq.
It is no accident that the Iraqi national anthem is a Palestinian song. It is no accident that before the troubles in Syria, Syrian children used to stand in class and recite "we are all Palestinians."
As members of the Nation of Syriaq, the negotiating stance between Syriaq and Israel might have a much more peace oriented nature and foundation. The people of Syriaq would need to turn inward to both create and rebuild a new nation.
Before the end of World War I this was pretty much the hope of millions of Arabs in the Levant anyway. A single united country. It would be a century late but better late than never.
A single nation with Basra, Baghdad, Damascus, Erbil, Aleppo, Beirut, Al Quds, and Amman. That is a nation that has a promise to do great things.
And again. the people of Syria would remain united within the same border, as would the people of Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and perhaps the Palestinians.
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/how-america-should-engage-with-syria-by-christopher-r--hill#i85Kr4rWsSHg4Btx.99