The prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Barham Salih, called upon the Syrian regime to learn from the story of Saddam Hussein and to immediately cease violence against civilians embark on serious reform.
“There was no regime as tyrannical as that of Saddam Hussein,” the London-based Asharq al-Awsat quoted Salih as saying at the World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World, which was held in Jordan.
Salih explained that Saddam used chemical weapons against his people, tortured those who opposed him, and embarked on genocide campaigns in order to subjugate the Iraqis. Yet, Salih said, he failed.
“If Saddam’s Hussein’s regime had all this power and was still toppled, what will be the fate of other tyrannical regimes that are much weaker?”
Salih argued that the time of one ruler and one party is gone forever and that it has become impossible to force it on people.
“A multiparty system based on respecting the will of the people is what works now. Reading history proves this,” he said.
The prime minister added that the semi-autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan has more than once expressed its concern about the escalation of violence in Syria.
“Our stance has been clear: no good will ever come out of violence and everything that is happening in the region proves that violence can never stop the people from demanding their freedom.”
Salih said that serious reforms are the only way out for Syria and said that this is possible only through establishing dialogue with all levels of the country’s society.
“Otherwise, Syria will suffer greatly, as well as the rest of the region.”
Salih said that Syria is an important country in the region, whether in the Arab-Israeli conflict or for the role it plays in maintaining the security of Iraq.
“That is why it is time for Syria to do away with the totalitarian regime and the suppression of freedom of expression. This is over.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)