Just to make it perfectly clear what governments and regimes mean when they tout stability: their view is something fundamentally different from the stability that people long for in society as a whole and in their own lives. People envisage education, work and family, for example, but also the feeling of being able to live securely and in dignity now and in future generations. This is precisely the kind of stability that was – and is still – missing for most Syrians living under Assad's rule.
The cost of stability
Some may reject the distinction between these two types of stability or see it as an exaggeration. The best way to respond to them is to point out the catastrophic outcome of decades of "stability" under the Assad regime. The fundamental dysfunction and tension that prevailed affected all areas of life: society, law, the economy and even the national psyche.
The terrorism perpetrated by the Syrian intelligence service and the death squads associated with it made it possible to keep this situation under cover.
But after the Syrian Revolution succeeded in briefly upsetting the regime's supposed "stability" and shaking some of its cornerstones, we are now forced to witness how high the price is for restoring this status quo.
Counter-revolutions have in the meantime brought the Arab Spring to a standstill in many countries in the region, especially Syria.
The war continues
These are essentially targeted and concerted operations headed by people who will do anything it takes to defend the brand of stability that comes from maintaining a grip on power and continuing to wield control over the resources of the countries concerned.
To this end we have supported regimes whose people set out to overthrow them, in effect helping them to seize power again, as in Syria, and restore their own idea of "stability".
But that doesn't mean for one moment that the war is over. The very fact that the regime is still in existence means that the war cannot be over yet, because ever since its inception, this regime has been waging an uninterrupted war, not only against its own people, but also against even the most basic human rights and humane values, and against anyone who does not submit to it body and soul.
A ceasefire or the triumph of one side over the other does not mean the end of the war. Peace does not come about because the battle has been waged; it is achieved when the reasons for the war have been eliminated.
It was the Assad regime – a regime that continues to fight openly and covertly against its own people – that triggered this war. Thus, as long as the butcher and his cronies remain in power in Syria, any talk of peace is redundant.
© Qantara.de 2019
Translated from the German by Jennifer Taylor
Tarek Azizeh is a Syrian author and scientist. His research interests include modern Syrian history, secularism in the Arab world, and political Islam.