In Syria, There Is Only One Mind and One Position |
Al Hayat - 14 June, 2012
Author: Jihad Al Khazen
I returned to my office in London from a quick three-day visit to Beirut, and found on my desk clippings gathered for me by the Archive Department from the usual sources I rely on, including British and American think-tanks and the media.
The news about Syria dwarfed all the news about the rest of the world combined. The overwhelming majority of the news was very negative, and the rare exception was when a certain commentator expressed his objection to military intervention, for example. I don’t know how the regime in Damascus can survive having antagonized everyone except Iran, which is at any rate in the same position as this regime given the boycott, embargo and sanctions in place against them both.
Does the regime read what is being written about it? Does it listen? What does it think of?
I had left Beirut amid news of the massacre of the children (and adults) of Houla, and I had barely returned to Beirut when the world media started talking about a similar massacre in Qubeir [Ar. small grave]. A small grave? What an awful name, as Qubeir has become a gigantic grave with dozens of victims, and we may yet still hear about a new massacre tomorrow.
The New York Times, in an editorial on the Qubeir massacre, chose the title “Assad, the Butcher”, and launched a scathing attack against the Syrian President and his regime, inciting the United States and the countries of the world against it, and lambasting Russia and China for enabling “Mr. Assad’s savagery” (the last three words in the editorial).
I do not recall that a head of state ever came under such an all-out attack in an editorial run by the newspaper that styles itself “the best in the world”, and which definitely holds tremendous sway over the U.S. administration.
At the same time, Marco Rubio, a neoconservative Senator, wrote in the Likudnik Wall Street Journal an editorial entitled “Assad's Fall Is In America's Interests”, inciting like the neocons, the Israeli lobby and the American Likudniks did before him, against the Assad regime, and attacking Iran and Hezbollah along with it.
In short, Rubio, who has put his name in the hat as Mitt Romney’s Vice President, wants an American-Turkish-Arab alliance and buffer zones in tandem with arming the opposition, and also called for the former U.S. Ambassador to Damascus Robert Ford to be appointed as an Ambassador to the Syrian opposition. Of course with all of this he wants additional sanctions that would completely paralyze the regime.
The Washington Post did not miss the bandwagon either. Its Likudnik commentator Jackson Diehl wrote a piece entitled “Obama’s Iran and Syria muddle”, which reflected Benjamin Netanyahu’s ideas regarding the toppling of Bashar al-Assad and a military strike against Iran. He refuted the claim by the senior officials in the administration that they are focusing on Iran, and therefore Syria to them comes second, and believes that the focus should instead be on both Syria and Iran, for Israeli reasons. The same newspaper also considered the UN’s mission in Syria to be a disaster, and accused the international body of failure and helplessness.
As I represent only myself, I call once again for an end to the killing, while being aware that both local and foreign terrorism are present in Syria. That said, the terrible massacres such in Houla and Qubeir were perpetrated by the regime’s armed thugs, and the regime bears full responsibility for them. In truth, it is for this reason that I took the massacres to be a point of no-return in the relationship between the regime and its Arab surrounding and the rest of the world.
I write with a thousand stories on Syria having gathered before me in the course of three or four days, including criticisms in the American media of the Obama’s administration’s failure, even when the latter is one of 60 governments that have called for tougher sanctions.
I read warnings that the Syrian crisis has become a regional one, with live testimonials by the international observers and the journalists accompanying them of the daily killing, and the aftermath of the massacres, with talk about places that are completely isolated and savage massacres that the media has not picked up.
This situation cannot continue. The Syrian regime will pay the price in the end, and I say while appreciating that the regime has the strength and support to continue for a long time, to continue the killing, that is.
The military-based approach began in March of last year, and has failed month after month. In London, where I am writing, the British press said a few days ago that the government of David Cameron changed its mind five times in the course of a single week. But in Syria, meanwhile, there is but one mind and one position, which is the killing that has been ongoing for 15 months, and there seems to be no change in sight.