Any Change Will Not Be Confined to Syria's Borders |
Al Hayat - 22 July, 2012
Author: Jihad Al Khazen
For decades, the Syrian regime has targeted its opponents. But it is not used to be the target itself, or for a bombing to succeed in taking out some of the most senior figures of the regime.
I dare say that the Syrian regime does not have the ability to respond in kind. There are no targets in the opposition that are of the seniority of Dawoud Rajha, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Turkmani, or Mohammed Shaar. And even if such targets did exist, the regime would not be able to eliminate them, because the opposition is divided, and its senior leaders will never be present under one roof, as the regime’s figures had been, at a room in the National Security Building.
After the massacres of Hula and Qubeir, I wrote in this column that the regime reached a point of no return with the opposition, and that their armed confrontation would end with a winner and a loser.
Today, I can confidently say that the regime will be ultimately defeated. For one thing, Iran will never be able to impose a regime on the Syrians that they do not want. And for another, the Russian-Chinese veto in the UN Security Council is ineffective on the ground in Syria.
I do not know when the regime will fall, and whether this will happen in a day or a month. I do not have a crystal ball, and no one has one that enables him to foresee the future. Although we all know that Prophet Muhammad was the last of the Prophets and Messengers if God, there seems to be a number of ‘prophets’ in the Arab press who make prophecies, only after the event. Some of those claimed to have had predicted the ouster of Hosni Mubarak down to the day, the hour and the tedious details, and others to have had predicted the fall of Muammar Gaddafi and how the rebels would torture him – with the stick and all.
I do not have such abilities. But I can express an opinion on the basis of recent developments, namely that the situation in Syria has gone out of control – and we don’t need the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to confirm this as it is a fact as obvious as the morning sun.
I am holding out for a better future for Syria compared to what the country has seen in the past half century, and this is no difficult thing. I also hope that an enlightened regime will come to power in Syria, and I do not care whether it is Islamist, secular or a combination of both.
Syria can one day become the Singapore of the Middle East, as I had once written here. But this was not my idea. Instead, I heard it being elaborated by my friend Nemir Kirdar, the head of Investcorp, and one of the most successful Arab businessmen. All that is needed to achieve this is an independent rule of law and no corruption.
My other friend, Algerian politician and intellectual Mohiuddin Amimur, was the only Arab official out of 20 to reply, in response to my question near the end of last year whether Bashar al-Assad would fall, to say no, when the others all said yes and only disagreed over when this would happen. Amimur said that I should ask him about this again when Damascus and Aleppo join the revolution, and it seems that they have done so now.
Naturally, any change in Syria will not be confined to its borders. Rather, it will affect Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the entire region.
Once again, I find that change can develop in a positive direction in Lebanon, where politics can move past the issue of non-state weapons. For instance, Hezbollah started as a national resistance movement against Israel, and many Lebanese rallied around it, but it has ended up as a political party with its base consisting of Shiites alone. So perhaps the closure of the Iranian supply-line though Syria will remold Hezbollah into a resistance movement with a broad popular base in Lebanon and beyond.
For its part, Iraq will come under pressure to curtail its cooperation, or say undeclared alliance, with Iran. Indeed, the Iranian regime, despite its religious character, has Persian nationalist inclinations that touch on impossible imperialist dreams, and may well suffer the same fate as the Syrian regime if it does not quickly wake up to the reality around it and stop fighting its neighbors and the whole world.
Meanwhile, the regime in Jordan would breathe a sigh of relief, as the influx of refugees would stop, and the permanent security threat across the border ends once and for all, while economic relations between the two countries that complement one another would resume.
The above reminded me of the economic alliance once launched by Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Syria and Egypt, before the Turkish prime minister saw his economic dreams turn into nightmares. In truth, reviving this alliance is possible with the new regime in Egypt, and a new regime in Syria.
What I can say today with confidence, without the need for a crystal ball, is that the relations of any upcoming Syrian regime will be better and stronger, and more beneficial for both sides, as regards the Gulf States and Egypt, but more tense with Israel – because steadfastness, resistance and defiance were instruments of an empty rhetoric.
In the meantime, all I want, personally, is an end to the bleeding of Syrian lives, which are more important to me than all regimes.