Friends of Syria a problem? |
Arab News - 03 July, 2012
Author: Tariq Alhomayed
In Saturday's edition of Asharq Al-Awsat, Syrian dissident Fayez Sara wrote an op-ed entitled "Foreign interventions in Syria," in which he talked about those who are supporting the regime, and those who are supporting the Syrian revolution. The crux of his article was that it is the regime that has benefitted from these foreign interventions, not the revolution.
The aforementioned op-ed may prove to be highly provocative, especially the part where Sara said: “The stance of the international and regional bloc that supports the popular movement in Syria is weak, hesitant and incoherent. At times, this is dominated by the media, propaganda and inherent contradictions; this fails to provide any form of serious and tangible assistance [to the revolution].”
Sara was drawing a comparison between those who support the revolution and those who support the regime, and we find that Iran and Russia are actually supporting the Assad regime with weapons, funding and political stances, whilst those sympathetic with the Syrian revolution do not have particularly influential or concrete stances. The truth is that what Sara argued in his article is very important and warrants much debate. I am prompted to say this after seeing some of the recent episodes of the hugely significant televised political debates being hosted by American media figure Charlie Rose, such as the recent interview he conducted with current US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and former US Secretary of State James Baker. In this interview, it was surprising that Baker – a friend to many of the countries sympathetic to the Syrian revolution – said that the US should not get involved in arming the Syrian uprising and that it may be more useful to instead call for early elections in Syria.
Baker added that Assad should be allowed to participate in these elections, which should also take place under strict international monitoring in order to prevent any election fraud. Baker argued that should Assad win these elections then so be it.
Of course, this is an alarming oversimplification, what about the 14,000 people killed at the hands of Assad? What about international laws? It is also frightening that Secretary of State Clinton says that the problem of unifying the Syrian opposition still persists. I say this is frightening because we know how America – and its allies – united the Iraqi opposition against Saddam Hussein in London, and how France and others, including some Arab states, united the Libyan opposition against Gaddafi.
Hence, what Sara said is important and deserves reflection because it is clear that those sympathizing with the Syrian opposition, whether Arab or Westerners, have failed to even convince their closest allies and influential friends in America’s decision-making circles, for example, of the importance of al-Assad’s ouster.
This is something that would relieve the Syrian people’s suffering and ensuring that the region as a whole avoids an imminent threat. If this is not the case, how do we explain a politician of James Baker’s stature — a friend to the Gulf — believing that there should be no foreign intervention in Syria to support the revolutionaries, but instead calling for early elections, despite all the well-known lies of the Assad regime? Certainly there is something wrong here, and the blame lies with those who sympathize with the Syrian revolution, because there is something wrong in the way they are dealing with the tyrant of Damascus.
n The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.