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>> Asharq Al-Awsat


SYRIA: AS AMERICA WANTS IT!

Asharq Al-Awsat - November 5, 2012

by Tariq Alhomayed

It is difficult to say there are any convincing explanations as to what America means by its call to circumvent the Syrian National Council (SNC). Likewise, we remain unclear about the vagueness of the Doha conference, the recent Jordanian moves, and especially matters relating to the dissident former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab. Of course, there is still no clarity on the stances of the Kurds or the Muslim Brotherhood. The only thing that is clear is the desire to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

This is the scene today with regards to the Syrian case, at the international, Arab and of course Syrian level. Everyone is putting forth their initiatives and visions, and there are clearly preparations to mobilize after the 6th of November, i.e. the date of the US elections. This is also what the rebel Syrian fighters are doing on the ground, for it is obvious that they are trying to impose a reality in preparation for what is to come.

The only good thing in all of this is that there is genuine mobility. This suggests that everyone, including China, which has also put forth an initiative, has realized that the wheel of change will move soon in Syria, and that al-Assad’s days are numbered. Yet things are not that simple, of course, and this is the crux of the matter. The reactions of some elements of the Syrian opposition, specifically those affiliated with the SNC, towards the recent US comments about the role of the council, suggest underlying tensions and strain. Some opposition members have brazenly resorted to the language of mistrust, suggesting that any criticism of the SNC means that there are those seeking to grant the Baathists a role in the new Syria. This kind of language did not benefit the Iraqis or the Egyptians when they used labels such as “remnants” and other defamatory expressions. The Syrian opposition today must not resort to these methods, which have not produced anything positive in any other Arab country engaged in the throes of change, whether peacefully or militarily.

The Syrians today should benefit from the mistakes of the other Arab Spring states, and post-Saddam Iraq prior to that, in order to avoid the fatal errors and difficulties faced by those countries. A dictator has not been truly ousted if he is simply replaced by a majority dictatorship or by the strongest on the ground, or the most popular in the Arab or international sphere. The Syrians must thwart any attempt, under whatever pretext, to steer Syria’s future towards that of Iraq and Lebanon, in terms of sectarian quotas. Syria is a unified state and must remain so.

The Syrian opposition can say what it wants against the Americans or others, but it is better for the opposition to remember that everyone has gone through the region’s recent experiences, from Iraq to Libya, through Egypt and Tunisia prior to that, as well as Yemen. I do not think that things will be easier for one party compared to another, whether the Muslim Brotherhood, the Kurds or otherwise. The Syrian opposition must seek to subvert any foreign interference or influence in the future Syria, so it can be an independent country, shielded from all its neighbors, and most importantly, so that the Damascus of tomorrow doesn’t depend on any entity as it depended on Iran during the al-Assad era. All this can only be achieved with a realistic vision of a future Syria, and realism here lies in representing everyone and rejecting exclusion, bullying, sectarianism and the desire for revenge, for revenge cannot build a nation.

If the Syrians remember all of the above, and avoid the mistakes of others, then not only will Syria be united, but its future fate will lie in the hands of the Syrians, and not with America or elsewhere.





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