“Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead.”
From Jisr al-Shughour and Baba Amr district of Homs, and from Houla and al-Qobair, all the way to Tremsa, the “Damascus surgeon” Dr. Bashar al-Assad continues his bloody “surgical procedures” to save Syrian people… from itself!
Based on the Syrian President’s statements and actions over the last 17 months, it became worthless to carry on talking about it. Moreover, due to the utter failure of the mission of the international & Arab mediator Kofi Annan, both in terms of perception or practice, it is time for the international community to stop the diplomatic absurdity.
In the meantime, there is an almost unanimity that Syria is still far away from the end of its ordeal. This quasi-unanimity, in addition to the previously mentioned elements – i.e. Assad’s stance and the failure of Annan’s mission – keep the international positions of the global actors as they already are. In light of the lack of seriousness to adopt a strategic deterrence, and despite the terrifying number of victims and widespread human tragedies that are documented with pictures and numbers, every party that has an interest, will continue to blackmail its rivals at the expense of the Syrian people.
Although the United States is trying its best to avoid the adoption of a decisive settlement due to electoral and Israeli considerations, two contradictory intellectual undercurrents seem to be active in Western countries… Both are still willing (or even keen) to disregard the Syrian people agony, and rather deal positively its slaughterers. These two movements are as follow:
1- The racist rightist undercurrent, which believes that the Syrian people (like any other Arab or Muslim people) do not understand or deserve democracy, and if they were to practice it, they would go about it the wrong way; and will certainly vote for the fundamentalist and religious rightist forces. Therefore, why should the West implicate itself in a predicament where the West has no interests at all?
2 - The extreme leftist undercurrent, spontaneously pushed by its political immaturity sometimes, which sympathizes with any speech, whether honest or not, upholding the ideals of revolution, struggle, anti-imperialism and anti USA. Unfortunately, this movement exists and is active even in some of the eminent media in countries such as Britain, Germany and France.
On the other hand, we find that on the international stage the two former communist powers, Russia and China, are behaving ─ after the fall of communism ─ just like all imperialist powers behaved throughout history. When both conspire today on the Syrian people’s fate and collude with its killers, they are not actually targeting Syrian people just for being Syrian.
They, in fact, would have behaved in the same insolent and immoral manner with any other people, anywhere in the world, when and where their national interests contradict with the interests of rival major powers. Thus, as we have seen over the last 17 months, Moscow and Beijing did not change their approach regarding the Syrian crisis, not even a little bit, but they rather chose to enter an open-ended hostility with the Syrian people, and subsequently, with Arab peoples who are eager to be free and live with dignity. It is quite likely that the lack of enthusiasm on the part of Washington and the western capitals to show resolve and choose deterrence, and the failure of Arab states to punish ─ or even hold accountable ─ have been influential elements in convincing the Russian and Chinese leaderships, not only to block any diplomatic effort in the Security Council, but also to continue to provide political and practical support to the armament of the Assad regime so he can continue trying to quell the revolution, with arms and fire.
After each massacre committed by the Syrian regime, speeches and useless denunciations increase, but then they fade away... as if nothing had happened. This time also, after the massacre of Tremsa in the province of Hama, early attempts were made to cover the executioner, weaken the case, and sow doubts … with the hope it would help the regime to maintain the momentum of its bloody repression, and provide him with a new outlet, that would preempt another phase of slow disintegration in its military and political structure.
Gambling on the Security Council, especially after the expected hopeless outcome of Syrian opposition meetings in Moscow, is both a waste of time and betrayal to the Syrians.
Expecting a serious change in the unreasonably negative U.S. position, at least before the Republican Party’s presidential campaign heats up, is political naivety and foolishness. The same applies for optimistic expectations of a brave Arab decision to freeze economic relations, investment and cultural relations with Russia and China.
All the aforementioned means that the Syrian people are left with one solution: to win their battle on their home turf, not world capitals.
The Syrian people are aware today that they will win the battle, no matter how much time it takes, simply because they no longer have any other option but to defeat their killers, and not just because they enjoy international support. In fact, they have not received any support they deserve for their commitment and struggle. This conviction is the turning point that will affect those who have chosen to bet on the passing of time, or wait for the collapse of the revolution, without necessarily conspiring against it.
Some monitors of the Syrian situation indicate that a “momentum” is distinguishing the splits and defections, whether they were by civilian figures (political and diplomatic) or military – security ones, and there is no doubt that last week’s changes related to Brigadier General Manaf Tlas and Ambassador Nawaf al-Fares deserve to be viewed positively, regardless of how serious they are. However, the nature of the Syrian regime that is based on camouflage and deception, does not encourage a lot of comfort regarding the increase of the number of “opposition” within groups that were until recently the symbols of the regime, its agencies and political organizations, although this is not a sufficient reason to hesitate in encouraging these defections, facilitate their occurrence and allow the rehabilitation of the defectors.
The point behind this talk is to adopt an acceptable limit of realism and prudence in order to prevent the Syrian Revolution from committing more tactical errors as it has done so far, either as a result of over confidence or its enthusiasm for rapid change.
The Syrians have watched how some people have shown up claiming that they were from the opposition, at the first “opposition open meeting” that the regime has called for, and was chaired by vice president Farouk al-Sharaa, a short period after the outbreak of the revolution. Furthermore, some of them delivered tough and bold speeches during that meeting to the extent that it was hard to believe that they were being delivered by “opposition” politicians or organizations, participating in the “National Progressive Front”, sponsored by the regime.
As time passed by, those “opposition” members became more active, and held meetings as “opposition” in foreign and Arab capitals, before being uncovered, when they participated in the “Elections’ circus” conducted by the regime, and won seats along with the “Shabbiha” and the regime’s tools. Indeed, two of the embedded “opposition” became members in the new government... and one of them was even appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister!
It is in interest of the Syrian Revolution to gain the enmity of such “opposition”… certainly not its support!
The writer is a columnist at Asharq al-Awsat where this article was first published on July 16, 2012