We will suffer for letting down the Syrians

When Qusayr was under “complete siege” for 45 days, the Arab League's Secretary General and his organization kept quiet, and then remained inactive throughout the 20 days of bombardment, destruction and slaughter in a town inhabited by 40,000 people.

During two years of slaughter and killing, most Arab governments have not done anything; they have just observed the situation in Syria. Therefore, why would some people blame the East or the West for not intervening to rescue the Syrians?!

If they were truly determined, they would have been able to spare this tragedy from the beginning; if they really respected human values and rights and were keen on restraining the culprits, the Syrian regime would not have assaulted the citizens, destroyed cities and displaced millions of innocent civilians. The regime would not have been able to divide the country in order to redraw the country’s map. Bashar al-Assad’s regime believes that it is capable - in a year or two - of exporting the Syrian crisis across the border through refugees, arms and militias. It aims to change the political map of Lebanon, overthrow the Jordanian regime, destabilize Turkey with discord, and transfer the problem to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the region.

What is going wrong in Syria?

It all started with the underestimation of the Syrian people’s misery, lack of responsibility, indifference on regional security, failing to perceive the huge threats that Iran and its allies are provoking, and misunderstanding the risks of the new reality that is being imposed on us.

Bashar al-Assad’s regime believes that it is capable - in a year or two - of exporting the Syrian crisis across the border through refugees, arms and militias.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

First, there are no standards, upon which regional systems can be held accountable when they fail, for instance, killing five thousand people requires condemnation or intervention? Wouldn’t displacing a million people give the right to the countries of the region to intervene to prevent the disaster? When the regime uses foreign troops and militias against his people, doesn’t it require granting the oppressed people the right to defend themselves and be backed by regional forces?

I know that not all Arab countries have political or ethical standards to intervene, but it is rather quite the opposite. We know that Algeria and Iraq are shamelessly backing the Syrian regime. We also know that Egypt and Sudan are supporting Assad’s regime too but to a lesser extent. The rest of the countries believe that Syria is located in a remote region of the world, and does not fall within the circle of their responsibility.

When Qusayr was completely destroyed, the Arab League issued a statement condemning the crime! Here are the regime’s legions, Hezbollah’s militia, the Iranian Quds Force, and Iraqi gangs along with Russian and North Korean experts crawling to Daraa, Homs and Ghouta in an attempt to restore the regime’s control over these towns after being liberated during the past year by their people.

Wouldn’t this mass of foreign forces, backing the regime with their heavy weaponry, justify this counter-intervention in Syria instead of issuing solacing statements? Shouldn’t the countries of the region feel that Syria - in its current state - poses a threat to them because the displacement of five million Syrians will not only threaten Jordan and Lebanon’s regimes, but all the countries located within the regional circle of violence?

Who would have imagined that Turkey, a large and militarily powerful country that is protected by NATO, economically prosperous and politically stable, will suddenly quiver? What is happening in Turkey, whether in Taksim Square or on the borders, is one of the consequences of the Syrian crisis. The risks emanating from Syria threaten everyone and not just the people of Syria; it poses a threat to Iraq, Egypt and the Gulf countries as well as Israel.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 8, 2013.


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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:40 - GMT 06:40
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