U.S. President Barack Obama's hesitancy and postponement of the punitive military attack on Bashar al-Assad's regime led to despair among some and made the Damascus regime happy.
The opposition, however, must know that freeing its country is its full responsibility, whether it has the support of superpower countries or not. The opposition's allies, foreign and Arab, must be convinced that it's their duty to increase their support of the Free Syrian Army to help it perform this task and prevent another party from reaching Damascus and ruling the country. We are in a race towards the capital despite all fortifications and despite Assad's use of chemical weapons.
In the absence of a centralized system, Syria is on the path of becoming like Afghanistan and Somalia.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Despite Obama's delay of the strike, I still expect him to carry it out later and I still expect that he will play a major role in toppling the Assad regime. This is not only because the Syrian regime is an evil one that went too far in the genocide against its people, but also because America's security and interests will encourage America to intervene. Syria has become the biggest terrorist-producing farm. It attracts fighters from all over the world to target major powers like the U.S. The Assad regime paved the way for extremists to enter the war thinking that it would then push western countries to support it, like they previously stood with Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and others.
The Assad regime has already fallen
Some may condemningly wonder why we expect Obama to side with these jihadist groups to topple Assad and not the opposite. The reason is that the Assad regime has already fallen as it no longer governs most of Syria. In the absence of a centralized system, Syria is on the path of becoming like Afghanistan and Somalia. Jihadi groups have found a fertile soil in the chaotic vacuum. As a result hundreds of millions of Muslims who saw in what's happening in Syria a tragedy cannot remain silent. The day will come when the Americans realize that entering Syria is an inextricable security necessity.
But, until then, the Syrian opposition must forget the international and American role. They must get rid of the Syrian regime themselves. This is their duty and their cause. If the armed and the political opposition were to organize itself, it would be capable of toppling the Assad regime. The foreign support, from Iran and Russia, has consumed most of its energy. Assad's allies have realized that they are supporting a lifeless body and that therefore, everything they do today has no value whatsoever other than delaying the burial of the regime for more months to come.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on September 2, 2013.
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.