McCain: whoever thinks Assad will leave is mentally disturbed

Conferences in Geneva and U.N. envoys will not finalize the war in Syria. The cause will grow and grow unless world powers intervene

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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U.S. Senator John McCain was among the first to adopt the Syrian people’s cause as his cause. He warned that the ongoing conflict won’t disappear if the U.S. just turns its back to it. It turned out that everything he predicted and warned of is right. He predicted that the regime’s violence will get out of control and warned that not supporting the opposition will make the regime reject negotiating and indulge in committing brutal crimes because it will consider it has a green light to act beyond any limits.

He warned that chaos in Syria will attract terrorist groups and that letting the Free Syrian Army fight Assad's well-equipped army alone will be a loss to the world. He described Russia’s, Iran's and Hezbollah's intervention as a dangerous expansion that one must not remain silent about in the disturbed Middle East region and that it will export war to the rest of the Middle East.

Almost everything he expressed became reality. Syria is a failed state today and a hotbed for Iranians, Hezbollah, Iraqi militias, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It’s a war in which the regime used all kinds of banned weapons. It has shelled cities and towns using jets, cannons, tanks, chemical weapons and explosive barrels. Despite this systematic murder supported by the Russians and the Iranians, the international community has done nothing to deter it.

Syria's war has expanded and it's become one that threatens Turkey's security and Lebanon's stability and that scares Jordan. The terrorist al-Qaeda-lined ISIS moves around freely between Syria and Iraq and recruits thousands of youths who will later fight outside Syria.

Conferences in Geneva and U.N. envoys will not finalize the war in Syria. The cause will grow and grow unless world powers intervene

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Senator McCain said yesterday that the Geneva conference was doomed to fail because of Assad’s reliance on military supremacy, adding that the FSA needs U.S. support in order to shift the balance of power- saving Syrians from their desperate plight.

What McCain is saying is real. Assad has not allowed and will not allow food and cover to reach those who are hungry and cold. Those besieged people have no aid except the little they're receiving from charitable donations, and only Free Syrian Army brigades fighting by their side. Some of them were forced to accept the governance of al-Qaeda and the ISIS which offered their services to protect them and take care of them at a time when superpowers turned their back on them.

Only hope

The U.S. must understand that al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations like ISIS are the only hope for the millions of people besieged and confronting death by hunger, cold or gunfire. Ever since its expulsion from Afghanistan in 2001, al-Qaeda has found no haven or greeting place like it's found in Syria today – largely due to the tragedy which the axis of evil, Assad, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq, and the world's betrayal of the majority of the Syrian people.

Conferences in Geneva and U.N. envoys will not finalize the war in Syria. The cause will grow and grow unless world powers intervene. The formula has become as such: Assad will not win because he cannot govern the sweeping majority of the Syrian people which rebelled against him and broke the barrier of fear three years ago.

Not able

Since this majority does not have qualitative weapons, it will not be able to topple the regime. The war will therefore continue and Syria will become a fertile soil for terrorism and a major exporter of chaos to the region and the world.

The solution lies in forcing Assad to exit power and in supporting the FSA, which represents all the Syrians whether Muslims, Christians, Arabs or Kurds, and which is willing to accept any civil governance formula imposed by the U.N. and used to democratically run the country without Assad.

This opportunity is diminishing - that is the FSA's capability and its political institution's capability like the national coalitions - unless the world rises to support it and make it the only representative of the Syrian people and fight both Assad and al-Qaeda.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 2, 2014.

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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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