A Russian journalist’s email about Syria

Justifying Assad’s presence in a transitional phase by saying this is the rational solution actually reflects the depravity of values in today’s world

Diana Moukalled
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In an email to me, a journalist who wants to come to Lebanon to do a documentary on Syrian refugees, wrote: “Hello, I am your colleague from Russia from Russian national TV.” That phrase kept going through my mind as I looked at photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin and read news of his new military adventures in Syria to save his tyrannical ally Bashar al-Assad.

I felt that this alleged friendship by this journalist, who works for a government channel in Russia and follows the orders of the Kremlin, aimed to involve me in what I have previously rejected and still reject today. Why does this journalist want to come to Lebanon and do a report on refugees? Did Putin send her?

Why does she want to work with me? Does she want to do this report out of sympathy with those escaping death, or out of a desire to confirm that refugees fled Syria to escape the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? Does she want to send a message that the war that Moscow is fighting in Syria is sacred, as the Russian Orthodox Church announced? Who gave her my name and email address? How and why?


I may have exaggerated my analysis of this email from a complete stranger. I may have had some far-fetched conspiratorial concerns, but why not, after Moscow and Tehran imposed a formula stipulating that Assad is part of the solution to the Syrian crisis, and that he may be present in the transitional phase?

Was thinking of the possibility of him staying in power not considered insane? Did being rational not conclude that Assad would step down during the first weeks of the Syrian revolution? Did rational analysis not suppose that the murder of protestors and the deaths of detainees due to torture would mobilize the world against Assad? Did rational analysis also not stipulate that the regime’s use of prohibited weapons would not go unpunished, and would not be tolerated by the world’s conscience?

What was irrational years ago - the death of thousands of Syrians without anyone acting to save them - has become our reality. We are now being asked to accept that Assad - a murderer and a criminal - is part of the solution, and that the problem in Syria is limited to ISIS. Is it not irrational that the first Russian military strike in Syria did not hit ISIS? It actually killed civilians in Homs.

Justifying Assad’s presence in a transitional phase by saying this is the rational solution actually reflects the depravity of values in today’s world. Can we imagine a future for Syria with Assad? I cannot, and neither can many Syrians. The world’s stance on the matter remains confused despite the roar of Russian jets in Syrian airspace.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 4, 2015.

Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

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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