On Obama’s comment that ‘basic order’ has broken down in the Middle East
The collective failure of both the public and the published opinion to influence decision making is highly alarming
“If, as reported, aid convoy attack was an airstrike, it could have only been Assad regime or Russia,” Gareth Bayley, the UK’s special envoy for Syria, tweeted yesterday in response to the horrific bomb attack which killed more than 20 people near Aleppo, despite a US-Russian ceasefire.
Once again we find ourselves in the realms of “ifs” and “maybes,” despite Syria probably being the most carefully monitored geographical location on the planet today, and despite the massive leaps in radar, satellite and surveillance technology which we now enjoy.
However, even if a proper investigation was to take place and the Syrian regime or the Russians are found guilty, it is rather unlikely that justice will be served given everything else that has occurred and gone unpunished.
Just in case we have forgotten, only a few weeks ago, the images of five-year-old Omar Daqneesh stunned the world in the aftermath of an air strike which had bloodied him but left him alive. Resorting to tears and tweets, we expressed our anger and called upon the perpetrators to be punished. Of course, the news cycle has moved on since and given that nobody claimed responsibility, the perpetrators will go unpunished.
Who was likely to have done it? Well, like the attack on the aid convey, one has to wonder who has such capabilities? Hint: Syrian opposition forces don’t possess fighter jets, so this leaves us with either the Russian/Syrian regimes or the Americans who have categorically denied it was one of their jets.
Of course, the horrific images of Omar came only a few days after news leaked that there was yet another chemical weapon attack in Syria, and yes, you guessed it right… that is also now forgotten and will ultimately go unpunished.
All this occurs as we commemorate a year since the drowning of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi. It was also through tears and tweets that we expressed our anger last September, after Aylan was found in the Mediterranean Sea. The little boy was washed ashore and had his face to the ground and seemed as if he was discovered in a deep sleep. The image jolted the world and sparked a lot of anger, outcry and pain.
Even if a proper investigation was to take place and the Syrian regime or the Russians are found guilty, it is rather unlikely that justice will be servedFaisal J. Abbas
There were pledges of support, calls for action and a general sense of empathy was expressed for all those caught in the crossfire of the Syrian conflict. Yet, a year later, it is extremely disheartening that we seem to have just moved on. Few people remember what happened and even fewer are in a position to do anything about it.
It all goes back to the ‘red-line’
The collective failure of both the public and the published opinion to influence decision making, particularly in democratic countries, is highly alarming. However, it is not solely to blame as Syria continues to pay the price for the inaction and wrong decisions taken by the international community at the beginning of the crisis.
Just yesterday, during his final UNGA speech, President Obama enlightened us with the fact that “basic security, basic order has broken down” in the Middle East. Of course, he failed to mention that it was his abandoning of his own chemical weapon “red-line” back in 2013 that – at the very least – paved the way for a full-fledged Russian intervention in support of the murderous Assad regime.
The reality is President Obama was not held accountable, mostly because the majority of US media – which famously brought down President Nixon in the past – has become either misinformed or misguided. I am not sure what has happened to the American press, but when the New York Times decides to publish a horrendously biased column such as the one recently penned by Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif, only weeks after it published an unprecedented front-page story calling Saudi Arabia (but not Iran) both the “arsonists and the firefighters” of extremism, one really has to wonder if the paper isn’t being one-sided.
How could any reasonable editor ignore all the state-backed Iranian attacks against the US since 1979? Or the fact that Tehran is still one of two states in the world which directly support Assad?Faisal J. Abbas
After all, it couldn’t possibly be in the public interest to provide an unchallenged platform for someone like Zarif, who represents a country which – in the words of President Obama himself – is a “state-sponsor of terror”! How could any reasonable editor ignore all the state-backed Iranian attacks against the US since 1979? Or the fact that Tehran is still one of two states in the world which directly support Assad?
With that in mind, it was not surprising that not a single word was published in the newspaper about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef’s recent speech at the UN refugee summit, or the fact that over the past four decades Riyadh has donated over $139 billion in aid.
There is no question that Saudi Arabia has many issues and it has certainly committed many mistakes in the past. Yet, as much as some editors at the NYT may not like the fact that the whole “28 page” fiasco ended up vindicating Riyadh, completely ignoring the massive work the kingdom is doing on the humanitarian front is utterly biased.
Now, if the NYT really wants to do something in the public interest, I suggest it runs an investigative piece on how Iran will spend the billions of dollars it will receive from the US as part of the infamous nuclear deal. To get a head-start, I suggest reading this extremely indicative piece entitled “Obama’s Cash-for-Jihad Program” published in the The National Review.
Faisal J. Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, he is a renowned blogger and an award-winning journalist. Faisal covered the Middle East extensively working for Future Television of Lebanon and both Al-Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab dailies. He blogs for The Huffington Post since 2008, and is a recipient of many media awards and a member of the British Society of Authors, National Union of Journalists, the John Adams Society as well as an associate member of the Cambridge Union Society. He can be reached on @FaisalJAbbas on Twitter.