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Minor American-Syrian Battles - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Washington declared that it would donate five million dollars to support democratic movements in Syria. In other words, the United States is planning to create a state of unrest and rebellion for the Syrian regime in Damascus. During the same week of this American endeavor, Syria took its counter steps and arrested a number of peaceful opposition figures in fear that they may become future enemies. The American secretary of state had responded to Syria’s reaction with a request to the Security Council to exert further political pressures upon Damascus to provide investigators with information concerning the assassination of the late Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. Amidst such provocative actions between the two countries, the Syrian government declared that it had replaced all dealings with American dollars with the European Euro.

If we observe the Syrian-American scuffles of one week, then we can see that as minor as they are, they provide a strong base for the beginning of a snowball effect. Five million dollars is a somewhat small amount of money to support oppositionists, especially for an opposition that aims at changing the regime. In addition, the shift of using Euros instead of American dollars is no more than a slight sting that will not affect global markets that deal in dollars. Previously, American decisions that called for freezing the accounts of a number of Syrian officials and stopping the exporting of American commodities to Syria had been implemented.

The crisis is in fact ready to develop as long as the escalations are taking place on both parts, without a single attempt from either party to stop the constant deteriorating of relationships between the two countries. The paid five million dollars is one clear example of covert escalation that hints instigation from the American side. The connotation simply reads that the American administration is serious in antagonizing the Syrian regime. The instigation of the five million dollar pact implies that the United States has silently pledged to trigger riots against the Syrian regime. Here Damascus is trapped as it reacts to America’s actions by arresting the peaceful opposition members who had never resorted to violence or surpassed their limits of expression except concerning issues that are not against the Syrian regime itself. With the arrest of peaceful opposition members, the actions of the Syrian regime comes to be criticized and endorses claims that Syria is allegedly unable to follow a clear policy to counter its major crises since the assassination of Hariri and the beginning of the international investigation.

The battle between the two parties will last for quite a while and it is for this reason that we must illustrate the powers of both parties to predict how the battle shall end. Damascus will probably suffer, as it is the weaker party of the battle. Syria does not know from which side it will it be attacked whether it will be through the terrestrial borders or air space or even through the Security Council. Syria simply cannot close its eyes to implicit dangers that may strike at any time. On the other hand, this constant and wearing agony for the Syrian party is met by light brainstorming sessions between officers in the American administration over cups of coffee that finish at the end of the working day. Accordingly, believing that Damascus is capable of standing strong for a long while is an issue that will be put to the test by Syria’s opponents. The question that arises here is whether there were other means to settle the match from both sides and deal wisely with the escalating crises. Syria’s wisest choice would be to find a quick solution for such a problem instead of procrastinating, which will surely end in the defeat of the weaker party.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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