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Syria: It’s complicated - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Russians, the Americans, the Arab League chief, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and others have all condemned what is happening in Syria, but then they take a deep breath and say: it’s complicated, and speak of fears of civil war and sectarian strife and a sensitive region! These are all excuses to avoid military intervention to rescue the Syrian people, who are being slaughtered whilst the entire world is watching.

In fact, if these excuses are genuine, then this represents reasons for intervention, not vice versa. For the situation is tense and becoming increasingly dangerous, and we must nip this in the bud.

This dangerous situation in Syria, and the genuine possibility of civil war, justifies intervention, not the opposite. Thus, the international community would become a positive force, imposing conditions to prevent any acts of vengeance, sectarian wars or partisan disputes. This is what has happened in Libya; were it not for the unified international stance which imposed its own conditions and commitments on all opposition parties, Libya would have drowned in tribal and regional disputes over power and influence, whilst there would have been even more reprisals. Even what Libya is witnessing today with regards to controversy and attempts to divide the state are doomed to failure, thanks to the international commitment to the new Libyan state and leadership.

The situation in Syria is extremely dangerous: the regime is massacring the people and different powers and forces are being formed in the midst of a power vacuum. When the regime eventually collapses, the country will become a battlefield, with everyone fighting for power. At this time, it will be difficult to call for international forces to intervene to extinguish the fires and prevent civil or sectarian war, in which case the region will be facing an even more dangerous situation.

Everybody who is speaking about their fears for the future of Syria are either attempting to justify their inaction, like the West, or attempting to frighten others against intervention, like Iraq or Iraq. Syria has been in a state of revolution for almost a year, and this revolutionary fire will not be extinguished except with the ouster of the regime. Everybody knows that this regime has no chance of surviving, despite its attempts to cling to power through bloodshed and violence.

Even Turkey – which is reluctant to intervene in Syria without an international mandate and a broader military partnership – feels that it is paying a price for this prolonged crisis. The Syrian and Iranian regimes have succeeded in activating the Kurdish separatists residing in Iraq and Syria to carry out terrorist attacks on the Turkish territories. They are responsible for fuelling the crises in the Gulf region as well as threatening to sabotage the domestic situation in Lebanon. What is even worse is the fact that the Syrian regime has succeeded in deepening the mutual mistrust and hatred between different Syrian sects, carrying out sectarian massacres and playing up sectarian fears. Had the Syrian regime been toppled last year, we would now be facing a new less-complicated reality for the Syrian people and the region as a whole.

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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