Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Searching For Trouble in Damascus | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Up Until the final moments before the latest speech by President Bashar Al Assad, I along with others who are keen for Syria”s safety, were hoping that the Syrian president would turn the table against the extremists who benefit from the current crisis by announcing his full cooperation with the international investigation committee. We were optimistic that would change the over exhausted rhetoric that Damascus has been using for decades and replace it with a new language which has no place for emotional jargon.

However, after the speech, I felt that those who sought to exasperate the situation in Damascus were largely successful. They are the ones who still base their positions on political analysis, which has become obsolete since the end of the cold war. They still echo statements that imply that Damascus has a trump card to negotiate with despite the changes that have occurred to the contrary.

During the reign of the late Hafez Al Assad, Syria was an adversary of Saddam Hussein which provided her a distinguished position among the enemies of the Iraqi dictator, especially the Europeans and the Americans. Today however, Syria is accused of sabotaging the political process in Iraq and supporting terrorism. This is a position that contradicts its former situation. In addition, the Syria of Hafez Al Assad was in a position to exert pressures on Arafat as it hosted several Palestinian opposing factions. Now Arafat no longer exists. Moreover, the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel has become wider which has almost led to a total separation between the Syrian and the Palestinian paths.

Syria under Hafez Al Assad managed to control Lebanon with a strong grip through intelligence and military might after it had originally entered that country with the blessings of the Arab League to save it from civil war. At present however, Syria has withdrawn and Lebanon became according to the latest Syrian diplomatic statements a &#34redelivered&#34 country. Syria was a strong ally of Iran. Now Iran is embroiled in a middle of a crisis with the rest of the world because of its nuclear projects. Those who advised Bashar to seek Iran”s support and start his foreign political maneuvering with a visit to Tehran were mistaken and insincere in their suggestion. Bashar was seeking help from Iran only to find that Iran itself needs help.

Perhaps we need a miracle in Damascus, although the age of miracles is over. No one listens in Damascus as political decisions have been abducted. From an optimistic perspective and not from an analytical one (as analysis indicates pessimism in Syria”s case) I hope that something takes place at the last moment. I still think that Bashar needs to embark on a &#34reform movement&#34 as large as the movement that was launched by his father, but with a brand new language and features.