Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syrian Double Talk | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Instead of reasonable and responsible voices from Damascus, we have recently been listening to heavy artillery indiscriminately firing salvos against the international community, the United Nations, Mehlis and Lebanon.

Walid al Muallem , Syria ’s deputy Foreign Minister restored a degree of balance to the official response when he announced his government will cooperate with Mehlis and allow its officers to be quizzed in by the UN probe team in Vienna . Long awaited by all those who pity and fear for the country’s future, his language took into consideration the importance of responsible communication in a complex world where a mature diplomatic language is needed!

Last week, the Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al Sharaa tired to escalate the situation by speaking of “Mehlis’ lack of cooperation with Syria.” This was indeed a strange proposal as it was the German investigator who had requested Syria cooperate and not the opposite.

The official al Thawra newspaper tried to show Lebanon was no longer an independent country after the Syrian withdrawal. The Editor in Chief’s evidence was that 400 Israeli agents had recently entered Lebanon. This strikes me as a rather strange proposal.

If the Syrian intelligence services were able to discover 400 Mossad agents were in Lebanon , why didn’t they publicize their names and location in order to sabotage their plans? Does this mean that no Israeli agents were in Lebanon during Syria’s presence? If so, how did groups loyal to Damascus repeatedly try to convince us that the Mossad was responsible for the death of Lebanese leaders and journalists and the escalation of tensions?

Syria’s decision to agree its officers are questioned in Vienna is a positive step on a long road Damascus needs to embark on with a positive and responsible attitude. Al Muallem’s statements should signal a change in the Syrian media discourse, which has so far hindered Syria and isolated it from its neighbors and the international community. Certain parties in Damascus are benefiting from the current crisis and reaping the profits. They are using harsh and outdated language, which is no longer used in politics.

The coming days will reveal a great deal. They require prudence and resolve. The struggle in Damascus between the moderates and the rabble-rousers should be settled in Syria’s favor and its safety, bigger than the interests of individuals.