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Syria’s Critical Timing - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Those who wish the best for Syria and want to see Damascus and its people in a better situation assume a difficult task and realize that their tears are of no avail!

As for those who hate Syria, well, their situation is much easier; as to gloat, insult and curse the Syrian policy is not difficult at all. A similar case applies to those who advocate the official Syrian media. But those who love Syria and commit to reason and logic are in a difficult situation; perhaps the author of these lines belongs to this category.

Today, Syria faces a predicament and those who tell Damascus otherwise are lying. At present, Syria needs to acknowledge the fact that the solution to the Syrian dilemma will not be found in Washington or London or even in Tehran but rather in Damascus itself. This is an issue that requires a respectable share of direct self-criticism of the Syrian policy, as well as the reemployment of mind and logic in dealing with regional and international issues.

It must be clear that the Syria of today is not the same Syria of Hafez al Assad; the late president succeeded in building solid bridges with all Arab capitals and succeeded at maintaining these bridges in an orderly and timely manner. The era in which Hafez al Assad had governed Syria differs greatly to the contemporary period; his era was one that enjoyed a bi-polar global system and was years before the 9/11 attacks and its subsequent events. When Assad clashed with the former Iraqi regime, he knew that Iraq was still Syria’s neighbor regardless of who governed it. Today, Syria is a neighbor to the United States which governs Iraq and will fight to make its project in Iraq succeed. When Assad was maintaining a good relationship with Tehran, it was never for the sake of allying with Tehran against Arab brotherly states. When he realized, at a rare moment, that he had to meet with his mortal enemies, Assad did not hesitate in doing so and did so with America’s blessing.

Today, Syria is startled and panicked. Its relationship with the majority of Arab countries varies at different levels, all of which are bad. At present, Syria has linked itself in a suicidal manner to the Iranian crisis; a crisis that is much more complicated than the Syrian case. Besides, Syria has become a party in the Lebanese conflict after it had committed the sin of imposing a president upon the Lebanese republic in spite of the Lebanese people.

Syria must realize that time will not solve its problems but rather brave political initiative and movement will. Syria must realize that alliance with Ahmadinejad in Tehran or Chavez in Venezuela, are foolish actions that have nothing to do with the basics of political realism. Syria must also realize that rectifying its relationship with its Arab brothers and withdrawal from the game of incitement and provocation in Lebanon and Iraq are a paramount necessity for political success. Currently, Syria has no allies in the Palestinian arena as it once did; besides it has no distinct relationships with major Arab capitals as it once did. There are considerable doubts and questions in the international community towards Syria. These questions need clarification and serious political action.

Is it too late? We hope not. Have any of those who wish the best for Syria listened to what we have said? We hope so…however, unfortunately, history does not shape itself according to hopes and wishes.