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Bashar’s sectarianism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Bashar al-Assad’s statement was a shocking, rude and vulgar one that included everything except the concepts of diplomacy and logic. In an interview with the British “Sunday Telegraph” newspaper, President al-Assad threatened that the western powers risk causing an “earthquake” across the Middle East if they intervene in Syria. He claimed that Syria is “the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake.” Such a statement is not markedly different to the threat that the leader of a gang of kidnappers might make when surrounded by police, namely that if he is arrested then this would result in the death of hostages. Do you see the extent of his political audacity? Had President Bashar said that any intervention by the West would cause the Syrian regime to take revenge against the West itself [rather than the Middle East], that would have been more logical! This is because it is the Western states that are the aggressors, not the Arabs, and so even Gaddafi had proven himself to be more of a man than al-Assad, for at least he confined his threats to the western states whose air forces were attacking his troops!

Even the dullest observer or analyst can sense the “sectarianism” in Bashar al-Assad’s statement. Let us imagine that the West acted against the Syrian regime in the same manner that it did against the Gaddafi regime, imposing a no-fly zone above the country and then following this, NATO forces began to attack the Syrian regime’s troops; how then could Bashar al-Assad carry out his threats, when he cannot even protect himself? What al-Assad was talking about was the awakening of the Shiite Crescent and the activation of Shiite sleeper cells in our region. Of course, we must not forget Hezbollah being granted free rein to pick a quarrel with Israel, not out of a desire to antagonize Israel, but rather to untie the noose around the Syrian regime’s neck.

So, Bashar’s ally, Tehran, is in a state of alert with regards to activating its sleeper cells in the Gulf States to carry out the Syrian president’s threat of burning the region. In fact, Iran has already conducted a dry run of implement such treats with regards to the unrest that occurred in al-Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province. This saw some of its sleeper cells provoke riots, something that all sectors of Saudi society – as well as the government – strongly confronted and roundly condemned. The people of Saudi Arabia well understand the game of hijacking people’s rights, whilst in fact the true objective is to implement Iran and Syria’s agenda in the region. These [al-Awamiyah] riots were nothing more than the dress rehearsal which precedes a major operation, and those responsible for this are trying to demonstrate their ability to start even larger sectarian fires and clashes should their Syrian strategic ally be exposed to danger.

The best evidence of the audacity of President Bashar’s statement to the British newspaper is that the countries that he threatened are being blamed by their own people for failing to adopt strong positions against the al-Assad regime, which is massacring its own people. These people believe that the leadership of their countries have been too “lenient” towards the al-Assad regime. They have even blamed their leadership for failing to recognize the Syrian National Council and political and economically boycotting the al-Assad regime. Despite this all, President al-Assad is threatening and menacing these same people whilst ignoring those who are threatening him with military intervention.

As is traditional for autocratic regime, President Bashar insisted – in his interview with the British newspaper – that his regime is different to those of Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, which reflects the limitless illusions that such dictators tend to surround themselves with. Similar statements were made by the Egyptian regime after the revolution broke out and before the regime collapsed, as well as by the Libyan regime before its eventual collapse. This statement was also made by members of the Yemeni regime which is now in the process of collapsing. Syria is not an exception to the norms of popular uprising and revolution! What is strange is that President Bashar failed to mention Libya; perhaps this is because he expects a similar end for himself. There are a number of things that the al-Assad and Gaddafi regimes share in common; most importantly that they are the only two regimes that resorted to the military to quell the popular uprisings against. Since they are similar in this regard, perhaps they will share a similar fate!