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Al-Assad: From one slogan to another - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Syrian scene is becoming increasingly immoral and debauched, and this is a polite way of describing the work, actions and policies of the regime in Syria. In reality, normal words can no longer describe the traumatic events and massacres that the regime has been carrying out against its own people for over a year and a half, ever since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution. We should not forget that the Syrian people only began to revolt after enough was truly enough, after more than four decades of humiliation and torment at the hands of a regime that showed no mercy or respect for them.

More explosions have occurred in several locations throughout Syria, and according to the official media of the Syrian regime, terrorist organizations are responsible for this. This is a broken record that has been repeated by the regime since the start of the revolution. However, there is an obvious question here, which may seem naïve, but is nonetheless important: why do “terrorist bombings” only occur in locations and cities that are standing up to the regime, and witnessing intense demonstrations against it? How can terrorist groups (which according to the official Syrian media want to overthrow the regime because they are part of a global conspiracy against it, as are the revolutionaries, and thus both – the revolutionaries and the terrorists – are on the same page) carry out the bombings in key revolutionary locations, but not in other areas that are secure for the regime, such as the loyal coastal and mountainous cities?

This question has remained in my head constantly since the explosions first started to occur in various Syrian cities, and only in the presence of UN or Arab League observers; a strange coincidence! The regime’s political and media explanations are closer to a joke or a comedy rather than a logical, reasonable and acceptable interpretation. Furthermore, instead of the Syrian regime working to spare the blood of its people, stop its killings and arrests, and commit to any of the initiatives it has been offered on a silver platter, it has continued with its destructive and bloodthirsty approach. The regime is seeking to penetrate the ranks of the opposition, fragment it, distort its image and portray its symbols as foreign agents, traitors and mercenaries who are promoting lies. This is despite the fact that many opposition figures are more worthy and have better reputations than all the members of the current regime; however this is the dire and regrettable state of affairs in Syria.

The official Syrian media machine continues to promote stories about key members of the regime being eliminated through targeted assassination operations, and then denying the same stories later on, so that the opposition loses credibility and therefore popularity. This is an old and cheap method, but the regime does not stop there. Now it is transferring part of the problem and the revolution into neighboring Lebanon, fuelling confrontations with Syrian arms and equipment, and via the tongues of pro-Assad parties within the Lebanese body politic, of which there are many. Hence the scene has transferred immediately to the heart of the Lebanese capital Beirut, due to the work of sectarian political parties that are supportive of al-Assad and his project. Moreover, MPs from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party have begun to shout at the top of their voices inside the parliament’s halls, demanding the return of the Syrian army to Lebanon immediately, in order to maintain security and stability and put an end to the chaos.

This, of course, is part of the “plan” that has been developed by some within the Syrian regime, namely for Syrian troops to return to Lebanon after promoting a political and security rationale that forces Syria to intervene in order to preserve its security and protect its neighbor. However, the most important purpose of this plan is to control Hezbollah’s weapons and restrict them, through a major political, security, military and intelligence deal with Israel and the West (similar to what Gaddafi did with America and George W. Bush when he gave up his program to produce chemical weapons of mass destruction). However there is great hesitance from some within the regime regarding the implementation of this plan, and the possibility of achieving the desired results has been severely disrupted, especially in light of the growing humanitarian cost, in terms of the number of people killed and wounded, whilst the revolution in Syria is still going strong.

If Lebanon does not maintain its unity then it will be dragged into the arena of conflict in a quick and costly manner. The Gulf States are aware of the danger that surrounds their citizens in Lebanon, a country that will support al-Assad with every means at its disposal, and will undertake “human sacrifices” as proof of this support. What about the story of the old man who was shot dead in Tripoli [Lebanon]? This is nothing more than a spark to incite the Lebanese to support al-Assad!

“In spirit and in blood we sacrifice ourselves for you, al-Assad” is more than just a slogan, this is a political approach that was initiated by the Syrian regime. It seems that the al-Assad regime’s shadowy political course will be concluded by another slogan, namely: “al-Assad or we burn the country”!

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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