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Al-Assad: Raising the takfirist scarecrow | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)


In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday outlined a new peace initiative that includes a national reconciliation conference and a new government and constitution but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels first. (AP Photo/SANA)

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday outlined a new peace initiative that includes a national reconciliation conference and a new government and constitution but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels first. (AP Photo/SANA)

The majority of rational people who viewed Bashar al-Assad’s most recent speech are certain that this was primarily directed towards the West, rather than the Syrian people or the Arab world. Bashar al-Assad focused repeatedly on warning against “takfirist terrorist” groups, with this forming the crux of his speech. He stressed that all these organizations have ties to Al Qaeda, which is a name that will immediately draw the attention of anyone in the West. Bashar al-Assad did not dare to explicitly mention the al-Nusra Front, whose name has been repeatedly mentioned by media outlets and US officials and which was placed on the US foreign terror organizations list. Despite the fact that the al-Nusra Front’s role in the Syrian revolution and fighting is well-known, al-Assad preferred to use the name Al Qaeda, because “promoting” the threat represented by takfirism and terrorist is easier when the Al Qaeda brand name is used.

In his latest move, Bashar al-Assad is trying to incite the West and the US, provoking them against the takfirist scarecrow. This time, the speech was well-prepared, and was pre-approved and supervised by Tehran and Moscow. Indeed, both Tehran and Moscow are using the same scarecrow of “takfirist groups” in their own political discourse for their own reasons. Iran is always seeking to play with this term as part of its sectarian discourse, as shown clearly by its supporters in Iraq and Lebanon. As for Russia, it is citing its experiences with such groups in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Dagestan and its suffering at their hands. However, what all these parties tend to ignore is that Bashar al-Assad, and prior to this his father Hafez al-Assad, have both carried out systematic terrorism against the Syrian people over the past 40 years, mercilessly victimizing tens of thousands of innocent people.

Today, the same scene is being repeated, whilst the Russians and Iranians are insisting on backing the criminal regime until the bitter end. The humanitarian scene is beginning to take on a particularly catastrophic dimension, while the images of the suffering of refugees along the Turkish, Jordanian, Iraqi and Lebanese borders are heart wrenching. The Arab world and international community have let the Syrian people down in a thoroughly shocking and astonishment manner.

Bashar al-Assad has gradually relinquished Syrian sovereignty into the hands of Iran. He likes to portray himself as the King of Arabism – in the same manner as his father – however he has taken the decision to adopt a clear and explicit sectarian approach, choosing sectarianism over pan-Arabism, values of good neighborliness and national interests. It is clear that he has chosen to burn the house down with everyone inside it. The Russians found no problem in backing the Iranian-Syrian alliance because both Bashar al-Assad and Ahmadinejad need one another, and Moscow is well aware that these two parties are in sync and represent the appropriate alliance for this particular situation. For the Russians, this duo could function as a bargaining chip with the West; the Russians can trade on their support for Syria and Iran to bargain over the missile shield that NATO is planning to install in the eastern European states adjacent to the Russian border. Russia considers it rude and impudent for the West to challenge it via states that were once a major part of the Eastern bloc under the Soviet Union.

The Syrian revolution has exposed the false stances, principles and doctrines of certain factions, parties and states whose support of Bashar al-Assad and his criminal regime are totally unjustifiable and indefensible. Russia, and more recently Iran, have provided Bashar al-Assad with shipments of weapons and ammunition for his criminal troops, whilst the rebels are lacking ammunition, weapons and humanitarian relief. The decision to get rid of Bashar al-Assad has yet to be made in Moscow and Tel Aviv. Israel has considerable concerns with regards to the post-Assad era, particularly as there has been an unimaginable level of calm and security in the Golan Heights during the al-Assad era. Indeed, without exaggeration the calm and quiet at the Golan Heights might only be rivaled by Hawaii’s tranquility.

The Syrian scene is deteriorating and day after day. There can be no doubt that we will face a new turning point in the near future, particularly with the increasing state of hopelessness and despair, violence and death. It is very difficult to be optimistic so long as such scenes continue to prevail, however ultimately there is no other option but to be optimistic. The tyrant has delivered his farewell speech, and one day all that will be left of Bashar al-Assad is jokes and painful memories.