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Normalizing relations with the al-Assad regime! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Kuwaiti Football Association recently invited the Syrian national team to play a friendly match in Kuwait, in a move that was met with mass uproar, disbelief and very strong objection. It was a move that provoked the feelings of the bulk of the Kuwaiti people who are supporting the Syrian revolution and the Syrian people, and that is because they consider this invite to be a means of cleaning the image of the al-Assad regime, which is trying to show that everything is normal in Syria, and that there is no revolution or popular demands for regime change.

Sport – and the national football team in particular – is one of the means the regime is exploiting to show this. Today, the overwhelming majority of the Arab world supports the Syrian people and their revolution, and at the same time hates the bloodthirsty al-Assad regime. The Arab world sees Bashar al-Assad as a rapist, a criminal and a murderer, and refuses to grant him or his regime any semblance of legitimacy or recognition. Therefore, any attempt made to engage with the Syrian regime and circumvent this overwhelming feeling of anger among the Arab masses is tantamount to a “normalization of relations”. Yes this may not be the case in reality, but this is how such actions are viewed. The al-Assad regime is still trying, through the media, sports and the economy specifically, to gain a foothold on the international scene and reinforce its existence. It continues to promote, via its various media trumpets, that when the Arabs adopt tough stances against the Syrian regime, they are actually taking a stance against Syria and the resistance. Yet there is a vast difference between Syria, an ancient state with glory and history that goes far beyond individuals or groups, and a regime, or let us say a gang, that has oppressed the Syrian people, extorted their wealth, destroyed their dignity and attacked their property.

Normalizing relations with the al-Assad regime is a serious and critical issue, for it directly helps to support the regime and increase its scope for injustice and tyranny, and by extension murder, torture and destruction. The boycotting of the al-Assad regime must take on more serious and more influential dimensions until all possible air vents are blocked. The al-Assad regime has become and expert and a veteran in penetrating the strongest barriers of international isolation and sanctions, and first and foremost it has the support of the Iranian regime to thank for this.

The Syrian regime, represented by Bashar al-Assad, is the ugly face of Arab politics. It is a symbol of everything that an Arab political system should not be; oppressive, tyrannical, brutal, corrupt and deceitful. It is a grotesque symbol of what we must eradicate. It is a symbol of the scourge that brought us military regimes, conspiring with our enemies to crush our people and plunge them into the darkness of ignorance, poverty and despair.

Syria, during the eras of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad, has transformed into a republic of fear, darkness and ignorance. Surely Bashar cannot be talking about the same country when he speaks of reform, development and hope. The one responsible for all this damage cannot be the key to the solution or the way out of the crisis. The Syrian regime has confronted its people with oppression and it has dangerously incited sedition throughout our region, hence it has become an ethical and humanitarian necessity to mobilize at all levels and block all the air vents through which the al-Assad regime and its men breathe. Any deviation from that aim is tantamount to normalizing relations with this criminal regime and recognizing its legitimacy, something that came to an end completely with the bloodshed of the Syrian victims.

With the continuing scenes of death, destruction and abuse against Syria and its people, the demand to boycott the al-Assad regime seems to be a moral issue with no room for debate. Hope remains that this demand will be escalated more effectively to expel Syria from all organizations and institutions, without exception, for as long as it is represented by a criminal regime, it has no place among nations.

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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