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Opinion: Opening a new front against Assad - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Calls for sanctions have made a powerful return to the Arabic political scene. This time they target Iranian and, to a lesser extent, Russian products, as well as companies associated with Hezbollah.

There is a new and increasing conviction that economic punishment is a means of pressure that must be applied effectively. In Kuwait, a populist campaign was launched that called for the boycott of Iranian products. Many traders began to return Iranian commodities to their suppliers.

Because of their support for the bloodthirsty Assad regime—which has now been killing its own people for over two years—Iran, Russia, and the Hezbollah terrorist militias have become overt enemies of the entire Muslim world. They chose to support the bloody regime and, in doing so, became actively hostile to hundreds of millions of Muslims and Arabs.

It was the wrong choice, and it is very clear that a heavy price must be made paid for this decision.

Iran’s economy is suffering as a result of its extraordinary support for Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, a regime which is politically bankrupt, financially ailing, and militarily fatigued. It has got to support him to its last breath, however, to stop the regime from falling.

Iran’s economy is also suffering greatly due to the sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program and its ongoing support for the terrorist Hezbollah militias, which has cost it massively.

The Revolutionary Guard, however, views this as an investment, and a campaign which has persuaded the Arab street that it is a party interested in resistance and its leader is a widely popular leader. But with the militias entering into Syria to fight alongside a despotic regime, and in an abhorrent sectarian manner, the ugly mask has dropped to reveal an even uglier face. It has caused Iran’s investments in Hezbollah disappear, and has turned Hezbollah and its leader into an enemy in the eyes of most Muslims, their politicians and their scholars, and a target on which to wage war, because it is classified as a terrorist and takfiri organization and more importantly, a conspirator.

Now, Iran has entered into an economic confrontation the cost of which will be paid by the public. Despite the development of Iran’s relations with the new regime in Egypt, the scholars there have started warning about the dangers of what Iran was doing in supporting a bloody regime, which has killed Syrians mercilessly for two years.

Iran and Hezbollah’s militias are suffering from color blindness regarding despotism and terrorism. While they looked at Saddam Hussein as a tyrant and a criminal, they did not dare judge Assad in the same way, although all the same attributes apply to him too. It is the despicable sectarianism which has spread in ignorance under the cover of religion, Arabism and resistance.

The boycott of Iran and Russia and Hezbollah gradually enters the serious phase, with the Syrian conflict becoming more intense, and with Hezbollah’s intervention and the increase in the numbers of the dead and injured at the hands of the regime. It is a part of an ugly confrontation, but one that is necessary.

Getting rid of Assad and his regime is clearly difficult and complicated, because he has followers who benefit from his staying in power, because they were part of the fabricated story, which was peddled over many decades, and that makes the price of getting rid of him very high, as high as the damage done by the regime.

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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