Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Waiting for the Final Scene | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Graffiti of a Syrian opposition flag. (REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

The amount of concern, fear, blood, damage and destruction in Syria seem to be commensurate with the gravity of the problem as well as with the price Syrians have paid over the last 40 years. Syrians have suffered badly from injustice, corruption, tyranny and the deceit of Assad’s regime, which ruled the country for more than four decades with an iron fist. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that several heterogeneous parties rush to the rescue of this regime; although they seemingly contradict each other, Assad’s international supporters agree that the dictator remaining in power is vital to achieving their major and dynamic interests in the region.

Russia finds in the Syrian regime a chance to secure a last foothold for its weaponry and intelligence operations. As for Iran, it sees the Syrian regime as an infant it has nurtured over the past years. Syria’s loyalty to Iran became manifest when it turned its back on the slogans of pan-Arabism and the principles of secularism, preferring to side with Iran—a fully-fledged sectarian state—in its war on Iraq, a Ba’athist Arab country.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, overtly admits his military support, in both weapons and soldiers, to the Assad regime, dispatching a large number of Hezbollah’s militias to Syria to support Assad’s regime in crushing the rebels. By doing so, Nasrallah is executing the orders of the Iranian government and the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, whom Nasrallah has admitted he considers an authority on several occasions.

The same applies to Israel: it enjoys a unique state of frank cooperation with the Assad regime, creating a state of neither war nor peace between the two countries. This cooperation, however, led to a special state that can be likened to cold peace, with public negotiations between the two countries being held under the auspices of the US. This led to what is termed the “Rabin Deposit.” After the deaths of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Hafez Al-Assad, several rounds of negotiations, both public and secret, were resumed under Turkish auspices. These negotiations aimed to consolidate peace and full recognition between the two countries. However, some of the details postponed the announcement of the negotiations.

Hence, the recent Israeli airstrikes on Syria were extremely surprising. There is no reason for Israel to attack the Assad regime, which has ensured the safety of Israeli borders in Golan Heights, a thing unlikely to happen between warring states. However, things can be explained differently: Israel repeatedly announced that it will never let the Assad regime’s arms fall into the hands of the opposition fighters, whose intentions it does not “trust.” In other words, Israel is “certain” about Assad’s intentions and trusts him fully; however, the airstrike targeted a shipment of Assad’s weapons that Israel feared would fall into the hands of the rebels.

Extremely confident that the reaction of both Assad and his regime would amount to nothing more than empty statements, the following day Netanyahu calmly headed to China and Russia, two of Assad’s major supporters in his struggle to suppress the uprising in Syria. Of course, the purpose of Netanyahu’s visits was to explain to Russia and China the motives of the airstrike on Syria, to which they did not even object.

The presence of extremists, Takfiris, terrorists and foreign militants—and the mercenary and sectarian groups like the Al-Nusra Front and Hezbollah—must definitely further complicate the situation in Syria.

The recent Russian–American talks are on course for a transitional solution for Syria where the Assad family is replaced by the new rulers, maintaining Moscow’s interests. Nevertheless, after breaking the fear barrier, the Syrian rebels can still be relied on.

Assad’s regime, which once wore the disguise of pan-Arabism, resistance and secularism, has been finally exposed—revealing an awful reality of lies, sectarianism, tyranny and corruption.

What is going on in Syria now is a battle between freedom and slavery, right and wrong, and good and evil. No matter how much time the battle takes, we know which side will eventually prevail. Everyone is eager to watch the long-awaited final scene, when the dictator and his criminal regime fall.