Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Clinton and the Psyche of the Syrian Leadership | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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When the US is asking Syria to distance itself from Iran, as stated by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, without offering in exchange a serious vision to solve some of Syria’s problems, the biggest of which is the problem of the Golan Heights, then that means that the US wants Syria to sacrifice some of its ties in exchange for nothing.

I expected the Syrian reaction to the American request that was brought into the limelight by Hillary Clinton without taking into consideration the psyche of the Syrian leadership. As a result, I was not surprised by the level of sarcasm in the reaction from Bashar al Assad, who, in the presence of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, said: “We have met today to sign a separation agreement,” and “we must have misunderstood because of bad translation or our limited understanding, so we signed the agreement to cancel the visas.” No one expected that Syria, or any other [state], would approve of other people determining how much it can distance itself from or bring itself closer to others, especially as the US Secretary of State used a language that was unacceptable to those who are against US domination who are convinced that America is no longer in possession of all the regional cards and believe that time has firmly consolidated the idea that it is incapable of influencing Israel’s decisions, and this is a matter that has put the US in a series of embarrassing [situations] with regional countries.

It is wrong to think that Syria is preserving its ties with Iran at this critical stage of Iran’s relationship with the West because of economic interests, as the level of mutual trade between Syria and Iran does not exceed 350 million dollars, in addition to Iranian investments that are estimated at around one billion and a half dollars in the fields of the automotive industry and silos. These are very modest figures and they will not rise to become the decisive factor in this relationship (which I believe was born out of Syrian despair over a period of more than 40 years) so that the US can play a fair and objective role to solve the problems of its territories occupied by Israel. In this kind of climate, this relationship with Iran or anyone else can be understood, and the US, which seems hurt by this relationship, must review its own accounts and policies and its political discourse away from dictating orders and imposing what it wants on others. The world has changed and the time has come for the US to listen to the fair demands of Arabs.