Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Why Syria and not Bahrain? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Those who defended the Syrian regime after its excessive killing and intimidation are in a renewed state of bewilderment. They have failed to understand how comparing the Syrian revolution to the events that took place in Bahrain has been perceived as a mere falsification campaign, which is both obscene and amusing.

We say to those people that they should use a pen and paper to record their facts, in case rationality deserts them as in this case. On the third day of protests in Bahrain, the King issued a speech on the official [state] television channel, in which he expressed his regret for and mourned the deaths of three people, and formed an official investigation committee. In Syria, on the other hand, President Bashar al-Assad came out after weeks of protests and after dozens of deaths only to call the protesters “conspirators.” In Bahrain, the Crown Prince held a dialogue with the opposition and announced seven principles covering most of the protesters’ demands. In Syria, al-Assad described the protesters as “germs”, and accused them of having ties to foreign agendas. Meanwhile, the regime’s tools for oppression and destruction continued to claim lives, the number of which was now reaching the hundreds. In Bahrain, even when demands had transformed into calls to overthrow the monarchy, and the security forces removed protesters from Pearl Square, tear gas was used to disperse protesters and the operation resulted in three fatalities. In Syria, the security forces destroyed cities, villages and squares on a daily basis, killing dozens everyday (it killed 15 people yesterday for example). They use tanks and gunboats to shell houses, and even mosques have not been spared the bombardment.

One of the most important comparisons between what happened in Bahrain and what is still happening in Syria is that the events in Bahrain left 32 protesters and members of the security forces dead, whilst the number in Syria has reached over 2200 so far. Moreover, in Bahrain the opposition is still fiercely criticising the authorities and holding press conferences in the Bahraini capital Manama to attack government measures. In Syria who can utter a single word against the oppression and intimidation being carried out by the authorities and the Shabiha?

There is no doubt that even those in charge of the demonstrations in Bahrain are well aware of the difference between the situations in Bahrain and Syria; they are highlighting the similarities for political gains and nothing else. This can be understood; however what we cannot comprehend is why some media outlets and parties outside of Bahrain insist on this naiveté in discussing the two cases. In fact even after Bahrain formed an impartial international committee to investigate the facts, and the King pardoned whoever called for and worked towards overthrowing the monarchy, this irrational connection has still continued. Can the Syrians even imagine for example that al-Assad would form an international committee to investigate the facts? This would be impossible for such an oppressive regime, and al-Assad is well aware that the number of scandals would be sky high if he were to form such a committee.

All that is left to say to those who are happy to compare the Bahraini and Syrian situations is that the king of Bahrain is not the head of a republic, so he cannot implement the calls of hundreds of people to overthrow his monarchy. Likewise, the al-Assad family are not royalty, and so they cannot remain heads of the Syrian republic forever!