Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: The Syrian tragedy and international double standards | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man with blood stained hand reacts at a damaged site after what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, in Masaken Hanano neighbourhood in Aleppo December 22, 2013 (REUTERS/Hosam Katan).

The Syrian tragedy will eventually come to an end. No one can predict when, or the numbers of deaths, displaced, handicapped and psychologically damaged people it will leave in its wake. Historians and analysts will then join efforts and produce books and novels to fill library shelves. The stories will include details on the lamentation of mothers and the crying of children. No single person will be identified as being solely responsible for the tragedy. They are all partners in crime, and the responsibilities will be divided accordingly.

If directing accusations and identifying responsibilities amid the tears and the ruins is pointless, one should at least hold the main players accountable for their role in this catastrophe. The response of the international community has been poor and mean. The prime roles go to the Russian Veto, which has never been used with such ferocity in the history of the UN Security Council, and to the concurring Chinese Veto. Both have been met with American weakness, and souvenir pictures taken at international conferences held by the Friends of Syria Group, invariably characterized by a victory thumbs-up.

All these countries have betrayed the Syrian people and left them to die. The Russians have played the most important role. They are the ones to blame the most, not because they bombed people, but because they failed to constrain and advise the regime—and Iran—that the conflict might not spare anything for the opposing parties to benefit from.

It is difficult to rank the responsibilities, and the extent of the treachery and betrayal, of each actor, but it is definitely Putin’s Russia that comes at the top of the list of the international community’s double standards. It bears the responsibility of the tragic amount of deaths because of its double-sided and ambiguous rhetoric. No less ambiguous is the US policy towards the conflict, which reflected the hesitation of the Barack Obama administration in the face of one of the most dangerous challenges to international order.

The biggest humanitarian tragedy of this century will be reduced to archives in the Kremlin and classified American files, which will be uncovered in thirty years or so.

Where is Ahmet Davutoğlu, the foreign affairs minister who inspired the modern Turkey—is he hiding his analyses of the region and its politics? And where did the enthusiasm of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his fierce speeches disappear to? All are leaving the destiny of the country they participated in destroying in the hands of “Geneva II”. As if “Geneva I” has not caused enough damage already! It is almost like the world has relieved its guilty conscience and left it in the hands of UN peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.