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Damascus…Roaring or Moaning? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Saudi Arabia is currently on the receiving end of an organized media smear campaign courtesy of figures affiliated with the Syrian regime in Lebanon. The faces remain the same, despite the changes in pretexts or the deterioration in dialogue.

The current attack is being spearheaded by Farouk Al-Shara, Hezbollah’s Satellite Channel and other figures affiliated with Syria on a number of Lebanese media outlets. A similar occurrence happened during last year’s thirty-six day war, with all its lies and exposed schemes.

Such a matter cannot be explained apart from for the obvious isolation of Syria, which since last year’s war has revealed its agenda as nothing more then just rhetoric and a desperate desire to occupy Lebanon, even if it were only on a moral level.

Another reason is the approaching date of the International Tribunal that will prosecute suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and above all is Syria’s failure in reaching a consensus with Saudi Arabia in a manner only satisfactory to Syria, which in turn would threaten the stability of Lebanon.

Syria’s problem is that it has tightened the noose around its neck in an unbearable manner, leaving it no choice but to launch this verbal attack on Saudi Arabia.

Another predicament Damascus found itself in is its failed attempt to engage the Americans in open dialogue. Syria believed that it had the tools with which to barter with concerning the Iraqi crises, but that has also failed.

What the Syrian regime failed to realize is that it has become a political tool in the hands of Tehran in the region and not a key player as some might claim. Even Iranian-Saudi conflicts which are substantial and profound, have never stooped to the level manifested by Syria’s behavior.

Despite Syrian-Saudi differences, they are not as complex or as entangled as Tehran’s differences are with Riyadh, yet such conduct is far from acceptable Stately behavior. This is a result of the current position Syria finds itself in; no longer holding any cards and having already aggravated the situation in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. Even the Iran-sponsored Hezbollah has never expressed its discord with Saudi Arabia in the same manner as Syria has.

I do not think that Syria has reached the highest possible level of frustration here; in fact it will continue to grow for several reasons ,The Iranian issue is escalating along with Washington’s old convictions that Tehran and its affiliates in Iraq and Lebanon are the real enemies and that Syria and Hezbollah are its major tools. Moreover the latest decisions taken by the US president against Syria and the failure of Damascus in its attempts to initiate political dialogue with the United States has also added fuel to the fire. Also the international tribunal that was set up to try the suspects in the murder of Rafik Hariri has become a reality, while Syria’s opposition in Lebanon grows powerful, whether Syria and Hezbollah’s followers continue their sit-in demonstrations or have opted to go home.

After deliberately sabotaging the Mecca agreement between the Palestinians and isolating Hamas in Gaza, nothing much has changed and no one has sought asylum with Khaled Meshaal in Damascus. In fact Gaza had become a new dilemma for Hamas and its followers, especially with the announcement of the up coming talks designed to tackle the Palestinian crisis.

One cannot turn a blind eye to all these indicators which stress that Syria’s actions are not based on a lucid vision, but rather a hostile policy of pushing things to the abyss. In fact such indicators are better viewed from a symbolic lens, as if Damascus were screaming in agony after burning itself while playing with fire.

I do not think that Damascus is roaring as much as it is moaning from a multitude of incorrect decisions and policies coming from all directions!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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