Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran backs the regime at the expense of the Syrian people | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Iranian Ambassador in Damascus, Ahmed al Moussawi, has announced his country’s support for the Syrian regime, which is normal. However, what was not normal was his attack on the Syrian people, who came out to demonstrate in several Syrian cities, demanding reform and the ending of the longest-standing emergency law in the region.

The Iranian Ambassador, speaking at a conference entitled “The Islamic Awakening and Confronting Strife in Syria”, which was being held in Damascus, said that “the events taking place in Syria have been prepared and planned by enemies to replicate the civil strife experienced by Iran, especially the slogans echoed by protestors in Daraa, such as “No Hezbollah and No Iran”. This means that the source stems from the enemy, where external agents are receiving orders from enemies and Zionists!”

Here we must stop to examine several points. Firstly, the title of the conference itself is contradictory, for what is this “Islamic awakening” in a secular state, ruled by the Baath party? Secondly, the Syrian authorities came out in the media to do the impossible, and deny that the people in Daraa shouted “No Hezbollah and No Iran”. Yet here is the Iranian Ambassador himself confirming the opposite! This slogan is highly significant, especially in the game of majority and minority, and the sectarian dimension in Syria. The other matter of course is the Iranian Ambassador attacking the demonstrators and branding them as agents of enemies and Zionists, whilst we find that the Syrian President himself has begun to receive delegations from the troubled areas, including social activists from Hasaka province. The Syrian regime has also began talking about reforms, and a Syrian official told AFP yesterday that “There will be an extraordinary (parliament) session from May 2 to 6 in which social and political laws will be adopted in line with the reforms desired by the head of state”.

Is it conceivable that Damascus would respond to the demands of the “agents of enemies and Zionists”, and declare its intention to abolish the emergency law, for example? Let us consider that Turkey, a friend of Syria, has urged Damascus to enact reforms, and quickly. The day before yesterday, a senior Turkish source told our newspaper, when commenting on[Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu’s visit to Damascus, saying that Ankara “wants reforms to be put in place in accordance with the desires of the people”, expressing “disappointment” that the measures promised by the Syrian President had not been accelerated. The Turkish official revealed that the message Davutoğlu carried to Damascus was that “leaders must act with greater courage than the people”, calling on “leaders to listen to the voices of the masses, and not take the demonstrations lightly and resist change, but rather move towards this change”. Is it conceivable that Turkey has done all this, despite its interests in Syria, and the sensitivity of the Kurdish issue, only to serve the agents of the enemy and Zionists?

It is a sad state of affairs for Iranian diplomacy to descend to this level, but the magnitude of Iranian hypocrisy with regards to our region is astonishing. How can it explain its attacks on the Syrian people, compared to what it says and does in Bahrain for example? When the all sects of the Syrian community come out to demonstrate, they become traitors and foreign agents, yet when Bahrain’s Shia population comes out in protest, they are freedom fighters?

It’s clear that sedation follows Iran where ever it goes, and this is evident in Tehran’s dealings with Syria under the principle: support the regime and attack the people.