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Syria: America and terrorism - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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There is no doubt that everyone who cares for the Syrian state, and everyone who sympathizes with the Syrian revolution, is aware of the danger of the outbreak of terrorism there. The wise have warned, since the start of the Syrian revolution, of that danger. However it is striking today that Washington has announced it has put Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant group fighting in Syria, on its terrorism black list. Here some might ask, what is strange about this?

What is strange of course is that Washington put this militant group on its black list before formally recognizing the most important group in Syria in the first place, namely the Syrian opposition coalition. Of course, we always expected the US to recognize the Syrian National Coalition, but this recognition should have come earlier. This is what wise have called for since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, i.e. for Washington to take the initiative and move closer to the Syrian opposition, specifically the Free Syrian Army. With the existence of a clear and coherent revolutionary body, the level of terrorism and terrorists will decrease in Syria. However, with the continuing brutal crimes of the al-Assad regime, no one should be surprised by extremism, even among moderates. The deaths of over 40,000 people can cause even the most rational Syrians to lose their minds.

Therefore it would have been better for Washington to take the initiative quickly, as the Arabs and Europeans did, by recognizing the Syrian National Coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people earlier. This would have cut off the road for terrorism and terrorists today, and perhaps even after the fall of al-Assad. Of course there is no guarantee that terrorist groups won’t appear after the fall of al-Assad, but at least the rational Syrian bloc will have the upper hand by then, being a strong and internationally recognized force, and will be able to defeat these terrorists.

Washington has been late to adopt effective solutions in Syria, and the price to be paid for that is an increase in terrorism. What complicates matters especially is that Washington has shown great concern for minorities in Syria, at a time when the majority is suffering from al-Assad’s hell. The issue here is not one of minority versus majority; rather it is a case of a lack of clarity in the US vision towards Syria. There is a glaring contradiction between Washington [seeking to protect minorities in Syria] and its previous stances in Iraq, for example, and the well-known story of minorities and majorities there, and likewise its stance towards the proposed Egyptian constitution, despite the objection of minorities a substantial segment of Egyptian civil society. What the region needs, from all the key international players including America, is help in consolidating stability, on equal and fair terms across the entire Middle East. These terms are necessary; they are not a novelty, and they include the preservation of rights for all and the protection of the state. The break-up of region’s countries would have dire consequences for the security of the region and the international community, as well as for those seeking to defend the oppressed. Yet the Syrian case represents the most flagrant example of US inaction. It is not conceivable for al-Assad to kill his own people while America merely talks about protecting minorities and places a militant Syrian group on its terrorism blacklist before fully recognizing the Syrian National Coalition.

This article is not a message of support for Jabhat al-Nusra, rather I am trying to say in clear language that it would have been better for the US to fully recognize the Syrian National Coalition earlier. As soon as you acknowledge the existence of the wise you reduce the risk of evil, wherever you are.

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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