Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria and Skype diplomacy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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At a time when the Syrian people are making amazing sacrifices to withstand the al-Assad killing machine, which is working to demolish everything in Syria just so that the tyrant of Damascus can remain in power, the Americans, as revealed by Asharq Al-Awsat in today’s edition, are communicating with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) via Skype!

Remarkably, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has also communicated with the FSA via Skype, so is this really what is needed? Can we say this is sufficient to do justice to the Syrian revolution, where nearly 30,000 people have died at the hands of the al-Assad regime, not to mention all those missing or displaced, and all the destruction? Of course not, what is required is to support the FSA militarily. This is not to fuel the conflict as some – led by Moscow – claim, but rather to accelerate the inevitable fall of what remains of the al-Assad regime, which doesn’t hesitate to use all forms of violence. Supporting the FSA, specifically with anti-aircraft weaponry, is what will put an end to the al-Assad regime that now relies solely on its air deterrence. The FSA is battling with al-Assad’s forces in the majority of Syrian cities, and al-Assad has lost control of the ground.

It is noteworthy today that despite the lack of military support for the FSA, the rebels are fighting al-Assad’s forces – which are backed financially and militarily by the Russians and the Iranians – in every direction and on several open fronts, with remarkable courage. Hence it is surprising that [international] communication with the FSA is only being conducted via Skype, when what is required is qualitative military support. What I have heard from those familiar with the course of events on the ground is that once qualitative military support arrives, specifically anti-aircraft weaponry, projections indicate a quick resolution to the conflict, especially, as I noted above, because al-Assad’s forces rely on the air force. The FSA’s attempts to bring down al-Assad’s warplanes are hit and miss at best, but this would not be the case if they were in possession of capable weapons. Currently, the regime’s air force is setting Syrian cities ablaze in an act of madness, which only indicates al-Assad’s desperation.

As is well known, and was confirmed to me by informed sources, Washington will not move until after the forthcoming election, which is what I discussed last week. However, we cannot abandon the Syrians and the FSA, at a time when al-Assad is stepping up his military operations largely in a hope of achieving progress on the ground before the US elections, with Russian and Iranian support. In turn, this requires the friends of Syria to provide qualitative military support for the FSA, under the clear supervision of what must be a joint operations room for all active participants, not one for each state or team. Yes, there must be an operations room and clear military support, not communication via Skype. Al-Assad does not use Facebook to suppress the revolution; he kills and destroys using every criminal method.

Thus we must respond on the ground and support the FSA, but Skype should be left to friends and acquaintances.