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Syria: The Patriarch following Nasrallah! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Last September, Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi said that he hoped that “al-Assad will be given more chances to implement the reforms he already launched” adding that al-Assad was “open-minded and familiar with Western practices…but he cannot work miracles.” These statements were issued one year ago; however it seems that today the Patriarch’s view of al-Assad has changed significantly!

Today, Patriarch al-Rahi asserted that “the Christians are not concerned with the regime, they are concerned with stability in Syria.” The difference between the Patriarch’s statements one year ago and today is that today’s statements do not contain any equivocation. Last year, the Patriarch was saying: we do not support the regime, however al-Assad is open-minded, and he is protecting the minorities. Whereas today he is saying that he does not support the al-Assad regime, but rather Syrian stability. This means that the Patriarch is now convinced – in the same manner as Hassan Nasrallah – of the approaching fall of the tyrant of Damascus, and that there is no point defending him, particularly after all of this blood has been shed, not to mention the destruction and devastation that has spread across Syria at the hands of al-Assad.

For more than a year, we – and many others – have said that what is happening in Syria is not a Sunni revolution, or the targeting of minorities but rather that the Syrian revolution is the truest and most noble regional revolution; a revolution against a tyrant and his criminal regime that has targeted all religions and sects, in the same manner that it targeted the people of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. This is a regime that employs deception and lies, utilizing this as one of its most prominent political tools. However the Maronite Patriarch, along with Hezbollah, as well as Russia, were standing on the wrong side of the divide, supporting and justifying a murderous regime under the pretext of protecting the minorities and out of fear of the Islamists rising to power in Syria. The Maronite Patriarch previously stated, in one of his statements defending the al-Assad regime, that “the Syrian regime is the closest thing to democracy” and that one of the positives of the al-Assad regime is that it is one of the only Arab regimes that does not declare itself an Islamic state. However now that circumstances have changed the Maronite Patriarch is saying that he does not support the Syrian regime, but rather stability!

Of course, anybody monitoring the situation in Syria cannot just denounce the positions taken by Russia, Patriarch al-Rahi and Hezbollah, but also some of the secret western positions which have demonstrated reluctance to deal with the Syrian crisis under the pretext of concern over the minorities. There can be no doubt that we must protect the minorities, and preserve their rights throughout the region; however it is suspicions that the issue of protecting the minorities is only raised when we are talking about Syria. When we say this is “suspicions”, this is for a very simple reason. Isn’t it striking that the Christians lived in a state of stability under the Saddam Hussein regime whilst they are going through the worst suffering today in the US – Iranian Iraq, particularly as the Patriarch himself said, in his latest interview, that “when Saddam Hussein was removed, we lost a million Christians.” This is not all; is it reasonable that there is no mosque for the Sunnis in Tehran? And why was Washington not concerned about the fate of Egypt’s Christians following the ouster of Mubarak?

Many questions, however the important thing is that the masks have fallen, and the lies of the “resistance” and concern over the fate of the minorities have been exposed. Therefore, what remains for those who are exercising hypocrisy regarding the Syrian crisis, particularly after the minorities have begun to distance themselves from the al-Assad regime?

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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