Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria: unprecedented isolation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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I do not think that any Arab regime has faced the amount of abuse that the Syrian regime is facing today domestically, internally, regionally and even internationally, not to mention the Arab League’s position. Here I am not talking about media campaigns, but rather the stances of nations and institutions.

Domestically, Rifaat al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad’s uncle, leaving aside general perceptions about him, issued a potentially dangerous statement. He revealed the reality of the Alawite sect, and the regime’s inner circle, when he said that it is scared, but no one dares to criticize or even split from the regime. He also claimed that the Alawite inner circle fears retribution in the coming phase. Rifaat al-Assad explicitly called upon his nephew to hand power over to the people. The uncle’s comments are the first of their kind, revealing the fear of the ruling sect and the regime’s inner circle.

Domestically in Syria, the slogans condemning the regime have reached an unprecedented level, a level which did not occur even for Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak or Muammar Gaddafi. Being in power denotes a level of prestige of course, but as a senior Arab official told me, with insider knowledge of Syria and its decision making circles, “the gap between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and his opponents is now too great, and is not getting any smaller. It’s as big as the distance between the tongue and the ear!”

On the Arab level, the Arab League is requesting an official apology from the al-Assad regime and its government, not for its lack of protection for Arab embassies, but rather because of “the abusive and non-diplomatic language issued by Syria’s permanent representative to the Arab League council, at the council’s meeting on the 12th November”. This is not all, but it is suffice to consider the comments of a former friend and ally of the al-Assad regime, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, who warned against the regime twisting and distorting Arab League’s decisions, and the agreements it has already made with it!

Moving away from the Arab League, but staying in the Arab domain, Jordan’s ruler King Abdullah II told BBC World News television that if he were al-Assad he would step down from power. This statement is not from an official usually known for his irritability or agitation, but it is a statement issued from an Arab king who has never feared the evils of the al-Assad regime, throughout approximately the last ten years. King Abdullah is known for his wisdom and careful deliberation of everything issued by the al-Assad regime against Jordan, and even the king himself, especially as the al-Assad regime has never acted rationally towards Jordan or its king during that period!

Of course, here we must remember another very important matter, namely the historic address of Saudi Arabia’s monarch, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, on the need to stop the Syrian killing machine, an expression that has become prevalent today. This is also not to mention the withdrawal of the Saudi ambassador from Damascus, before that of the United States and France.

There is also the escalating Turkish stance, which has now reached the extent that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, a former ally of the al-Assad regime, now disrespectfully addresses President al-Assad by his first name. Of course, there are also the European and American stances. Thus, after considering all of the above, all that remains for the al-Assad regime now is for the curtain to be brought down, nothing more and nothing less, whether sooner or later.