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Syria…do you want to laugh? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Certainly, the Arab citizen was in dire need of some laughter, and then the following news item appeared: The Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, said that his country has close ties to the Syrian regime, but “these relations do not prevent Khartoum from expressing its views…and we are talking about the necessity of reform in Syria”.

Thus President Omar al-Bashir urged Bashar al-Assad about the need for reform, and he went further to say that “stability in Syria and its security in relation to Sudan is vital, but this can only be realized through a government that is linked to its base [lit. al-Qaeda in Arabic]”. Of course, by mentioning “base” here al-Bashir was not talking about the al-Qaeda organization, but rather the citizens and the people, yet this statement was issued by a president who came to power via a military coup. Al-Bashir has spent over two decades in power, and Sudan has been divided during his reign. He is currently being pursued by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, whilst in his country around a million have died as a result of wars and campaigns of suppression, whether in Darfur or elsewhere. Most of his political opponents are either detained, being prosecuted or under threat, yet here he is offering advice to Bashar al-Assad, even demanding reforms and stressing that the Damascus government must stem from the people!

Indeed, the greatest misfortune is the one that makes you laugh, and I cannot think of a place in the world where there are as many tragic comedies as in our region. What was particularly depressing, and funny, both in equal measure, was when the Sudanese President said: “We are [present] in Syria, through the Commission observers to convey the reality of the situation and we are definitely with the Syrian people. We want security and stability for Syria, as it is a very important country among the Frontline States”. [By stating he is present in Syria] al-Bashir means he is presiding over the Sudanese General Mustafa al-Dabi’s delegation of Arab observers in Syria, a delegation that recently attended some of the funerals held by the al-Assad regime for those who it claims died from suicide bombings, carried out last Friday in Damascus, attacks which the Syrian opposition claims were organized by the regime itself. If the main task of the Arab observers is not to stop the killings and protect the civilians, and they – i.e. the observers – are not required to make any statements from within Syria, then is the core of their work to serve the al-Assad regime? Is the presidency of this Arab delegation something to be proud of? This is especially as al-Dabi’s team say that the observation mission may be take a long time, he even hinted at years, referring to the missions undertaken by monitoring committees in Sudan, which have continued since 2004 up to this day!

This is both laughable and lamentable, and this is the least that can be said. But God help the unarmed Syrians, so long as the Arab League’s messenger is Khaled Mishal, and the head of the observer delegation is an intelligence officer of the Sudanese President, who is busy lecturing about the need for reform, and the need for the government to stem from the people. This alone is the height of comedy, but no doubt there are just as many tears as there are laughs. Likewise, what is being done with regards to Syria, on the Arab level, makes one feel sad for the state of Arab diplomacy, and especially towards those who have the ability to do something but are standing by watching a crisis plague an Arab country that has been hijacked by Iran, and is being manipulated today by those who have not achieved a single accomplishment in their political lives.

What a shame!

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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