The interview with Syrian president Bashar al Assad on Dubai TV on Wednesday confirmed his regime’s isolation on the international, regional and Arab levels. It also revealed the outlines of confusion inside the country. The Syrian president is well aware that what took place in Lebanon was a catastrophe, irrespective of how often he speaks of a “strategic victory”. As such, Syria does not have the right to expect peace negotiations.
The latest confrontation with Hezbollah will prompt Israel to re-examine how to heap more destruction for the least amount of losses, not to re-examine whether to fight Lebanon or other countries. Israel continues to control Lebanese airspace, as the Emir of Qatar, who joined the “strategic victory” camp indicated, when he revealed he had to obtain permission from Israel to fly into Beirut, from where he announced the Arab world had long awaited Hezbollah’s victory! What victory is that?
Syria’s isolation did not start with the occupation of Iraq or the latest war in Lebanon, or even Assad’s speech were he opened fire on everyone and spoke about half men, its isolation began when the Lebanese constitution was amended and president Lahoud’s term was extended. This isolation increased as errors multiplied in quick succession.
Despite Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, standing with Syria and supporting its stability, manifested in the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri and the subsequent investigation, the Syrian regime grew accustomed to committing mistakes, thereby strengthening its isolation. If proof were needed, the German foreign minister canceled a scheduled visit to Damascus, following the speech on advice and lessons!
Evidently, the televised interview will have repercussions. Assad’s statements on Qatar’s sincerity have burnt bridges, even if discussions and visits are to resume. His statements will have an impact, especially as Syria sees no damage in the Israeli trade office in Qatar but sees that some of the symbols of the parliamentary majority in Lebanon are an Israeli creation!
As for the internal confusion in Syria, Assad’s justification for the lack of fighting to liberate the Golan Heights, and the reliance on Hezbollah in an attempt to liberate occupied land, the president replied that states, or regular armies, do not wage uncalculated or unequal wars! The president blamed the Syrian people for not resisting and said that the resistance was a popular decision not one for the state to make. Therefore, according to Assad’s statements, the Syrian nation is reluctant to defend its country! This is an incitement against the people; what if an attack occurred in the Golan Heights and Israel moved against Syria? Can the president support a Syrian resistance with the same enthusiasm as Hezbollah? Will he place behind him the Syrian flag and that of the Syrian resistance?
Much can be said about the interview. It was saddening and depressing. As much as it revealed an unknown future for Syria, it exposed the remains of a fake Arab media, which forges the truth and reports failure and defeat.