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Syria…the doomsday scenario - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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One “analyst” from the Syrian regime, speaking on the “al-Arabiya” satellite channel, said that the fall of the regime in Damascus would be a doomsday scenario for the region. He even described how he envisioned the scene in Iraq, for example, with the withdrawal of American troops from there at the end of the year. Of course, we do not know whether this is an analysis, or a threat, but it is certainly a superficial assessment!

With the outbreak of demonstrations in the majority of Syrian cities, the facts in the region say the opposite. When the Syrian relationship with Hamas deteriorated, for example, the inter-Palestinian reconciliation crisis improved, and the two sides convened in Cairo. Now the Hezbollah government in Lebanon has come to a standstill, and now there is talk of a Lebanese national unity government. The leaders of Hezbollah remain holed up waiting for the [outcome] of the situation in Syria. In the event that Hezbollah decided to open a front against Israel, to lift the pressure on the Syrian regime, this would be a grave mistake, for there is no Arab country today that is able to manipulate international positions to stop Israeli aggression, everyone is busy with their domestic concerns, including Iran.

It was strange that the “analyst” in Damascus talked about the situation in Iraq, in the event of the fall of the Syrian regime, and not about the situation in his own country. Which is more important, the demands of the Syrian people or the situation in Iraq? How will Syria influence Iraq in the event of regime change or overthrow, when Iraq did not influence the internal Syrian scene, its population, and all its ramifications, after the fall of Saddam Hussein and military action? It is a problem that the Syrian regime is neglecting internal demands by trying to use every foreign affairs card to strengthen its regime.

When the Europeans issued a list of sanctions targeting 13 Syrian individuals, the Syrian presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban was right when she suggested to the New York Times newspaper that the regime could overcome such punishments. In the event that the Syrian regime is able to fully suppress the demonstrations, which is what it is doing now, it would be quite easy then to rid itself of the American and European sanctions. All it takes is to fabricate a crisis in Lebanon, or elsewhere, such as Palestine, or Iraq, and when the West comes to negotiate with Damascus, they will have to prove their good intentions, and that means lifting sanctions. This is simple, and Damascus has done it repeatedly, most prominently during the negotiations with the Americans to adjust the Syrian-Iraqi border. We still see the U.S. ambassador in Damascus, not even intending to withdraw, in spite of all that is happening in Syria.

What is most alarming is that despite the death toll in Syria reaching nearly 800 casualties, the thousands of arrests, tanks still roaming the streets, and innocent people imprisoned in sporting venues, being tortured to reveal their Facebook passwords, despite all this, Syria is still a candidate to obtain a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Why not, as long as this depressing Arab and international silence continues, especially from the U.S, and as long as Israel is satisfied, although the safety of its borders is guaranteed by a truce, not a peace agreement with Damascus!

Thus, the talk of doomsday is superficial. Our region, for more than five decades, has been living in the hell of war and underdevelopment.

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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