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The Assad regime and the wisdom of Muawiyya! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Bouthaina Shaaban, advisor to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, appeared on the BBC and attacked the US and its ambassador to Damascus, following his recent visit to Hama. However, Shaaban then added, “Syria does not want to cut Muawiyya’s hair with the US administration!”

Glory be to God! Is the Syrian regime – a close ally of Iran – only now remembering the wisdom of Muawiyya? Has Muawiyya’s wisdom only now become an objective for the Assad regime, which has not missed a single opportunity to eradicate the features of Muawiyya, and others, from the history of Syria? If the regime and the president’s advisors truly understood the wisdom of Muawiyya and his famous dictum that reads “even if there is one hair binding me to my people, it will not break; when they pull, I will loosen, and if they loosen, I will pull,” then the regime would not have cut the binding hair between it and its defenceless people, who demanded nothing but their rights to be respected and to be protected. Moreover, if the regime understood the wisdom of Muawiyya’s hair, then it would not have killed approximately 72 Syrian children!

If the regime truly believed in Muawiyya’s dictum, then the people of Hama would have enjoyed the protection of the Syrian security services, rather than the American ambassador. One of our readers was absolutely correct when he commented on the Syrian regime on our website, in response to the news that the regime had criticised the American ambassador for visiting Hama: “Isn’t this the ambassador who [Syria] worked hard to reinstate to Damascus? Isn’t this the ambassador who Obama sent, bypassing Congress?” Then the reader added, “It seems that the magic has turned on the magician!”

The problem for the Syrian regime is that it is dealing with its domestic situation using the same methods it has used over the past four decades i.e. tricks and promises. Moreover, the regime is dealing with the Syrians today using the same methods that it used, and still uses, in Lebanon and in the wider region: promises, blackmail, deception and shuffling the cards. The Syrian regime has never shown to have honoured a promise except in one rare case, namely [achieving] calm on the Syrian-Israeli borders. When the regime wanted to break that promise (when it sent Palestinians to the border a few weeks ago) it gave a semi-notification to the Israelis through Rami Makhlouf, who said that Israel would not be secure unless Syria is secure. Apart from this case, Damascus, over the past ten years in particular, has not fulfilled the promises it made internally or externally!

It is sad that Damascus, and of course Syria as a whole, is rich in history, experience and intellect, which could make the country more civilised, more humane and merciful towards it citizens, and more rational politically like Muawiyya Ibn Abi Sufyan and not Bouthaina Shaaban. However, the regime has opted to make Syria just another tale of torture and repression in our modern history! There is a striking difference in outlook and appearance between the few defending the Assad regime in the Western media today and those protesting against it, and that is another story altogether…but what I want to say here is that if the regime truly understood the wisdom of Muawiyya, then Syria and the Syrians would not have reached the state they are in today, and the Syrians would not have sought protection in the US ambassador, especially as they were wholeheartedly against America when it occupied Iraq. Today however they are throwing flowers at the US ambassador in their own country. It really is astonishing how things change!

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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