Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The envoy who implicated al-Assad and Baghdad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Syrian Ambassador to Iraq’s defection was not only a slap in the face for the tyrant of Damascus; it also came as a blow to Nuri al-Maliki’s government, especially when you take into account the Iraqi president’s famous assessment of the events in Syria, when he said: “It has been one year and the regime did not fall, it will not fall, and why should it fall?”

After Syrian Ambassador Nawaf al-Fares defected, he revealed in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph that the al-Assad regime used to send terrorists to fight the Americans in Iraq and carry out terrorist operations there. It is amazing that al-Fares says he used to oversee this when he was governor of Deir Al-Zour, receiving “verbal commandments” from the al-Assad regime itself, which according to al-Fares had formed an alliance with al-Qaeda! Of course, the Iraqi government immediately felt confused [by this revelation], especially as al-Maliki has been a prominent defender of al-Assad, and Ali al-Moussawi, an advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister, responded by saying: “We will pursue dissident Ambassador Nawaf al-Fares by all means possible, because he covertly facilitated the entry of criminal terrorists [into Iraq]”.

This is an incredible response, and it warrants several questions. Did the Iraqi government have to wait for the dissident ambassador’s revelation in order to know that al-Assad was behind the entry of terrorists into Iraq? Is it conceivable that when the Iraqi government wants to punish those who shed the blood of its citizens, it seeks to prosecute only Ambassador al-Fares, rather than taking a firm stand against the tyrant al-Assad who today is terrorizing his own people? This is unbelievable. Furthermore, ever since Hoshyar Zebari’s comments against al-Assad last week, the Iraqi government has been trying to mitigate the situation and display neutrality towards the Syrian regime, resorting to ridiculous statements about the need for a peaceful solution with al-Assad and ruling out the military option.

Therefore, it is clear that dissident Ambassador Nawaf al-Fares’ comments not only pose a problem for al-Assad, but also for the current Baghdad government blinded by sectarianism and Iranian influence. Iraq refuses to take the righteous stand with the Syrian people against the tyrant al-Assad, who has contributed significantly to instability in Iraq for almost 8 years. Even when al-Fares declares that he witnessed the smuggling of terrorists into Iraq via the Syrian border, under the orders of the al-Assad regime, the Iraqi government announces its intention to hunt down the dissident ambassador, rather than seeking to address the crimes of the al-Assad regime and alleviate the suffering of the Syrians and the wider region!

The truth is that al-Fares’ defection, whatever his previous positions, is an important development and represents a shock to the al-Assad regime, because it opens the door for further divisions within the tyrannical regime’s diplomatic corps, and this can only benefit the Syrian revolution.

The sole defection of a Syrian Ambassador served to confirm al-Assad’s crimes in Iraq and expose al-Maliki’s sectarian government. Imagine what would happen if the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon defected, for example, and what we would learn about al-Assad’s crimes in that country! But what if al-Assad himself were to fall, surely this would mean that our region, and first and foremost the Syrians, would be free from a horrendous, bloodthirsty, criminal regime that has plagued the Middle East for the past 40 years!