Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The gift of a ceasefire for al-Assad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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As expected, UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi could not achieve anything noteworthy in his shuttle tour of the countries of the region, including Syria of course, where the envoy failed to convince the tyrant of Damascus Bashar al-Assad to agree to an Eid al-Adha truce, with al-Assad instead putting forth his own conditions as usual.

Mr. Brahimi, from Damascus, after his meeting with al-Assad, said: “I appeal to everyone to take a unilateral decision to cease hostilities on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and that this truce be respected from today or tomorrow”, adding that the call was addressed to “every Syrian, on the street, in the village, fighting in the regular army and its opponents”! Meanwhile, al-Assad told Brahimi that “any initiative or political process should be essentially based on the principle of halting terrorism and what is required in this regard from the countries involved in supporting, arming and harboring the terrorists in Syria (is) to halt such acts”. This means, in plain and explicit language, far from the language of diplomacy, that Mr. Brahimi has failed to prompt al-Assad to accept the truce that has been promoted over the past few days, and now the UN-Arab League envoy is calling on all parties to volunteer their acceptance “unilaterally”. This is not an initiative; rather it is merely a truce of those willing to implement a ceasefire!

The truth is that this does not only signify the failure of Lakhdar Brahimi, but also the call for the rebels to unilaterally adhere to a ceasefire is tantamount to an Eid al-Adha gift to Bashar al-Assad, who is still imposing his conditions, not on the Syrian rebels but on the whole world, at a time when everyone should be seeking to bring al-Assad to the International Criminal Court. Thus, after the failure of Mr. Brahimi’s initiative to apply an Eid al-Adha truce, it is clear today, just as it was clear long ago, that all solutions have failed with the tyrant of Damascus. Even the Turkish Foreign Minister himself has acknowledged that Syria is now beyond the Yemeni solution. This means that the Turkish Foreign Minister has retracted his previous talk about the possibility of Farouk al-Shara being an alternative for al-Assad.

Now we see Lebanon being blown away by sectarian winds, against the backdrop of the terrorist operation that targeted the intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan. There have also been recent Iranian maneuvers in eastern Saudi Arabia, and likewise Jordan has uncovered a massive terrorist operation on its territory, not to mention what is happening in Bahrain. Before all of the above, there is the increasing number of Syrians being killed every day by al-Assad’s forces. All of this tells us that prolonging the life of the al-Assad regime means complicating the regional situation further, and now the region is primed to explode in several areas. As a result, urgent action is required to bury this criminal regime in Syria. This means arming the rebels now, through an Arab and international coalition of the countries willing, rather than waiting for the approaching US presidential elections, for al-Assad will not accept a truce and is in a race against time to reshuffle all the cards before the results of these elections.

In summary I will say that Brahimi’s mission has failed, and there is no room to give al-Assad any more opportunities, or Eid al-Adha gifts.