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Syrian state television recently broadcasted a report on one of its news bulletins criticizing what I wrote in an article last Tuesday, entitled “setting Egypt on fire”. The article itself criticized the storming of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and dragging Egypt into an unnecessary and unjustified crisis.

The truth is I do not know what exactly in the article angered Syrian state television, but what is more important is Syrian television’s preoccupation with what is happening in Egypt in the first place. Syrian cameras should be first and foremost occupied with what the unarmed Syrians are being exposed to, in terms of killing and repression at the hands of the security forces of the al-Assad regime. It is also strange that Syrian television praised the act of storming the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and here some might say: Syrian television affiliated to the regime always talks about resistance and oppression!

Syrian state television’s first priority should be to urge the al-Assad regime to take action against Israel through liberating the Golan Heights, rather than inciting the Egyptians towards a collision with Israel, and threatening the Camp David Accords. There are no Egyptian occupied territories, and whatever the feelings of hostility towards Israel emanating from Egypt, the two countries are not in a state of war. The situation is quite different between Syria and Israel.

Therefore, the readiness of the Syrian media to attack anyone who warns of the consequences of dragging Egypt into conflict with Israel, or any other party at this stage, shows if anything that the al-Assad regime, and of course Iran behind them, wants to drag Egypt into regional and internal conflicts. This is to try and derail the reconstruction of the political process and democracy in the country, and of course distance Egypt from its natural, regional role, in addition to destabilizing its internal stability. This is not only to remove Egypt from the political scene, but the goal is also to ease pressure on the al-Assad regime, which is currently facing its fate domestically, represented by the Syrian people’s revolution which has been ongoing tirelessly for six months.

Of course, choosing Israel as a means to escalate issues inside Egypt was an expected strategy, and something we have become accustomed to from the al-Assad regime and likewise the Iranians. This is what they have excelled at over the past ten years. Who could have forgotten how the leader of Hezbollah came out and spoke on the day of the crisis surrounding [the discovery] of a Hezbollah cell in Cairo, lecturing the Egyptians and calling on the Egyptian army to move against the regime there, always citing the eternal excuse of conflict with Israel? Of course who can forget Rami Makhlouf’s famous statement, on the day of the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, when he said that there would be no stability in Tel Aviv unless there was stability in Damascus!

Therefore, here we must note two essential matters. Firstly, the objections of Syrian state television with regards to the article I wrote are not the story here, rather the story is that the al-Assad regime does not want to act in the interest of Egypt. Secondly, it seems that the al-Assad media has not realized the blunt reality today that the world is not trying to save the unarmed Syrians from Israeli attacks, but rather from attacks from al-Assad regime’s security forces, and this is a big difference!

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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