Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The positive aspects of the Friends of Syria conference | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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There are those who were frustrated by the Friends of Syria conference, and even by the manner in which it was organized, but this is not necessarily right, especially if we recall that Syria and the region as a whole is witnessing the operation to pull the most rotten tooth in the entire Arab world, something that cannot happen without surgical intervention or pain.

Those who were frustrated were right to feel this way when listening to the speech made by the Tunisian president on Syria, or due to the fact that Mr. Burhan Ghalioun’s speech was not amongst those broadcast to the public, rather his speech was issued during the closed session of the Friends of Syria conference. However this frustration will lessen when we learn that Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal issued some impromptu comments before delivering his planned speech during the closed session, in which he praised “some” of what the Tunisian president said but “everything” that Burhan Ghalioun had said, describing this as a “strong and expressive” speech. Prince Saud al-Faisal also praised the outburst made by one of the Syrian [opposition] from Homs during the conference, considering his words to be a good summation of the suffering of the Syrian people. This is not all, for the Syrians and Arabs were also pleased with Prince Saud al-Faisal describing the al-Assad regime, which is running riot in Syria, as a regime of “occupation”, whilst he also protested against the insufficiency of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, considering this nothing more than fattening the calf for slaughter!

One of the other positives of the Tunis conference is that Prince Saud al-Faisal, who in his last speech at the Arab League opened the door to the Syrian opposition being recognized – which is indeed what was achieved in Tunis despite everything that was previously said by some people about this – has now opened the door to arming the Syrian revolutionaries. This was when Prince Saud al-Faisal, answering a question about arming the Syrian revolutionaries, described this as “an excellent idea.” Prince Saudi Al-Faisal also stressed that al-Assad will leave power “voluntarily or forcibly”, and this means that the ceiling which will come crashing down on the head of the al-Assad regime has been weakened, and this is all in defense of the oppressed people of Syria.

All of the above indicates that things are not so frustrating, and perhaps we should invoke the previous statement made by the Arab League Secretary-General, therefore the situation on the ground in Syria has passed the time for talking. The politicians are now responding to the pace of events in Damascus and this is something that is confirmed by some important information that I heard from different high-level sources regarding the formation of a secret mini-commission – or let us say operational cell – that has sprung from the Friends of Syria states. Its mission will be to monitor the developments coming out of Syria, and it will be made up of a group of countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Turkey, USA, France and Britain. This is something that is not frustrating by any means, for these countries are directly concerned with the Syrian file, and it is enough to recall that the second meeting of the Friends of Syria is scheduled to take place in Turkey, which means that Ankara will have a more influential role to play in the coming days. One of the tasks of this group could be to unite the ranks of the Syrian opposition, and more. Another piece of good news is the agreement between the Free Syrian Army [FSA] and the Syrian Military Council to form a “Ministry of Defense” for the Syrian revolution.

Therefore, the bulk of this news is not frustrating whatsoever, rather this represents the beginning of the countdown to the end of the tyrant of Damascus, the killer of children.