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The Syrian Foreign Minister at the Qatari embassy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is amazing that the Syrian Foreign Minister blamed the Arab “brothers”, whilst at the house of the Qatari ambassador in Damascus, for not standing with Syria. Walid al-Muallem scolded the Arabs for not condemning the Western sanctions on the Syrian regime and its key figures.

When I say amazing here, it is because the opposite is true, because the Syrians today are collectively punishing the Arabs. They have not said a snigle word against what their regime is doing, in terms of brutal repression, killing and arrests. There are now thousands of detainees, not to mention the Syrians who are missing, and the death toll has surpassed 1000, including children such as Hamza, whose story bleeds the heart. What is the difference between this child victim Hamza, and the Palestinian child Mohammed al-Dura?

Arab ambassadors should have condemned al-Muallem, and even protested against him, regarding what he said about the Arabs not standing with the Syrians, and trying to lodge false accusations against the Arab countries, claiming that they are conspiring against Syria. The Syrian President has acknowledged the legitimate demands of the protesters, and even admitted that security errors have occurred. Why then do the Syrian media say at times that Jordan is behind the Syrian uprising, and at other times blame Prince Bandar bin Sultan, or Saad Hariri? Syrian television recently interviewed a traumatized, helpless Sheikh, who [reverted from his opposition stance] to condemn his people in a farcical scene, and claimed that he had been in communication with Riyadh. This man is Sheikh Ahmed al-Siasana, Imam of the Omari mosque in Daraa, and his case alone tells the whole story, and more.

One of Sheikh al-Siasana’s sons was killed by Syrian security forces, because he did not disclose the location of his father. Is it conceivable now that the Sheikh would come out on national television to tamely claim he was wrong? What is this injustice and oppression? This is not all, a Syrian anchor for the Qatar-based al-Jazeera channel recently refused to resign, in response to pressure from the Syrian regime. Subsequently, her family came out in Syria to disown her, and declare their support for “The Leader”. Are we now facing the same scenes of the Iraqi Baath party, but this time a Syrian version? During the reign of Saddam Hussein, tribes were forced to kill their own people, in order for Saddam’s regime to come out and say that they had cleansed their honor with blood. “Honor is not safe from harm…until its blood is shed” as the Arab poet said, in a bygone moment of our history.

So, the Arab ambassadors, including those from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon, should be the ones opposing al-Muallem and demanding that the Syrian regime stop its abusive acts, instead of al-Muallem blaming his Arab “brothers”. The Arab ambassadors should remember that this presidential advisor once said that the Egyptians spoke when they overthrew the Mubarak regime, so why, when the Syrians are currently speaking, have they become agents, even though the “Hama al-Diyar” protest movement has unanimously agreed on one slogan, with varied expressions, and that is the overthrow of the regime?

Thus, the question today for the Arabs, which has long been due and repeated, especially after the “Hama al-Diyar” protests, is: how long will you remain silent?

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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